Here’s a question that may not of crossed your mind. What do you do with your razor once you’re done shaving? I know we all clean it up and wipe it down when we are done shaving (you do this, right?), but what is the best razor storage?
WHAT ARE WE WORRIED ABOUT?
The biggest issue with razor storage is moisture. Whether it is spots of water left on the razor, the humidity in the air, a spot of blood, or shaving lather left on the blade moisture is the number one culprit to harming a razor. This is especially true of straight razors due to being a plain steel with no plating on the blade. A little note, that while stainless steel is corrosion resistant it is NOT rust proof.
After moisture, the biggest issues remaining are soap scum, hard water buildup, and physical control of the razor. Soap scum build up is more of a problem with the safety razor due to the increased nooks and crannies compared to a straight razor. Soap scum and hard water deposits have been know to gum and even seize the internal workings of adjustable razors. As far as physical security, you need to place your razor where it can be stored without it being disturbed. This includes keeping them out of the hands of children or curious house guests and making sure that they are not going to be knocked over or dropped.
When storing a razor for daily use you need to worry about humidity, moisture on the razor, the shaving edge, and access to your razor.
The most common place that razors are stored for day to day use is the bathroom. This has good and bad points. One of the nice things about keeping your razors in the bathroom is the ease of access to all of your shaving supplies in one central location. The bathroom is especially nice if you don’t a large collection of razors. On the other hand, the bathroom probably has the highest humidity level of any room in your house. If you happen to have acquired a larger collection of razors or have a smaller bathroom (or both) then it can start getting a little uncomfortable.
Another option is to store your razors (or the ones you that are not currently in your rotation) in another room. This has the benefit of better humidity control, room to properly store them, and ultimately more options. The down side is that they are not as easily accessible.
A few of the common methods of storing razors for short periods of time are on a wire stand, some kind of magnetic hanging assembly, laid open on a towel, or in a closed drawer or cigar box.
I personally open my straight razor all of the way and lay it on one of my shaving towels. I then place my towel on the top shelf in my bathroom which happens to near the sink light. This accomplishes three things. First of all it is out of reach of my three year old twin boys. Secondly, being open like this allows any moisture that may have been on it to dissipate more quickly, and finally the nearby light will put off some heat that will help drive away moisture. To date, this has worked well for me. However, I have gotten a LOT of feedback on this method and will be evaluating a better way to keep the razor open but minimize the danger of the open blade.
For my safety razors, I place my day-to-day shavers on the shelf next to my soaps and brushes after a thorough rinse and shaking out any loose water. If I am not going to use it for a bit then I will remove the blade, give the razor a once over with a toothbrush, and a good rinsing off. I then dry it and leave it on the shelf until next time. The plating of safety razors makes them much less susceptible to corrosion issues.
LONG TERM STORAGE
Many individuals with a razor collection will not keep all of them on hand to shave with. Many will place them on display or pack them in protective containers for long term storage. I have seen many handsome displays in custom built shadow boxes, wall hanging racks, pen display cases, and specially adapted cigar boxes. A note of caution about the cigar boxes. Cigar boxes are designed to keep moisture IN the box. So if you use this method make sure and prep your straight razor well and use a few desiccant packs.
While not as secure (or as good looking), I have quite a few straight razors that I oiled, placed in coffin boxes, and put in a drawer in my workshop. They are holding up fine, but are not as secure as I would like. Another option is a cheap plastic bin or something like a tackle box to store your razors in. The tackle boxes are sturdy are sturdy, have built in trays, some have built in lock tabs, and can be found fairly cheap if you look around a little.
One of the drawbacks of long term storage is that you cannot check on your razors as often. As such you need to do a better job preparing your razor. Here’s a quick list of what to do to prepare for long term storage.
- Make sure it’s clean: Make sure the razor is clean of soap scum and lather.
- Ensure the razor is completely free of water: For a straight razor this can be accomplished with a cloth for the blade and a hair dryer or a can of compressed air for the scales. For a safety razor, with more nooks and crannies, you may need to dip it in isopropyl alcohol. This will drive out any water and as an added benefit will kill off bacteria as the alcohol evaporates.
- Use protection: For straight razors you NEED to place some kind of protective layer on the blade. Safety razors generally don’t have the same issues, but some of the stainless steel or aluminum ones may benefit from a protective coating as well. Many people will use camellia oil, Tuf Glide, Ballistol Oil, Renaissance wax, or even WD-40. All you need to do is place a drop of oil on a tissue and wipe it over the surface to be protected. You do NOT need the oil to be dripping from the razor.
- Place it somewhere safe: Place your razor somewhere safe and secure. This means that your children or houseguest won’t accidentally stumble upon an easily accessible cache of razors. Place your razor in some kind of hard sided container, preferably with some kind of padding and proper labeling
- Keep it dry: Place you storage box in a place that is secure and dry. There is nothing sadder than seeing a picture of a razor collection that was found in a flooded basement. Place some of those desiccant packets you get in your electronics boxes in the box as well or go buy some bigger ones (they’re cheap).
- Keep a schedule: Finally, don’t forget about them. Even with the best preparation mistakes can happen. Set a schedule to check your collection every six months. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I know some of you are wondering if all of this is really needed. To be honest, it may not be needed at all. There are many razors that are found after being stuck into a drawer and never touched for decades that are just fine. On the other hand, I have seen countless examples of mistreated razors that are good only for parts and as examples of what not to do. I am a firm believer that a few extra minutes of care can make a huge difference down the road.
What kind of razor storage to do you practice? Have you tried anything that has worked particularly well or have any horror stories you would like to share so someone else can avoid making the same mistake? If you liked the article please share it, like it, or leave a comment below. If you would like to be informed of of new articles please sign up for the newsletter at the upper right corner of the article.
Have a great day and a smooth shave!