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Razor cleaning solution

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Showing 1-17 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 14, 2007 7:22:14 AM PDT
William Hall says:
Does anyone have a recipe for home made razor cleaning solution?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2007 10:13:17 AM PDT
Robert says:
Yes, but I made it for my own personal use and anybody who uses it must assume for themselves any and all risks which could exist. I am certainly not recommending this for ANYBODY. I take the used fluid cartridge, empty it as much as possible, rinse it several times thoroughly, then let the hottest water that can come from my fawcet run thru it for five to seven minutes to sterilize it as fully as possible. I then squirt a nice hand washing soap into it - about enough to cover the bottom with almost a quarter of an inch, then fill it the rest of the way with rubbing alcohol. Before it ever gets low, I refill it with alcohol occasionally. It is important to run the shaver after each shave under the running water of your water fawcett (not too HOT, that would dull your razor) and let water rinse out all whiskers before sitting it back in the base because those cut whiskers will build up over time in the cleaning solution and you could then risk a bacterial infection. Also, I repeat this process completely every 6- to 8-week period to be sure that the solution remains fresh, because if you buy large bottles of alcohol for this purpose then it is quite inexpensive to do complete refills. That's it. Do it at your sole risk. I do it at my own risk. It's a process that I have developed over years.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2008 9:55:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 9, 2008 9:56:19 PM PDT
GoodMoGo says:
I am confused as to why you run the shaver under water to clean it if you already made your cleaning solution?
Isn't it defeating the purpose of having the cleaning solution in the first place?

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2008 4:27:35 PM PDT
My fancy pump cleaning system died and they wanted about $50 for a new one. I just tossed it and now dump the blade and screen in alcohol for a hr once a week and save buying that fancy Braun juice. Works fine and saves me a lot of money plus one less thing on the counter.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2008 11:57:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 4, 2008 12:01:13 PM PDT
Robert says:
Excellent question! I don't have to do that part, but it extends the useful life of the sterile shaving solution by such an amount that the few seconds after each shave that I carefully hold just the shaver head [while the shaver is running] under the running faucet is MORE than worth it! Warm regards, - bro. Rob

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2008 9:22:44 PM PDT
M. D. Young says:
I found this mixture on a Website and gave it a try.

5.75 oz denatured alcohol
Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract.
Add 1/2 teaspoon sewing machine oil.

I bought a quart of denatured alcohol at Home Depot and the other stuff at Wal-Mart and small plastic measuring container that has a screw on top for around $10.00. So I should be able to reuse one Braun cleaner refill 5 times.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2008 9:24:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 24, 2008 9:26:54 PM PDT
M. D. Young says:

In reply to an earlier post on May 25, 2008 4:40:35 PM PDT
Robert says:
Thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2008 10:12:24 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 7, 2008 11:11:51 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2008 2:25:22 PM PDT
Robert says:
I cannot claim any credit for this wonderful post which was added [but erased 14 hours later] by another individual [who might be a handyman in San Francisco, I don't really know]: "I don't use the clean cycle every time. I take the foil off, and lightly tap the foil, and the razor, in the sink to knock out the little hairs. Then I clean the razor about every 3 or 4 times I use it (and I have a very heavy beard). I do this even when it indicates "normal", if it registers as "intensive" when I put it in the base, then I'll clean it immediately
There are several solutions suggested here that have additives that seem like they could cause problems: Soap? Lemon juice (corrosive on some surfaces)? Aftershave (with who knows what in it)? Even water can corrode metal.
First of all, I am not a chemist. I'm not telling you to do what I do. I'm just letting you know what I've learned about the separate ingredients. Yes I am using them myself but it's at my own risk.
The ingredients are listed right on the package: Denatured Alcohol, Limonene, Citral.
1. Denatured Alcohol is available in hardware stores or where they sell paint.
Denatured Alcohol is just Ethyl Alcohol and Methanol (makes it poisonous so you won't drink it - if they didn't add the poison it, would be taxed like drinking alcohol - that's what denatured means). Denatured is a lot more pure than Isopropyl.
Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol), as suggested in some of these comments, is used to disinfect wounds and is probably in your medicine cabinet. It has a lot of extra ingredients added to the ethyl alcohol: water, acetone, methyl isobutyl ketone, denatonium benzoate (makes it taste bitter so people won't drink it and get poisoned), perfumes, and sometimes coloring agents. I don't know how those extra ingredients would react on the razor parts.
2. Limonene: This is a terpene. Terpenes are natural cleaners that are derived from plant oils. A common one is d-Limonene which is usually extracted from orange peels. In its undiluted state it acts kind of like a solvent.
I put those stick-on furniture 'sliders' on the feet of my portable washer. When they got wet, they slipped off and left these smudges of stubborn goo, that quickly turned black, on my kitchen floor. I tried a lot of cleaners, unsuccessfully, to try to get it off. When I got the limonene, I dipped the corner of a paper towel in undiluted limonene. Wiped the spots and they were gone.
You can use it to clean pots and pans, and throughout the kitchen, to clean windows, floors, concrete, circuit boards, as a degreaser... even as an air freshener. It's also used in cosmetics and even some foods. D-Limonene is added to hand cleansers to add a citrus smell.
It is also used as a botanical insecticide. I suspect companies that advertise they use Orange-Oil for termite control, are probably using limonene/terpene. They say it's all natural, and leaves your house smelling like oranges, so it sounds like limonene. No facts to back that up either, just guessing.
There are two forms: L-Limonene, and D-Limonene. L-Limonene smells like turpentine and D-Limonene smells like oranges. I'm guessing the kind they use in the solution must be the d-limonene because the solution has a citrus smell, and certainly doesn't smell like turpentine.
I bought some D-Limonene over the web from greenturpene. It smells wonderful and works great as a cleaner.
3. Citral is a fragrance.
I don't know where to get Citral, and I haven't even tried to find it. It seems like a fragrance would be optional. Besides the limonene smells great.
So I use Denatured Alcohol and d-Limonene. I don't know what proportions to use, so I just add a small amount of limonene to the alcohol. So far it seems to be fine, but I can't tell you what will happen later.
Paying those huge amounts for a little alcohol, limonene, and fragrance in a disposable plastic container seems really wasteful. I also hate throwing away the plastic containers. They look like they'd last a long time and I'd rather not add them to the landfills.
I rinse the container with a little denatured alcohol. I don't use water because water can corrode metals.
The quart (946ml) of denatured alcohol was $7. You can buy 4 oz of d-Limonene for $2. I bought a gallon for $30. That breaks down to 94 cents per 4 oz. The cartridge contains 175ml. It's printed on the label. I had an unopened cartridge and scratched a line on it, at the liquid level, so I'd know how much to use. 175ml of denatured alcohol is about $1.25. The cost of the limonene is hard to estimate because I don't really know how much to use, but I'm using so little it's negligable (seriously - I'm using less than 1/100th of a penny's worth). I paid $13 for two cartridges at my local drugstore. They are cheaper on the web - $5 or so each. You can see the savings.
I'm not concerned about the lubrication. Even though limonene is used as a degreaser (seems like that would be an important property: to remove the skin oils that probably build up in the shavers), it is also a little oily itself and may be the lubricant that they talk about. I haven't found anything that says Citral is oily.
If you try this it is at your own risk. Even if you don't trust it, try out the terpene/limonene, it's a great cleaner, smells wonderful and doesn't add ozone depleteing chemicals to the air." end of quoted post. I think it is excellent info, personally. But all of us have to weigh info. like this ourselves because info like this is obviously [and explicitly] for your personal use AT YOUR OWN PERSONAL RISK.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2008 8:38:28 PM PDT
SFHandyman says:
I was wondering if anyone caught the post. I actually deleted it just an hour or so later. I'm not a handyman for pay, but I do love to make and build things. Part of that is learning all about the tools and ingredients that I'm using to make or repair something. So it's just a big part of my nature, not my profession (Dad's a carpenter and Mom owns a quilt store, so making things with material and tools is in my blood).

I deleted it because I wanted to do some more research on Methanol before I posted it. It is quite poisonous, and there are some really extreme warnings on the can of denatured alcohol. I decided that, FOR ME, it wasn't risky.

I also thought I'd try to do some editing. As you can see, I'm very wordy. You should see my emails. But I think it's all good info, and I always like more info when I'm making a decision.

The clean cycle includes a drying cycle, so I expect all of the alcohol, including the Methanol (it's called Wood Alcohol and Methyl Alcohol also - it is an alcohol itself), is evaporated from the head. Therefore, I don't think there is any Methanol remaining on the head to cause any health risks. I'm not a chemist though, so my assumptions could be wrong. The Methanol denatured Alcohol is recommended for use as a fuel for Chafing dishes and Fondue pots (FYI another older name for alcohol denatured with methanol is Methylated Spirits). Although we aren't burning it, it seems a little more reassuring that they actually recommend its use around food. I found some scientific information that seemed to imply that straight Methanol is used as a suspension agent, and is allowed to evaporate to reclaim whatever was mixed into it. It seemed like they were saying that it evaporated cleanly, and didn't alter what they were suspending. So I'd assume that after evaporation, during the razor's drying cycle, there wouldn't be any Methanol on the razor. Once again, since I'm not a chemist, I may have read it wrong, or just misunderstood.

I did go ahead and post my recipe - with stronger warnings about the Methanol - to a review that I put on the razor.

In my recipe the solution does not smell as nice as the commercial solution in the liquid state. I'm sure that is because the denatured alcohol used in the commercial pack was denatured with some other ingredient besides Methanol. Since denaturing is just making the Alcohol undrinkable, seems to me that mixing in the Citral and Limonene might be enough for them to label it as Denatured. It could be that they just used another agent for the denaturing.

Even though my solution does not smell as nice in the cartridge, the razor comes out of the clean cycle smelling almost exactly like it did with the commercial solution. I assume that it is because whatever was making the solution smell a little worse (probably the Methanol) was evaporating completely. My razor smells like citrus, just like it did before. The cleaning seems to be thorough, and as I don't pay much for the solution, I'm doing it more often - about every other shave.

When I started testing it my solution, I did the cleaning every time to see if I could notice a change and didn't see, or smell, or hear anything different. I say 'hear' because a change in sound, can signal inadequate lubrication, or changes to the mechanical parts. If the lubrication was inadequate, I'd expect to hear a small sound change. Machines that work at such a high speed, like this razor, or a pair of hair clippers, will usually give a small but notable sound change, when they need lubrication or cleaning.

I'm still very happy with the solution. My ears haven't fallen off and the razor seems to be very happy.

Once I did over fill the cartridge by just a minuscule amount and it caused the cleaner to repeatedly register empty right after the start of the cycle. As someone else suggested, I unplugged the unit and plugged it back in. That didn't fix it, so I unplugged it, poured a tiny bit out and tried again, and it was fine. That may also have been because it was unplugged longer while I adjusted the solution.

I believe there is no reason to worry about infection and do any extra steps: like rinsing with water, or using soap. Alcohol is a fantastic disinfectant. it seems to me that mixing soap in the alcohol, may reduce its infection killing power. My thinking is maybe an infectious agent could bind to something in the soap that would protect it from the alcohol. To disinfect your skin before an injection, they wipe it with alcohol. If the drug is in a multi-use vial, the top of the vial is wiped with alcohol between each use for disinfection. The alcohol in the solution itself, will kill any infectious agents. Soaps can also coat metal parts and could eventually cause problems for the razor. That's why they don't use soap to clean industrial machines. They use solvent based cleaners. Actually some very large factories have switched to Limonene to clean their machines and equipment. I'm sure more will make the switch as they find out about it. The solvents also release CFC's which is damaging to the ozone layer. The fumes and solvents are also dangerous to the workers. Limonene doesn't have those problems. Also petrochemical based solvents are bound to become more expensive with the increase in oil prices.

I really worry about the folks using Lemon Juice. It is a popular suggestion all over the world. I saw it in a Dutch forum, and a Swedish forum also. Guys all over the world, seem to feel the solution is overpriced. Lemon juice is very acidic, and therefore caustic, and does - without a doubt - cause damage to metal parts. Is there is enough lemon juice in the cleaning cycle to hurt the razor? I don't know. Lemon juice is also largely water and water too can corrode metal. So I'd avoid the lemon juice entirely. If you use limonene, you will get that citrus smell that we all seem to enjoy, without the acid or water.

It's still At Your Own Risk, but I'm happy.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 9:39:40 PM PDT
LloydCorp says:
Since denatured alcohol is just ethanol with something poisonous added, I use Everclear grain alcohol (i.e., ethanol). It costs a little more than methanol, but it isn't poisonous and is very pure, so one less worry. The problem with commercial methanol is that you don't know what was added to the ethanol to make it undrinkable. For the last 2 years I mixed Everclear with a little shaver oil, but I think the "shaver oil" is really mineral oil would be fine and intend to try that next time around. The d-lemonene is a great idea, so I added a little "Goo Gone", which I strongly suspect is d-lemonene, as it works exactly like it to dissolve gunk and smells like oranges. I also usually add a few squirts of my cologne, which is just scent and alcohol, after all, so the end result smells better than the orginal Braun product. BTW, my charger had stopped working, I was researching them to buy one when I ran acros this thread, with the suggestion that they were extremely sensitive to overfilling of the cartridges. That was it, problem solved.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 9:40:37 PM PDT
LloydCorp says:
Since denatured alcohol is just ethanol with something poisonous added, I use Everclear grain alcohol (i.e., ethanol). It costs a little more than methanol, but it isn't poisonous and is very pure, so one less worry. The problem with commercial methanol is that you don't know what was added to the ethanol to make it undrinkable. For the last 2 years I mixed Everclear with a little shaver oil, but I think the "shaver oil" is really mineral oil would be fine and intend to try that next time around. The d-lemonene is a great idea, so I added a little "Goo Gone", which I strongly suspect is d-lemonene, as it works exactly like it to dissolve gunk and smells like oranges. I also usually add a few squirts of my cologne, which is just scent and alcohol, after all, so the end result smells better than the orginal Braun product. BTW, my charger had stopped working, I was researching them to buy one when I ran acros this thread, with the suggestion that they were extremely sensitive to overfilling of the cartridges. That was it, problem solved.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2009 12:09:59 PM PDT
SFHandyman says:
Excellent. I wondered about using Everclear. I'd feel better than using methanol with an unknown ingredient. I've never used Goo Gone but if it smells like oranges, I bet you are correct about it being d-Limonene. Glad the overfilling issue was useful to fix your charger.

Posted on Dec 11, 2013 9:59:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2013 10:25:18 PM PST
Bolt Upright says:
To many folks promoting the use of harsh and dangerous chems, all of which are either poisons or harmful to the shaver and/or cleaning base parts when used long term.

Everclear (190 proof ethanol) is pure enough and works great but defeats the entire point of keeping cost down. That said:

SD40B (what's in the cleaner from Braun) is *not* the same as 90% isopropanol or even the 70% ethyl alcohol found in drugstores. SD40B is 190 proof denatured. Commonly called "perfumer's alcohol". It can be bought but it's also not cheap in small quanities.

What you want for the Braun refill is as much actual ethanol as possible. The so-called "denatured alcohols" found at hardware stores are typically only 50% ethanol with the balance being other forms of alcohol dangerous to you and bad for the shaver and cleaning base parts.

Grain alcohol (EverClear, et al) will do the job but much a cheaper near-pure product found at Home Depot and the like is Klean-Strip Green Denatured Alcohol. Unlike the SLX denatured mentioned in many posts, which is only 50% ethanol, KSG is 90+% real ethanol with only small amounts of denaturants.

Used full strength it, combined with a half teaspoon of baby (mineral) oil) and a half tsp of limonene for scenting (or choose another essential oil) is close to the Braun formulation. Add two tsp of water and if needed a couple of drops of liquid shampoo as a surfactant to satisfy the cleaning base conductivity sensor (green LED). Try to avoid having any more water than needed however because it keeps the shaver from drying after the cleaning cycle.

The above formulation is effective, keeps the nasty stuff to a minimum, and is close to what Braun uses. It is, chemically speaking, the best formulation of those thus far offered. The downside is, as with the Braun stuff, it evaporates rather quickly when exposed to the atmosphere and increased temperature. It's simply the nature of the beast.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2014 9:02:36 AM PST
For informational purposes only. This is not a recommendation. This is simply what I do. Refill at your own risk. The ingredients listed on the Braun cartridges are: (1) SD-Alcohol 40-B (Alcohol Denatur.); (2) Limonene; and (3) Citral. The cartridges themselves are 5.7oz of fluid.

(1) SD-Alcohol 40-B (Alcohol Denatur.)
The first ingredient is a specific type of denatured alcohol also known as "perfumers alcohol." It is not cheap like the hardware store stuff. It is specifically denatured for cosmetic use, while the hardware store stuff is intended for cleaning up paint and burning as camping stove fuel. "SD-Alcohol 40-B" is denatured with denatonium benzoate, an extremely bitter substance that makes it undrinkable, but not toxic. The hardware store stuff is denatured with methanol and other toxic/poisonous chemicals. "SD-Alcohol 40-B" is non-toxic and 95% ethanol (just like Everclear or other 190-proof grain alcohol). Personally, I use 5oz of 190-proof grain alcohol in each of my refills.

(2) Limonene
Although there are several types of limonene, and Braun does not specify which one is used, it is likely d-limonene, a cheap, safe, and readily available natural cleaning oil that smells like citrus (because it's made from orange rinds). You can buy a gallon of food grade d-limonene, with shipping, for $25. You would probably have to live to be 1,000 years old to ever use that much in Braun refills, however. I purchased 16oz of d-limonene from an online apothecary for about $15 with shipping. I use about .7oz of d-limonene in each of my refills.

(3) Citral
Citral is an essential oil with a very strong lemon scent. Braun likely adds only a drop or two of this for the lemon scent. You can purchase an once at any online apothecary for about $3. I add two drops of citral in each of my refills.

Since these are the only three ingredients listed in Braun's product, one has to be the "lubricant" discussed in the shaver manual. I would guess it's the limonene, since denatured alcohol is not a lubricant and the citral is likely only used for its strong lemon scent. This recipe works for me and is much cheaper than the Braun cartridges. I also put about 2 drops of "3-in-1 Oil" on my razor foil once per week just to keep it extra lubricated. NOTE: my recipe probably uses far more limonene than Braun uses. This may have eventual negative effects on the base-station, but it sure smells good! Honestly, I am confident I could simply use 190-proof grain alcohol (or "SD-Alcohol 40-B" if I lived in a state where grain alcohol is illegal) to refill my cartridges and be just fine (with the occasional "3-in-1 Oil" on the foil to keep it lubricated).

Posted on Dec 21, 2014 2:22:49 PM PST
John Gerber says:
Does anyone have any comment about what they use for the NAtional Panasonic for which they sell satchets (WES4L) at about AUD15 for a three week refill! I had a Braun and used a similar suggestion from these posts. Very effective and a massive cost saver. Maybe this Braun brew will do the same good job. Any experiences?
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