How to Sharpen Dog Clipper Blades – Ultimate Sharpening Guide for 2022

If you’ve bought some dog clippers and used them a few times, you may find they are starting to become a bit blunt; not only does this mean they won’t work as efficiently and it will take longer to get Fido looking ship-shape, but it may also pull at the hair making the process uncomfortable or even painful for your dog!

But wait! You don’t have to rush out and buy a new pair; this guide will show you how to sharpen dog clipper blades at home; it will save you money and ensure your dog clipper blades remain like new.

In this article, we will cover:

  • How often do you need to sharpen the blades
  • The tools you will need
  • How self-sharpening clippers work
  • A step by step guide on how to sharpen clipper blades
  • The Sandpaper Method

Read on to see how to sharpen clipper blades for dogs.

How Often Should you Sharpen Clipper Blades?

How often you sharpen the blades of your clipper really depends on how you use them. Things such as dog coat length, type, and even the type of clippers you’re using can all impact when you need to begin sharpening the blades.

Chances are, you’re going to need to sharpen your dog clipper blades if they are starting to pull or snag your dog’s hair. If they don’t pull hair, then dull clippers simply won’t be trimming at all.

It’s a good idea to take a look at the instruction manual provided with your dog clippers for more information.

Things You Will Need to Sharpen Dog Clippers

  • Whetstone – A whetstone or even diamond coated stones are ideal for getting nice, sharp blades that will smoothly shear through the thickest of hair. A diamond sharpening stone is a great investment, though you’ll need more than just a piece of coarse stone alone to get your hair clippers trimming again.
  • Cleaning Solution – You’re going to need something to clean your ceramic clipper blades with before you sharpen them. In many cases, the manufacturer of your dog clippers will sell a specific formula that works well.
  • Screwdriver – You’re going to need something to get the blades off your dog clippers before you sharpen them. Chances are, a Philips screwdriver will do the trick, though it pays to check if your blades need a cross-head option just in case.
  • Clipper Oil – Oiling your stationary blades is just as important as cleaning and sharpening them. You only need a few drops of clipper oil to stop rust and to help keep the blades running for time to come.
  • Paper Towel or Cloth – A rag of some kind is always good to have to hand. That’s because there maybe a couple of metal pieces that come away while you clean and sharpen your clipper blade. Never assume this isn’t going to be the case.
  • Spray Bottle – You’ll need to spray water onto your sharpening stones if you have any chance of sharpening clipper blades. Fill up a spray bottle and be ready to water your stones before you start sharpening.
  • A Clipper Brush – A good clipper should have a small brush you can use in the clipper head and ceramic blades to get the hair out from in between the nooks. If not, this is something you can usually find quite cheaply online. Or, an old toothbrush you no longer use will do the trick.
  • Cotton Ball or Buds – You’ll need gentle cotton to clean your blade or blades with – grab some buds or a small cotton ball to use in your cleaning solution.
  • A Magnet – This is purely optional. You might need help holding your blades against the whetstone, in which case, a magnet can keep things in place. Alternatively, you can carefully use your fingers instead.
  • The Clippers Themselves – Naturally, you’ll need to have a hold of your clipper head if you want to clean the blades as well as sharpen them. Be prepared to take them apart to some extent during the sharpening process (hence having a screwdriver handy).

You’ll be able to find most of the above at hardware stores near you, and you’ll also likely find plenty of accessories and tools online. Be sure to read buyer reviews before you purchase any blade sharpening equipment through Amazon, of course.

How Self-Sharpening Dog Clippers Work

Self-sharpening dog clipper blades work by running each blade across a flat sheet of metal. This means that as you use them, you keep your dog clipper blade sharpening up – meaning that there’s no fear of dull blades, regardless of how often you use them.

Keep in mind that self-sharpening clipper blades are rather a niche option right now. They are normally found in paper and rotary cutters. That means, most of the time, you will need to know how to sharpen dog clippers by hand. That’s not a bad thing – as all blades dull after a while, and it pays to be prepared.

How to Sharpen Dog Clippers – A Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Remove the blade or blades

Switch off your dog clippers and unplug. Hold the blades flat and, using your screwdriver, gently remove the screws that keep your blade system in place. Generally, a modern dog clipper will have two screws holding things together, so this shouldn’t be too taxing.

Keep in mind that there may be exterior blades and interior blade fittings closer to the clipper body in some cases. In which case, prepare to do a bit more unscrewing you might not expect. Again, the manual for your clipper will likely help here.

Step 2: Gently remove any hair from the blades

With your brush in hand, carefully work out any fur or hair caught in the blades. This means going in quite intricately. Even the slightest of hair or the thinnest of fur can cause issues with blades when you clean and sharpen them. That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye on when you sharpen the blades.

Severely dirty blades can be a nightmare to clean up and get right again. Even the coarsest of toothbrushes held at the correct angle might not be able to get everything out.

Step 3: Clean blades with a cleaning solution

Now, make sure to have your cotton ball to hand as well as your cleaning solution. After you get the excess hair out, you’ll need to dip or soak the cotton in the solution and then scrub away at the blades. However, this will only work well if your clipper blades are only a little dirty.

If your clipper blades are seriously mucky and you need to clean the blades with a bit more gusto, prepare a small bowl with your cleaning solution in. You’re going to need to give them a good soak for quite a while, a few hours at least. Once soaked, gently pat them off or leave them to air dry.

Step 4: Set up your honing stone or whetstones

Here’s the fun part – getting your stone or stones up and running. You’re going to need to soak your whetstones or coarse stones in water for a handful of minutes. Water absorbs immediately on the whole, but you need to make sure your stone is nice and damp so that it’s ready to lubricate as well as sharpen ceramic blades.

Make sure you prepare your stone on a flat surface before you begin.

Step 5: Time to sharpen

Once the stone has soaked up water, carefully hold it against your blade or blades, and start to slide it along the length. You need to keep the pressure consistent. Therefore, you can either use your ring finger or a magnet to help hold things together.

You need to keep running your blades across the stone for a few minutes until the metal starts to appear in a thin layer across the tips. Never go too hard during this process, however, as you’ll end up scraping too much off the tip!

You can also spray your blades during this process if they’re starting to look dry. Dry blades can be just as much of a pain for your dog’s hair as dull clippers.

Step 6: Start oiling the blade or blades.

As mentioned, proper maintenance is all about oiling the clipper blades after sharpening them. With a cotton bud or similar, add a thin sheen of oil across the blade tips, ensuring they are evenly coated. Oiling your clippers’ blades means they are unlikely to rust over time to come.

It’s best not to overdo the oiling of your clippers’ blades when you have newly exposed metal. That’s because too much oil will allow finer grit, hair and other nasty bits and pieces to start sticking to the surface.

Step 7: Put everything back together.

Once you’ve followed the above process, take your blade fittings and put the clippers back together again. Make sure everything is dry before you start using the clippers afresh.

You’ll need to screw everything back together and use them carefully on your pet to get the clippers working at full speed. If you start to notice your dog’s coat simply isn’t trimming, or their hair is snagging once again, it’s time to resharpen.

The Sandpaper Method

Don’t have all the tools to hand and prefer taking sandpaper to your clippers? Make sure you keep your blade steady on a flat surface – keep your sandpaper flat, too – and carefully run the blade up and down the paper eight to ten times.

After a short period, you should find that your blade starts to look shinier and sharper than ever. Not every dog owner likes this method, and your own way of sharpening depends on what you have available – as well as the clippers you are using.

We’d recommend you use the oil and stone method as it makes sure your clippers are cared for all over. Sandpaper can be handy as a quick fix.

This video shows how to sharpen clipper blades with sandpaper

Professional Sharpening

Professional sharpening can be a good idea if you are short on time or if you really aren’t sure how to go about things. However, having your dog’s hair trimmed by a professional groomer is likely to cost you considerably more money than if you attend to it on your own.

You can find sharpening services online, but they are mainly for professional groomers.


Can you sharpen dog clippers at home?

Yes – it is perfectly simple to sharpen dog clippers at home, and you only need a few bits and pieces. Grab a soft cloth, a coarse stone, some oil and a handful of cotton buds – and you are more than halfway there.

Can you use a wire brush to sharpen clipper blades?

A wire brush alone won’t sharpen your clippers, but you can use one to carefully remove hair and other debris before you get started. You’ll need something solid and coarse, such as a stone or a piece of sandpaper, to really sharpen up.

Does Wahl sell spare clipper blades?

Yes – if you’re missing a blade or two, or even guards, Wahl should be able to supply you with replacement pieces and parts. It’s a great idea to call their sales team or check out their online catalogue if this is the case.

What’s the best self-sharpening dog clippers?

There aren’t many good clippers for dogs on the market right now that are classed as self-sharpening – so the jury is very much out. However, you really won’t need to take much time and effort to sharpen your blades at home.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to sharpen dog clippers, it’s time to stock up on everything you need. Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than a soft cloth to help get those clippers clean and working to their full potential.

Thankfully, as you can see, getting things nice and sharp shouldn’t be tricky. The moment you start to notice your dog clippers snagging or pulling on fur, it’s time to sharpen the blades.

A quick sharpen could save you a ton of money. You won’t have to buy a new set of clippers, for example, and you won’t have to splash out on taking the dog to the groomers every five minutes.

Of course, your own confidence and availability may vary – but consider this guide a great starting point for keeping your dog’s grooming kit looking and performing to its proper standard.

Now you know how to keep clippers sharp, maybe you’d be interested to learn how to use dog clippers the right way.

Donna Hepburn

Published author, content writer and qualified dog behaviourist I have owned dogs all my life from Boxers, Rottweilers and Akitas, to Staffies and currently a very demanding Frenchie who is harder work than all the others put together.

I had a collar making business for over 10 years and am involved with several doggy charities. I currently live in the northeast and when I am not writing about dogs I enjoy, travelling, cooking and reading.

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