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CLEAN ELECTRIC SHAVER BLADES OFTEN, SAYS READER'S DIGEST

A well-maintained electric shaver will give you close, comfortable shaves. Electric shavers differ most notably in their shaving head designs. There are flat and rotary heads and curved heads with blades behind a flexible or rigid screen, known as a "foil." Because each model has its own special maintenance procedures, check your user's manual for specific details.

To keep electric shavers in good condition, clean the head and blades often and inspect them for wear regularly.

Cleaning

- Blow out the whisker cuttings after each use. (CAUTION: Close your eyes when you're blowing out the cuttings - they're very sharp.)

- Brush the head regularly - manufacturers recommend every day or every few days.

- Clean the blades with commercial spray or liquid cleaner designed for shavers available in drugstores. Follow package directions. Use a cleaner that won't damage plastic parts.

Check for wear-and-tear

Worn blades or screens may cause excessive noise or pinching, pulling, scratching or poor cutting. To inspect these parts in a flat-head shaver, unplug the shaver, set the selector dial on "clean" and lift off the shaving head. Push out the blades from the screen. Look for nicks in the blades.

In a curved-head shaver, lift off the foil screen and remove the cutter or the multiple oscillating blades. Look for screen gaps or nicks in the blades.

To inspect a rotary-blade shaver, remove the shaving head assembly and loosen the knob on the back that holds the retaining plate. Remove the plate. There are three cutter-and-screen units. Carefully lift out each unit and remove the cutter from the screen where it nests. Clean and examine the cutter for nicks or other wear. Clean the screen and examine it for any gaps. Be sure to replace the cutter in the screen from which it came; a rotary cutter "wears in" differently with the screen in which it nests.

If any of the blades or the screen have to be replaced in any flat- or curved-head shaver, it's best to purchase a new, complete head. Otherwise, replace flat-head blades in the slots from which they came. Put multiple oscillating blades in the original order.

For rotary razors, defective screens and cutters must be replaced as a unit. These are available in sets of three per package. Replacement parts for electric shavers are widely available.

Trouble-shooting tip

An electric shaver that shocks is particularly dangerous because it's normally used in the bathroom near water. If the power cord shocks, replace it with an identical model. If you get a shock from a metal body part, take the shaver to a repair shop. - By Reader's Digest Books for AP Special Features