- Leaving your grooming tools on the grooming table while grooming…this is a biggie…one of the most common mistakes groomers make (guilty as charged!). I am sure most of us have experienced our heart miss a beat as our precious and expensive shears or clippers get knocked to the floor, only to find the blade now has a bit missing or the shears will no longer close…cringe! My suggestion is get into the habit of placing your tools onto a trolley or side table when not in use. Better still; buy yourself a holster that you can wear at your side, to store your combs and shears while grooming.
- Clipping or cutting a dirty coat…imagine using your good scissors to cut through a sheet of 80 grit sandpaper! This is essentially what you are doing to your shears and blades when you attempt to cut through a dirty coat. I agree, sometimes it is necessary when dealing with a badly matted dog to remove the worst of the matting prior to bathing, but be aware that the blade will not be anywhere near as sharp afterwards. The same goes for using your good shears to cut through dirty coat…simple…don’t do it! Have a pair of older scissors put aside specially for this task, and keep your good shears only for freshly washed, dry and mat-free coat.
- Dropping your shears…I covered this in number 1 above but thought I might reiterate….never drop your shears! If this is something that is happening regularly, you may need to look closer at the reason for this; are the shears a good fit for your hand, ie are they stable in your hand and do you have complete control over them while grooming? Are they being knocked off the grooming table by the dog? Do you just need to slow down a little and concentrate more on your technique rather than trying to rush? If none of the above applies and it is just down to shear (pun intended!) clumsiness, then investing a bit of time into developing new habits to help negate this would definitely save you money on replacement shears and sharpening/adjusting costs. As above, try changing your habits for good ones.
- Not cleaning the filters or having your force dryer serviced regularly…most dryers have an external and internal filter – these should be cleaned of hair and dust particles regularly – the exterior filter at least daily, unless you’ve just groomed a Husky! The latter inside filter should be treated to a weekly vacuum, depending on use and how often you are cleaning the external filter. Force dryers rely on quality air being sucked in through the filter and if this is caked in fur and dust then the engine needs to work a lot harder and will overheat and eventually burn out. The other point I’d like to mention is that most dryers require servicing every 500 hours of use. If you’re grooming 25-30 dogs per week, this equates to servicing approximately every 12 months.
- Putting clippers, blades and comb attachments away without cleaning them….yes we deal with a lot of hair in our daily grooming lives, and the last thing we often feel like doing is fully cleaning our grooming tools at the end of a long day of grooming. Those tiny hairs that may not be obvious at first glance can cause blockages which, if not cleaned properly or often enough, can hold onto moisture resulting in rust. I have found that using a toothbrush to brush any accumulation of hair from each blade before storing it in blade cleaning solution (which has an oil element) keeps my blades sanitized, free from debris and rust free. Comb attachments can either be put through the dishwasher every now and again or washed in hot soapy water. In between grooms I also spray isopropyl alcohol onto snap‑on combs, brushes and combs to sanitize – this dries quickly and does not promote rust.
- Storing your equipment while damp…if there is even a small amount of dampness surrounding your shears or blades, rust will develop. Always ensure blades and shears are completely dry prior to storage. If unsure, store with a few of those silicone bags you often find with electrical items – any moisture will be absorbed and they’ll stay dry and rust free.
- Not looking after your body…ultimately without your body being in optimum condition, your tools are of no use. So, please be kind to yourself, especially leading up to Christmas as we all get extremely busy. It’s often difficult to say “no” to those last minute grooms from clients you’ve never met and generally won’t see again until they forget to book with their usual groomer leading up to Christmas next year!
Happy grooming everyone!