Why Are There Razor Blades in My Walls?

Mrs. Torgo and I are remodeling our bathroom. After knocking out some old plaster we notice about 20-30 rusty razor blades amid the rubble. These were the old kind of blades; the old Gillette flat ones that were inserted into those antique safety razors. We’ve been wracking our brains and we can’t figure out why a previous homeowner would store razor blades in the wall. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

That was the common way to dispose of those blades. If you still have the original medicine cabinet in the bathroom you will find a slot through which you would push your used blades.

That was the common way to dispose of those blades. If you still have the original medicine cabinet in the bathroom you will find a slot through which you would push your used blades.

It was not uncommon in the olden days to have a razor disposal slot located behind the sink in houses and hotels. Usually it was just a fancy metal plate with a slit in it that lead to the space between the walls. My first experience with this practice was in the 60’s, when mom left the water running in the tub, and precipitated the plaster ceiling, and about 30 pounds of antique razor blades onto the floor of the library below. Some of those old blades were perfect for cutting out balsa-wood models.

In my remodels, we always take bets as to how many blades will be behind the medicine cabinet.

When I was a kid, I remember seeing my dad shove his old blades into the razor disposal slot. So, when I did my first bathroom remodel, it came as no surprise to me to see the pile of old blades in the wall.


I’ve got one of those slots in the medicine cabinet of my bathroom in my apartment. I had no idea what it was until a friend of mine pointed it out. My building is pretty old; I bet there’s lots of old blades back there.

This is incredible - I had no idea such a practice existed! The things you learn on the SDMB…

Why in heaven’s name would you do that? Assume your wall’s going to stand forever and the razor blades are going to never be a bother to anyone?

Rusty razor blades are still sharp as hell. There’s no other option for a piece of steel a twentieth of an inch thick. Hey, let’s leave these in the wall! Let’s make a problem for someone in the future instead of dealing with it ourselves. I love America.

An argument can be made that a razorblade is safer in the walls than in the trash can.

Well, it was a better idea than leaving them in the waste basket where kids or pets could get ahold of them.

And, it’s really not a problem for us remodelers, either. We all know they’re there. Sometimes, they’re rusted to a powder. Even if not, it’s super easy to scoop them up with a 6" blade, dump them in a trash bucket, and then diump that bucket into the job site dumpster which is then taken to the dump.

Nothing to get up in arms about, right?



Of course, what happened to Squink could cause an injury.

They still make cabinets equpped with razor blade disposal slots; for use in hospitals. Ponder that the next time you’re lying in traction and the ceiling starts to drip :eek:

Here’s a well-written column about the subject:


Pretty impressive to combine a blast of venom at a not-unreasonable solution to a problem with a completely out-of-left-field slagging of America. As NoClueBoy mentioned, remodelers know about the slot and expect to find the razor blades. So they are not likely to get sliced up. It’s arguably safer to dispose of a bunch of razor blades at once than to deal with 20 or 30 years of weekly garbage bags, each containing one or more razor blades.

What gets me is people will think this is the worst idea of dealing with disposal yet never proffer a better solution. If you don’t have a better way of dealing with this then don’t bash the current method.

I bet this will keep future archeologists awake at night :smiley:

*I´ve got it!, those thin metal objects were offerings for the gods… scratchs head[i/]

I would think that the same method could be used for used razor blades as for used syringes–Put the boogers into a coffee can (maybe keep the cut-out circle of steel, so they don’t cut the lid to ribbons)

Of course, then you’ve got the same problem as you have if you do this with cooking grease–where the hell do you keep the can?

Actually they did come up with a better solution. Many of the double safety razor blade came in little metal tin. You would push the new blade out with your thumb via a hole in the middle top.

Flip over the tin and slide the old blade into another slot on the back. When you ran out of new blades the tin would be full of the old blades…then throw away the tin.

They still make safety razors, and you can still get the blades. I bought one for my dad back in the '90s (I think it’s a Braun, but I’m not sure). After he died, my BIL said, “Look at the antique!” and started to throw it away. I told him that it was fairly new and took it. I still use it from time to time, but it doesn’t do as good a job as my Mach 3.

You might want to read *Motel Of the Mysteries. * It’s a very amusing book about archaeologists excavating a motel room three thousand years from now.

The toilet seat is determined to be a ceremonial fertility necklace, and the toilet brush was the scepter of the high priest, who used it to sprinkle Holy Water on the worshippers. It explains all of the “atrifacts” found in the room.

Johnny LA your BIL was going to throw away your Dad’s “antique” razor? :dubious:

Hmmm…there coulda been a problem with that for me.
Oh, I forgot to mention my dad’s got an antique store. Nothing ever seems to get thrown away. :smiley: