Charlotte’s house renovation discovers old used razor blades

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Q-tips, pills, and rubbing alcohol aren’t the only things Charlotte residents should be looking for in their medicine cabinets.

Pay attention to the small slits in the cabinet wall.

On Monday, real estate agent Jonathan Osman went to appraise a client’s partially gutted home in Country Club Heights near Plaza Midwood for possible renovation. The bathroom was a bit untouched, but then Osman’s electrician told him about something sticking out of a wall. Osman hurried to have a look.

Sure enough, old razor blades were lying on the floor mixed with a pile of drywall, Osman said.

After doing some research, Osman learned that medicine cabinets in some 1950s homes had slots for residents to dispose of razor blades.

“That seems like a really bad way to get rid of something,” Osman said. “It’s just weird, and we would never think of doing it at all today, at least I hope not.”

The razors are still in the 1,182 square foot three-bedroom house on Kilborne Drive, waiting to be picked up by a shovel, he said.

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Realtor Jonathan Osman found a number of used razor blades Monday in a partially gutted home in Country Club Heights near Plaza Midwood. Jonathan Osman

An “offbeat design”

The house was built in 1957 by Ervin Construction Co., founded by one of Charlotte’s biggest developers, Charles Ervin, Osman said. Ervin and fellow developer John Crosland Sr. “built all of Charlotte” during this post-war period, he said.

Built-in cabinet slits originated in 1903, when Gillette created the first double-edged razor that allowed men to shave at home rather than at a barbershop, according to apartmenttherapy.com. Once the shave was done, they threw the blade into the slot where it would end up behind a wall.

Used blades presented biohazards that simply could not be thrown in the trash. In the 1930s and 1940s, many households burned garbage and fertilized their gardens with the ashes. Metal blades would often survive low-temperature fires, according to Readers Digest.

In the 1950s, living in the suburb of Country Club Heights was a big deal, Osman said, and it was nice to find this “quirky design” in such an old house. Once everything is up to code and renovated, it will be a “great house for someone,” he said.

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The “for sale” sign of a house in the Plaza Midwood area built by Ervin Construction Co. in 1957. Realtor Jonathan Osman recently found a number of used razor blades in the partially gutted house. Courtesy of Jonathan Osman

Trending TikTok

TikTok users posted videos of them finding the razor blade slots, and it raised some eyebrows.

Carly Knight, from Los Angeles, discovered a slot to “discard used razor blades” in the bathroom medicine cabinet of the 1950s family home. Her video, first posted in 2020, has 3.8 million views and nearly 3,000 comments.

In the TikTok, Knight explains how she posted a mini-tour of her new home, which led one commenter to say she might have a razor slot in one of her bathrooms. Knight went to Google and saw articles about razor blades being found behind people’s walls, prompting her to check out her bathroom. She looked in her medicine cabinet and found the slot.

Using audio from Knight’s video, Angelica Gomez posted a similar TikTok in 2021 where she found a number of used Gillette razor blades in the wall behind her bathroom cabinet. The video has over 2.3 million views and several commenters said they found locations in their bathroom medicine cabinets as well.

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Jonathan Limehouse is a breaking news reporter and covers all the major happenings in the Charlotte area. He covered a litany of other beats from public safety, education, public health and sports. He is a proud graduate of UNC Charlotte and a native of Raleigh.

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