How To Maintain Pruning Shears. (5 Easy Tips)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Pruning shears are those trust gardening tools that we use for a variety of activities such as cutting and trimming plants, and also creating topiaries, hedges and other gardening activities.

All gardeners have one on hand for clean and sharp cuts on plants.

One thing to note however, is if you do not maintain your pruning shears, it will get dulled over time.

This will lead to more difficult and less clean cuttings on the plant, which can cause infections on the plants.

Yes!! Plants get sick as well.

Maintaining your pruning shears involves a simple routine of activities such as oiling it, cleaning after use, replacing worn out parts to mention a few. 

In this article, I’ll be explaining how to maintain your trusty pruning shears so you can use them for many many years. 

5 Ways To Maintain Pruning Shears

How To Maintain Pruning Shears

Like I mentioned earlier, if you plan to use your pruning shears for a long time and avoid unnecessary spending on buying new ones every time, then you have to cultivate the habit of maintaining them. 

I’ll proceed to explain 5 easy ways with which you can keep your pruning shears sharp and strong. 

1. Clean Your Pruning Shears After Each Use

It is important that you clean your pruning shears immediately after each use to get rid of any wetness or sap that might be stuck between the blades.

This is very easy to do as you can wipe down with a bundle of old T-shirts or rags. 

Clean in-between each blade carefully to remove anything that might be jammed there.

You can also decide to wash your shears from time to time. Have some steel wool and wire brush at hand to thoroughly clean the pruning shears.

2. Oil Your Pruning Shears Regularly

Oiling your pruning shears from time to time helps to keep them lubricated and avoids rust or corrosion.

Oiling your pruner is an easy activity which you can carry out after washing or sharpening.

Non-petroleum based oil or lubricants are perfect for your shear oiling purposes.

Even something as simple as sewing machine oil will work perfectly. This oiling helps to keep your pruning shears a little longer and shinier.

3. Sharpening Should Be a Frequent Activity

Once you notice your pruning shears cutting is no longer so sharp, then it is time for you to sharpen it.

If it is left that way, you’ll realize that your cuttings become more difficult and less clean as the blade gets dulled.

There are various sharpening devices you can use such as a whetstone, flat file or knife sharpener.

Pass the sharpening device over your pruning shears blade a few times to get your blade sharp again.

After sharpening, wipe down with oil and you are good to go.

4. Adjust Pruning Shears From Time to Time

As you use your pruning shears, some parts may begin to get loose and this requires that you fasten them from time to time.

After use, check your shears on your gardening bench. Dissemble it piece by piece to see if there are any corroded or worn out parts.

In the absence of that, assemble the parts back together one by one and finish up by tightening the central nut.

5. Replace Worn Out Parts Immediately 

As you use your pruning shears, over time some parts will become dull, corroded or weak.

Your maintenance routine might no longer be sufficient to keep them sharp and going.

At this point, the best thing to do is to replace the parts that are no longer letting your pruner work smoothly.

The parts that easily get worn out include the blades, spring and center nut. You can get these at any convenience store and replace them. 

By carrying out this maintenance routine regularly, your pruning shears will work for you for a long period of time. 

Here is an article I wrote on using scissors instead of pruning shears

Can I Use Wd40 On My Pruning Shears?

Wd40 is a lubricant producing brand that started out in the US in 1953 and it’s a go to brand for mechanics, engineers and other people who have to deal with tools.

Most people however do not realize that they can use Wd40 products on their gardening tools.

Wd40s’ products can be used for a variety of activities ranging from wiping dirt on pruning shears to lubricating it.

Wd40 Multiuse Product is one of the best products out there for lubricating your pruning shears after cleaning up.

The Wd40 Multiuse product will help extend the life of your pruning shears and ensure its’ effective performance every time. 

It has a unique and quick action formula which  protects garden tools from corroding and damage.

You can easily purchase the product at retail stores such as Walmart or you can visit the where-to-buy section of the website to select an online store. 

How Do You Keep Pruning Shears From Rusting?

Your pruning shears are one of your most important gardening tools as you need for basic activities such as cutting and trimming plants.

Many gardeners complain of their tools getting rusty especially after a long summer of gardening activities.

The key to always having sharp and strong tools lies in regular maintenance. Do not just toss your pruning shears down immediately after use.

Take your time to clean it with a rag or wash with warm soapy water to remove any rust adhered to it.

Oil and sharpen your shears regularly as this will help to reduce corrosion.

The major enemy of your shears blade are sap and water. Do not leave your pruning shears lying on the floor.

After cleaning up, either hang them up properly in the tools shed or stick them into a sand bucket where they will be safe from rain or any form of water.

These simple routine tasks can make the difference between a rusted blade and a sharp one. 

How Do You Keep Pruning Shears Sharp?

Having sharp pruning shears is very vital to your backyard gardening activities.

As a matter of fact, if your shears blades are dull, you end up damaging your plants as the cuts are not as clean and sharp as they should be.

Apart from keeping rust away from your shears, you also have to ensure their sharpness.

Oiling and sharpening your shears from time to time is the best way to keep them sharp. Lubricating the shears helps to keep away rust and ensure the parts are working properly. 

The best device proposed for sharpening is a whetstone as it is often easy to use even for beginners.

When using a whetstone for sharpening, place the stone almost parallel to the blade, then move the stone over it in one direction. 

Do not move the whetstone back and forth over the blade. Your shears do not have to be over sharp to avoid injury. 

Also check out this article I wrote on the type of pruning shears Monty don uses

What Oil Do You Use For Garden Shears?

Oiling is an important aspect of garden shears maintenance. Lubricating your shears regularly helps to keep rust and corrosion away and add some shine to it.

There are a variety of oils you can use for lubricating your garden shears.

Vehicle lubricating oil works as well as most multipurpose oils. You can also use linseed oil, lamp oil or motor oil.

Cooking oil is also a good option, especially olive oil. This might be surprising to most of you, but olive oil is a great protectant for tools.

After applying oil to your blades and other metal parts, remember to wipe off the excess so it doesn’t run off to the wooden handles. 

Can I Use Methylated Spirit On Pruning Shears?

As a matter of fact, yes, methylated spirit or ethanol is very good for removing rust and disinfecting your pruning shears. 

Plants also get diseases and sometimes these infections are transferred from one plant to the other by sap adhering to the blades of the pruning shears.

Disinfecting your pruning shears before or after use, is a good way to avoid infection transfer among your plants. 

Methylated spirit contains about 95% alcohol level and it is advisable to dilute it to about 70 – 75% before use.

For proper disinfection, spray the pruning shears blade with the spirit, wipe with a cloth to remove any stuck sap. 

Spray thoroughly once again then leave the spirit on the blade and allow it to dry naturally.

This process kills off any pathogen on the blade.


A trusty pair of pruning shears is a gardener’s good friend.

This garden tool is one that is required for basic gardening tasks and it is always handy to have one at hand.

Quality pruning shears can be quite expensive and maintaining them regularly will help them last longer.

After using your shears, endeavor to clean or wash them, oil and sharpen them regularly and also replace damaged parts.

Disinfecting your shears blade with methylated spirits and other alcohol based liquids helps to prevent plant to plant infection.

Remember! Sharper pruning shears give you sharper and cleaner cuts.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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