How to Clean Garden Pruners


When winter creeps into the garden, it is hard to find something to occupy the dedicated gardener. This is the perfect time to clean, recondition and store your garden tools. Pruners are important tools for every garden. Sap can make pruners stay stuck shut. Dirt and grime can carry plant disease from one plant to another. Garden pruners should be sprayed off after each job. They do require thorough cleaning whenever it is needed or at least once a year. Pruners will last for years with proper cleaning.

Step 1

Remove dirt and soil from your pruners by scrubbing them with steel wool and soapy water.

Step 2

Clean off any rust with a sheet of fine-grit sandpaper. This will keep the pruners from staining your gloves or clothes with rust.

Step 3

Disinfect the blades of the garden pruners with a mixture of 1-part bleach and 9-parts water. Wipe the blades down with a rag. Air-dry the pruners completely.

Step 4

Oil the hinge and spring components with household lubricating oil like WD40. This will keep the pruners opening and closing properly.

Step 5

Rub the metal pieces down on the pruners with lubricating oil to protect the pruners from rust. Sharpen the blades at a 40- to 45-degree angle with a metal file. Use the file in one direction. Do not cut yourself with the sharpened blades.

Step 6

Wipe the wooden pieces of the pruners down with linseed oil. Smooth any rough pieces with sandpaper to prevent acquiring slivers. Store the garden pruners in a cabinet or drawer that locks to prevent a child from playing with them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear gloves when sharpening tools. Long sleeves and thick pants will also help protect you from accidental cuts while sharpening the pruners.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden pruners
  • Steel wool
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Sandpaper
  • Bleach
  • Rag
  • Household lubricating oil
  • Metal file
  • Linseed oil


  • The University of Georgia: Take Care of Garden Tools
  • NC State University Cooperative Extension: Winter Tool Care
Keywords: pruners, cleaning tools, clean garden pruners

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.