How to Sharpen Pruning Shears


One of the most-used tools in a garden is the trusty pair of pruning shears. Keeping your shears clean and sharp will cut down on aching hands and wrists. It will also cause your shears to make cleaner cuts, which will reduce the damage to your plants. A regular maintenance schedule to clean and sharpen your pruning shears will help keep them in good working order for years to come.

Step 1

Scrub the blades with a small wire brush to remove built-up soil, debris and rust.

Step 2

Set the sharpening file against a blade at the same angle as the bevel.

Step 3

Working from the base of the shear to the tip, push the file along the blade away from yourself. Use short, firm strokes and keep the file flush with the bevel.

Step 4

Check the sharpness of the blade with your finger, using caution to avoid cutting yourself. The bevel on the blade should be the same width as it was before you sharpened it.

Step 5

Smooth the other side of the blade with your file to remove filings that may still be attached.

Step 6

Mix one part bleach to 10 parts water in your bucket and wash your shears in it to disinfect them and keep them from spreading diseases from plant to plant.

Step 7

Apply oil liberally to your clean, sharp shears; the oil will help prevent rust. Remove the excess oil with a rag or paper towel.

Things You'll Need

  • Small wire brush
  • Bucket of water
  • Sharpening file
  • Bleach
  • Oil
  • Rag or paper towel


  • Weekend Gardener: Revitalize Your Pruning Shears

Who Can Help

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Keywords: sharpen pruning shears, pruning shears, keeping shears clean and sharp

About this Author

Angie Mansfield is a freelance writer living and working in Minnesota. She began freelancing in 2008. Mansfield's work has appeared in online sites and publications such as theWAHMmagazine, for parents who work at home, and eHow. She is an active member of Absolute Write and Writer's Village University.