How To Sharpen Pruning Shears – In Detailed Guide

Post By • Updated On:

Having a pair of pruning shears is excellent as it makes the gardening experience more smooth & fruitful if you’re just a hobbyist. Even professional gardeners need pruning shears to maintain the beauty of the garden. You can cut tree branches of 1 inch or less with the help of pruning shears. But over time, it starts to get dull & that’s okay.

If your sharp shears aren’t acting as it once did, then you probably need to sharpen it. Now the question you might ask – how to sharpen pruning shears? Well, don’t worry. In this article, I’ll be sharing some of the most famous & actionable methods of cleaning & sharpening the pruning shears. Before that, let’s dive into some basic questions regarding pruning shears.

How To Sharpen Pruning Shears
  • Save

What Is Pruning Shear? 

Pruning shear is one type of strong scissor that doesn’t cut cloth or paper. Instead, this scissor cuts branches of trees & shrubs. You can even cut off the bushes of your garden through this gadget. These scissors feature blades of up to two centimeters thick – making it strong enough to tolerate gardener’s daily wear & tear.

In American English, pruning shears are called hand pruners. So don’t be confused if someone flexes around talking about hand pruners. This naming even gets more confusing with British English. Why? Because they love to call it secateurs instead of pruning shears or scissors.   

Why Do We Need Pruning Shears?

Whether you’re a professional gardener or just a hobbyist, you must need pruning shears for your garden. Pruning shears help us prevent unwanted plant growth by cleaning out dead, damaged & diseased branches & stems. However, you can use pruning shears for giving your garden an aesthetic look as well by cutting trees in certain shapes.

You’ll find three basic types of pruning shears in the market – Anvil, Ratchet & Bypass. All of them can give our garden a more lively & healthy look. Don’t show laziness when it comes to removing dead & diseased branches. If you do so, they will attract unwanted insects & will cause harbor diseases. That’s why you should keep your eyes open and do some pruning once a week or so. We have chosen and written about 20 Best Kitchen knives, you might find some interest in reading it.

How To Sharpen A Pruning Shears – (A Complete Guide)

If you’re new to gardening and don’t know how to sharpen pruning shears, then this guide is for you. In this guide, I’ll be sharing specific ways of cleaning & sharpening pruning shears. Without further ado, let’s get started.

First thing first, you’ll need the pruning shears with you. Sharpening pruning shears is very easy & anybody can do that with a little patience & practice. You’re just three steps away from making your shears sharpener. These are:

  • Cleaning The Pruning Shears
  • Sharpening The Pruning Shears
  • Lubricating The Pruning Shears

Now let’s dive into the in-depth tutorial.

Process of Cleaning The Pruning Shears

Before you intend to sharpen your shears, it’s a must to clean it thoroughly so that it looks like new. Mostly, there will be noticeable plant particles & you have to remove them.

You can use warm soapy water to clean your pruning shears. You’ll need warm soapy water & a kitchen scorching pad. Follow these two steps to clean your pruning shears with soapy water:

  • Step 1: Pour some soapy water on the blade only. Don’t put your shears entirely in the water.
  • Step 2: After doing so, take a kitchen scorching pad & start to wipe out dirt & plant particles.

If you don’t want to risk your shears in fear of ‘maybe water can damage my pruning shears’, then you can use nail polish remover instead. It’s more accessible & convenient. If you’re living with a family, then your home will have one of them for sure.

  • Step 1: Soak some nail polish remover into a cotton ball or an old rag.
  • Step 2: Now gently rub the blade surface & you’ll notice clean metal blades are starting to appear.

The methods mentioned above should be enough if your shears aren’t rusted. If it is, you should follow these two steps to make your rusted shears look like new:

  • Step 1: Soak it overnight in white vinegar to dissolve the rust.
  • Step 2: Scrub with a kitchen scorching pad (wire brush) to remove rust & dirt.

Process of Sharpening The Pruning Shears

After completing the cleaning process, you’ll be able to start sharpening the pruning shears. You’ll need a metal file to do the sharpening job.

You can have these metal files from your local stores or online. They work quite satisfactorily. 

Follow these four steps to sharpen your shears with a metal file:

  • Step 1: Open your pruning shears wide open to get access to as much blade possible.
  • Step 2: Hold it between 10 degrees to 20 degrees.
  • Step 3: After doing so, follow the curve of your shears & don’t slide the metal file in the opposite direction. Give 15 to 20 passes of moderate pressure & your shears will be good to go.
  • Step 4: if you think it’s not that sharp enough, proceeds to give some more gentle slides with the metal file.

Process of Lubricating The Pruning Shears  

All set, now you need to use a bit of lubricating oil to give your shears a shiny look. It will also help the pruning shears prevent oxidation. You can use a silicone-based lubricant for this purpose. Professionals also advise that you should lightly coat the shears with olive oil for making it non-sticky.


Pruning shears are like a lifesaver to all the gardeners. You can’t do the gardening job with regular day-to-day life scissors for an extended period. For the pruning job, you must need heavy duty scissors called pruning shears & they all need sharpening. 

I hope now you know how to sharpen pruning shears, after reading this article. If you do everything correctly, it shouldn’t take more than ten minutes. Be very careful while sharpening. You may harm yourself, you’re unmindful towards the work.

Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link