Pruning Shears Maintenance – Quick Read

pruning shear maintenance

Pruning shears, also known as hand pruners, are sturdy scissors specially designed for cutting sturdy branches. They are the perfect tools to have for gardening, growing, and arranging flowers.

Gardening shears are used to cut branches and stems that are about ¾ inch (2 cm.) in diameter. Do not attempt to use your garden shears on larger branches as you risk damaging the blade. 

There are two basic types of garden shears, although they come in different designs and sizes. To use shears would depend on which type you have and what task you need to do. 

Bypass shears are much more like scissors with curved blades compared to the other shear. Its upper blade is sharp and cuts through a branch while the lower blade works like a hook that holds the branch in place to prevent it from sliding.

Anvil shears on the other hand have a sharp upper blade and a flat lower blade which allows the shear to cut branches much like using a knife on a cutting board. 

Cleaning Pruning Shears

There’s nothing better than having full functioning and well-maintained pruning shears you can easily use in the garden. Quality pruners unusually last for years, and in order to have one fully functional after years since buying it, you’ve got to make sure that you’re following the steps in cleaning your pruning shears.

  1. In maintaining your pruning shears, you can simply start by disassembling them if they’re easy to disassemble. Cleaning and sharpening are much easier when the blade is detached.  You’ll also be able to get a better look at the cutting edge to see if it needs to be sharpened.
  2. The next step of cleaning is to remove any dirt and grime. To do this, you can use warm, soapy water and a scrubby sponge.
  1. After rinsing your pruning shears and drying them out, use coarse steel wool to remove rust.  If they are badly rusted, use WD-40 to soften the rust and then remove it with a cloth. If there is still rust on the pruners, you can use again a bit of steel wool to get rid of it completely.
  2. When sharpening a blade, use a diamond file to sharpen and angle it following the factory beveled edge, , while applying light pressure. Only sharpen in one direction starting at the inside of the blade and working outward.
  3. Once your pruning shears are sharp and ready to go, double-check your work. Run a file with fine-grit over the backside of the blade to remove any imperfections or burrs.
  4. Assemble your pruning shears with how it was before the cleaning.
  5. Try out the newly cleaned and sharpened shears by cutting a piece of paper and see if it can cut precisely. If it does make a clean cut, then the blade is pretty much sharpened adequately.
  6. Finish your maintenance session by oiling your pruning shears to keep the pruners lubricated and have it functioning effectively, as well as preventing the steel from rusting, which greatly damages the tool. Wipe off the excess oil with a clean rag after the session.
  7. Make sure to store your pruning shears in a clean and dry place to keep it in its best condition.​

Using Rust Remover 

When your pruning shears are in their worst condition – blades completely covered with rust, then using a rust remover is the best way to get it back in shape. The most popular method in removing rust is the vinegar method.

In order to get the rust off the blade, you need to soak the shears with a mixture of vinegar and water and leave it overnight.

After soaking the pruning shears, scrub it in a circular motion using steel wool or a crumpled piece of tin foil. And then rinse it with water. After that, you dry out the pruners and oil it using WD-40 or mineral oil.

Another technique is actually very interesting, and it’s using cola. Its phosphoric acid can dissolve rust, so all you have to do is pour the cola in and scrub the pruners with steel wool or crumpled tin foil.

Using salt and lemon is another way of possibly removing the rust off your pruning shears. The steps as well are as uncomplicated as the cleaning materials needed. You only have to rub it with the steel wool, rinse, and then dry. 

Toothpaste vs. Rust Remover

Rust has become a problem when having metal tools in the house, especially gardening tools that involve blades such as the pruning shears.

Many gardeners have become innovative and creative with finding ways in maintaining gardening tools, and this includes the discovery of using the combination of toothpaste and baking soda for removing rust stains. 

In order to use these cleaning materials effectively, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Wash off the dirt stuck on the pruning shears
  2. Mix toothpaste and baking soda until you get a thick paste. The amount of mixture depends on the size of the rust present in the tool.
  3. Apply a thick layer on parts with more rust than others and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Then scrub with a scrub pad, steel wool, or even a simple toothbrush until the rust loosens.
  5. Rinse with cold water and dry it out. If necessary, repeat steps 3 and 4 till you have all the rust washed off of the tool.

Removing rust with a rust remover can be much easier than using your DIY rust removers such as toothpaste and baking soda. One popular and very effective rust remover is the WD-40. The WD-40 is a specially formulated penetrant that can effectively have your rusted tool all shiny in no time. 

How to Prevent Rusts from Reappearing

Rust occurs due to steel corroding after the iron particles have been long exposed to oxygen and moisture.

In your case, the pruning shears you have are probably stored in a place where it’s moist, and you probably haven’t been keeping it clean every after use.

In order to prevent having your pruning shears and every other metal gardening tool you have from rusting, you need to make sure that each of them is cleaned and oiled, and stored in the right place. 

It’s best to check on your tools and maintain them if you want them to last for a long time. Pruning shears, for instance, can easily get dull and rusted without proper maintenance. 

Pruning shears are one of the most expensive tools that you, as a gardener will use. Regularly cleaning them will help you maximize their lifespan and function. 

Rust remover and homemade cleansers can save your pruners from rust. Make sure to have effective cleaning materials and rust removers for the maintenance of your tools. You can never go wrong with having your tools maintained properly.

We hope you enjoyed this article and have gathered the information you need for your pruning shears maintenance. We’re happy to help you and we hope you keep us posted with how you’re doing!