How to Clean Garden Pruning Shears

After a day of heavy pruning, sometimes the tendency is to just hang the pruning shears on the rack, or worse, leave the pruning shears where you used them.

Don't let this be a habit. A pair of pruning shears is probably the most used tool for tending an ornamental garden on a regular basis. It makes sense to take good care of it.

Why Pruning Shears Need to Cleaned

Not cleaning the shear blades would eventually result in pruning shears that bind when you use them. Why?

After pruning, stem and leaf sap remain on the pruning shear blades. This film of sap catches dirt and then dries. After repeated pruning, a thin gunk forms on the blades. Then one day you realize the pruning shear doesn't open and close as smoothly as before.

Left even further, rust could start building up on the blades and other moving parts of the pruning shears. That is inevitable because this garden tool sees work in areas where moisture is commonplace.

Cleaning Procedures

The way to clean a pair of pruning shears is simply to wipe it dry with a rag and then hang it up on the rack. This is after an activity of light pruning only.

After heavy pruning or an extended time of non-cleaning, this is what to do:
  1. Wipe any dirt or debris (cut leaves, stem, etc.) from the pruning shears with a dry rag. Include hard to reach moving parts.

  2. If there's a visible buildup of gunk, use a razor blade or cutter to take it off. Be sure to scrape the dirt on the pruning shear blade at a low angle as shown above. Be careful when handling the razor blade.

  3. After all the gunk has been removed from the blades, spray the blades with a light lubricant like WD-40. Use the spray sparingly. (yeah, tongue-twister)

  4. With your finger, spread the lubricant around the blades and other moving parts.

    Only a thin film of lubricant needs to cling on to these areas.

Scraping the gunk that formed ensures that the blades are clean and do not bind when you use the pruning shears.

The thin film of lubricant does two things. It prevents rust from forming until the next use and; it keeps the blades moving smoothly.

These are easy-to-do maintenance procedures that extend the life of your tools and leave out the frustration with difficult to use garden tools.

Go ahead, post your comment below!

Anonymous said...

Goo Gone. This will remove the stuck sap on shears just as it removes stickers from objects. It is also somewhat oily so it also lubricates them. Been using this for years.

Blackdove said...

Yup, good idea! thanx.