How to Sharpen Garden Shears?

If you are into gardening, garden shears are one of the tools that you probably use the most. Even if you only have a few plants, this tool can be handy for cutting off withered flowers and dry leaves. However, the constant use of garden tools causes inevitable deterioration, even for the sharpest utensils. Have you noticed that they don’t work as they used to? Are you confused about how to sharpen garden shears? This article shares some of the most effective methods to sharpen garden shears without much effort, achieving clean cuts and less effort when cleaning the garden.

But before we start discussing the procedure to sharpen garden shears, let’s discuss why sharpening them is important for you as well as your plants.

Why Keep Garden Shears Sharpened?

Garden shears require proper maintenance to function correctly and to last longer. The loss of edge of this important tool is a very common aspect, causing you to apply more force in the cuts, the transmission of diseases between diseased plants and healthy plants, the complete breakdown of the scissors and even, the irreversible deterioration of trees, flowers and other plants that you want to trim. Therefore, it is important to sharpen them when slightly blunt.

How to Sharpen Garden Shears?

There are different methods to sharpen garden shears, for which you need different items. Below is a list of items you may need.

What You Will Need


A sharpening stone

A Whetstone

Three Surefire Methods to Sharpen Your Garden Shears

With these methods, you can sharpen your garden shears and avoid the need to buy new ones:

1. Use Sandpaper to Sharpen Garden Shears

Sandpaper cannot only file the surface imperfection but will serve to leave your garden shears as they were on the first day.

Step-by-Step Procedure

  • With the help of medium-coarse-grained sandpaper, you can sharpen the shears just by making several cuts from the base to the tips of the scissors, on coarse sandpaper.
  • Cutting the sandpaper into long strips will allow the shear blades to become increasingly sharp. You can check its sharpness by cutting a cloth.
  • Repeat the same operation with fine-grained sandpaper for a better finish.

2. Sharpen Garden Shears with a Sharpening Stone

Sharpening with a fine-grained stone will allow you to refine your pruning shears and find a sharp blade edge. This technique is special for scissors with slits or grimaces. Using a sharpening stone, reduce these deterioration marks until they are eliminated.

Step-by-Step Procedure

  • Choose a sharpening stone shape that matches the cutting angle of your pruning shears. Start with granulations less than 500 and use fine granulations greater than 500 for a precise finish at the end.
  • Detach the pruning shears for easier handling by removing the screw that holds the two blades together using a screwdriver.
  • Clean the shear blades with soapy water, rubbing with a stiff brush to remove any dirt, debris, or rust.
  • Apply a light coating of motor oil.
  • Determine which surfaces require sharpening and at what angle the stone should be applied by noting the previous marks on the sheets.
  • You can use a whetstone, sharpening stone, or even a carbide pellet sharpener to begin the process. You can perform dry sharpening or wet the stone depending on the sharpening efficiency you are looking for.
  • Create a proper sharpening angle by placing the leading edge of the blade against the stone. Sharpen the blade from base to tip, only in one direction, by dragging the blade extension across the stone. Continue until the blade is sharp, applying oil to the stone to keep its surface moist.
  • You can then switch to a fine-grained sharpening stone to smooth the edges. Use the same sharpening process.
  • Hold the blade up to a light source to test its sharpness. If the light reflects the edge, continue sharpening.
  • Finish by applying a light coat of oil.

We do not recommend the use of a file, gun, or grinding wheel that is not suitable to obtain a good edge over the entire length of the blade.

3. Sharpen Garden Shears with Bleach

In addition to the methods already mentioned, there is a very effective way to sharpen pruning shears with bleach. To do this, you will need a container with water, a whetstone, bleach, a wire brush, and lubricating oil.

Step-by-Step Procedure

  • First, you must fill the container with cold water and, with the wire brush remove all the dirt from the shears. It is important to clean both the blades and moving parts of the pruning shears.
  • Then, using the sharpening stone, cut down all the cracks and alterations that the shear blades have.
  • To continue, you must empty the container and fill it again with clean water and bleach, trying to establish a 10 to 1 ratio between water and bleach; for example, 30ml of water and 3ml of bleach.
  • Put the scissors in the container and leave them for a minute.
  • Finally, remove the scissors from the water, dry them well and apply the lubricating oil all over the metal surface.

Our Final Thoughts

In a garden, it is essential to have the right tools for plants’ care and good health. Therefore, you must focus on their preventive maintenance and proper conservation. Do not throw away your garden shears now that you know how to sharpen them. Go ahead and have at it!