How to Sharpen Pruning Shears

How to Sharpen Pruning Shears

Having well-sharpened pruning shears is essential for any yard chore or gardener. However, before you know it your pruning shears have become dull and rusty! Shears are versatile in that they can be used to cut a variety of materials. Most commonly, they are used by gardeners to trim bushes or hedges. Essentially they are scissors that come in multiple sizes and are able to cut through thicker material than traditional scissors. In this post, we share how to sharpen pruning shears for a clean cut every time!

Setting Up the Shears

sunflowers and shears

For the first step, you are going to need your shears along with a sharpening file. Both of these can be purchased at your local hardware shop or any shop that carries gardening tools. The sharpeners will usually be sold right next to the shears. You want to make sure that you also have proper safety equipment. We recommend wearing safety gloves to prevent any accidents and to work slowly. Next, you want to set up a table or workbench to have your shears and sharpener on for a base. Having a sturdy work area will not only prevent accidents but will help with getting the right angle.

Sharpening the Shears

cutting flowers with shears

Prior to sharpening the shears, we recommend cleaning the blades. Bleach, household cleaners, or Isopropyl alcohol will do the trick! Simply apply the product to a soft rag and wipe off the residue. After you’ve disinfected your shears, we can begin to sharpen the shears. Begin by taking your file and resting it on the shears, it should be a good fit between the two. You want to make sure that the shears are sitting at a leveled angle for proper filing. From there, work from the bottom up. Using short strokes will ensure you get the sharpest point for the shears. Once you feel your shear is sharp enough, test them out on some leaves or branches.


You want to make sure you are being as safe as possible when it comes to working with tools. Firstly focus on what you are wearing and your surroundings. Avoid wearing loose jewelry and loose clothing. You will, however, want to make sure you are wearing enough clothing to cover your skin, in the case you do come in contact with sharp shears. Be sure you are wearing thick gloves to protect your fingers.

Proper Storing

Now that your shears are sharp enough, it’s time to clean up! As a rule of thumb, always place your shears in hard-to-reach areas for children. Accidents caused by shears, especially sharp shears can end in unfortunate hospital visits. As best practice, always place your shears downward. Also, be sure to clean off your shears after any use. This will elongate the life of your shears and will avoid the dread of having to clean them before needing them. Now that everything is put away and your area is clean feel free to admire your hard work!

How to Sharpen Pruning Shears: Conclusion

We hope you found this step-by-step tutorial helpful in your journey on how to sharpen pruning shears! Having sharpened pruning shears will make a huge difference in your cutting needs.

Written by: MacKenzie O’Dwyer and Nancy Lara

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