How to Clean Secateurs


Secateurs, a type of one-handed pruning shears, make short work of small trim jobs in the garden. Sharp, clean and well-oiled secateurs remain useful for many years, but dull blades and rusted spring mechanisms render the tool useless. Dirty shears can also harbor bacteria and disease organisms from infected plants. Continuing to use the secateurs without proper cleaning spreads these diseases to healthy plants. Wash your secateurs and other tools after every use and before storing them away for winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Cleaning rags
  • Fine-grit steel wool
  • Bleach
  • Pail
  • Lubricating oil
  • Sandpaper
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Scrub sap and dirt from the blades and handles with a stiff brush. Use warm water and a squirt or two of mild dish soap for cleaning. Rinse the detergent from the blades with clear water.

  • Inspect the blades for rust. Use fine-grit steel wool to buff and rub off any rust spots on the blades.

  • Combine one part bleach with nine parts water in a pail. Submerge the blades in the bleach solution for three minutes. The bleach disinfects the blades, killing any lingering plant disease organisms. Wipe the blades dry with a clean cloth after disinfecting.

  • Dip a rag in a lubricant and rub a thin coat of oil on all the metal surfaces. Spray the hinge and spring mechanism with a spray lubricant.

  • Sand any rough areas from wood-handled secateurs using fine-grit sandpaper. Rub boiled linseed oil into wooden handles so they don't become dry, which can cause cracking and splintering.

Tips & Warnings

  • Store secateurs hanging up. Standing them on end against a wall can damage the blades.
  • Secateurs benefit from sharpening, as well as cleaning. Use a sharpening stone or file.

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