A Quick and Easy Way To Clean and Sharpen Your Pruners

In my days as a professional gardener I once had five pairs of Felcos (quite the investment by the way) but now I’m down to two.  Somehow they’ve mysteriously disappeared.   I think the green waste barrels must have eaten them.  

They are my favorite go-to pruners which I keep in a low tin planter right by my front door because I use them almost every day. I live in Santa Barbara, CA where I get to play in the garden year-round.  

I also have Fiskar floral nippers, Florian ratchet pruners, and lopping shears.  They all need a clean and a sharpen every once in a while so I will give you an easy step-by-step as to how I do it.  My gardening shears never look close to 100% clean and they never will.  They’ve all gotten a lot of use over the years.  

RELATED: An updated post on sharpening garden shears and pruning tools. You’ll also find some of our favorite hand pruners, floral snips, loppers, and sharpeners to purchase online.

As usual, there’s a how-to video waiting for you at the end.

bon-ami 2_new

If your pruners are scrubbed and sharpened the plants will be much happier because the cuts will be clean.  You’ll enjoy the whole process a lot more too as your pruners will open and close smoothly making it so much easier on your hands, wrists, and arms.

1)   I scour them with Bon Ami to get all the horticultural gunk off.  This is a natural cleaning powder that does the trick but doesn’t scratch.  I’ve also used baking soda but prefer the Bon Ami because it has more scrubbing power.  

 2)  Give the pruners a good rinse to get all the Bon Ami off.

3)   I then dry them off with an old piece of tee shirt & sharpen them with my favorite sharpening tool.  I love this sharpener because my hands are small & it’s so easy for me to use.  Be sure to watch the video to see how to use this tool.

4)   If they’re still a bit dirty I’ll give them another scouring.  I rinse & dry just like above.

5)   Wipe with vegetable oil or spray with WD40 to get any rust & more plant residue off.  This step also keeps your tools lubricated & working smoothly.  I now use grapeseed oil instead of WD40 because it’s a natural alternative & works well.  Any vegetable oil does the trick – you choose.

6)   Let the lubricant soak in a bit & then wipe off.   An old sock works the best for me rather than something like paper towels.  Yes, I’m big on reuse!

Now that your pruners are all cleaned and sharpened like brand new you’ll be ready for your next pruning extravaganza.  I just had at it with one of my monstrous Bougainvilleas over the weekend so mine are due again.  Pruning is constant.  So is the cleaning.  I love the sharpening tool pictured below the video.  What’s your favorite?


This is the sharpener I use for my pruners.  It’s my favorite for keeping everything sharp and it’s lightweight and easy to use.

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  1. Hi Sheila – Sorry, I missed your comment. I’ve repotted PP in small containers into large containers & they’re just fine. It may look a little out of scale size wise but yes, go for it! Nell

  2. Hey Nell I just wanted to know what’s the best thing to use to have my Bougainvillea grow on the wall. So what’s the best tool to use to place my vines on the wall

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