Sharpening secateurs with a sharpening stone

How to maintain secateurs

We show you how to keep your secateurs working well in this step by step project.

Do it:

All year round

Takes just:

20 minutes

Winter is a relatively quiet time in the garden, so it's a good opportunity to get ahead with tool maintenance - although you can of course maintain your tools at any time of year.

Pruning tools like secateurs and loppers will function better, last longer and be safer to use if clean, sharp and well-oiled. 

Sharp blades cut cleanly, leaving a tidy wound on the plant which should heal fully and reduce the risk of disease affecting the plant. Keeping tools clean also guards against disease being spread between plants.

On the hunt for new secateurs? Take a look at our guide to choosing secateurs before you buy.

Discover how to maintain secateurs, below. 

You will need

  • Multi-purpose oil
  • Wire wool or abrasive cloth
  • Sharpening stone or diamond tool

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Test the cutting action of your secateurs often; they should cut cleanly with no ripping. If the cut isn't clean or stems get caught up in the blades they'll need to be sharpened and maybe tightened. 
Clean all metal parts thoroughly using a scourer or fine wire wool. This should remove any signs of rust developing and take off any build-up of plant and sap residue left on the blades.
With bypass secateurs like those shown above, the cutting blade is sharpened on an angle from the outside edge and then the inside edge cleaned flat to leave the blade sharp.

Keeping tools clean also guards against disease being spread between plants.


Regular oiling keeps the moving parts lubricated and smooth and repels water from the metal parts, thus avoiding rust. Oil the spring and revolving shaft. You can also wipe oil on the blades with a cloth.

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Top garden tools to maintain

  • Secateurs and loppers – keep them sharp and clean for ease of use and plant health
  • Spades and hoes – much easier to use with a clean blade and sharp end
  • Pruning saw – keep clean and sharpen professionally

Discover more ideas and inspiration

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