Now, I’ll admit that I’m terrible at keeping my secateurs clean. When my horticultural teacher asked us to bring in two pairs of secateurs to class, I was a bit embarrassed as my secateurs were looking neglected. I was grateful to pick up some tips on cleaning my secateurs.
I know it is important to keep secateurs clean and sharp, but I would never take the 5 minutes needed to do this small maintenance task…I would just put them away as is. The other day, I needed to take some cuttings for a class herbarium project. My secateurs were blunt and not doing the job. Although I wasn’t taking cuttings for propagation, it’s still important for plant health to cut cleanly with sharp secateurs – The hack job I was doing wasn’t cool.
This is how I have been taught to clean my secateurs.
If your secateurs are very rusty, like mine were when I first took them into class, you might need to use the sandpaper first to get the rust off. Otherwise, the steel wool will do the trick of removing any light rust.
You can use diluted methylated spirits to help remove the rust. Using diluted methylated spirits also disinfects your blades so you aren’t transferring any potential pathogens between plants. At home I use a Felco Lubricant Spray when cleaning my secateurs, as this is what I always have on hand.
After you have removed any rust, take your sharpening file and, at a 45 degree angle, go along the bevel (this is the ground angle and shape of your blade) in a circular motion, moving up and down several times.
Once the bevel is sharp, you will need to turn your secateurs over and use the sharpening stone to get rid of any metal burrs (the rough bits). You can do this by running the sharpening stone at a 45 degree angle upwards along the blade several times.
Your secateurs should now be super sharp, clean and ready to go!
What are some of youR tips for cleaning secateurs? We would love to hear them! Please share in the comments below.