DIY: How to Clean and Care for Garden Pruners by

Issue 33 · Summer Cottages · August 24, 2014

DIY: How to Clean and Care for Garden Pruners

Issue 33 · Summer Cottages · August 24, 2014

Like most things in your garden, tools need a little loving care to keep them happy. Before you start cutting back summer's spent blooms, here are a few tips for cleaning and caring for your pruners.

Photography by Erin Boyle for Gardenista.

protect your pruners, gardenista

Above: Pruner maintenance depends on which brand you own. These Handmade Japanese Garden Pruners are $109 from Kaufmann Mercantile. They're not stainless steel, so they need more care than the average pruners, but we think all pruners enjoy a little attention.

For a roundup of our favorite pruners, see 10 Easy Pieces: Garden Pruners.

protect your pruners, gardenista

Above: Get in the habit of giving your pruners a good wash after each use. If I make only a few snips I'm sometimes tempted to forgo washing—but cutting even one stem can leave sap and plant residue that will damage pruners in the long run.

protect your pruners, gardenista

Above: Usually, warm soapy water is all you need to wash your pruners. Same goes for garden scissors and other metal garden tools.

protect your pruners, gardenista

Above: After washing, dry the pruners well to prevent rusting.

protect your pruners, gardenista

Above: If you notice any rust, remove it with linseed oil and a small wire brush, then wash your pruners well to prevent a sticky film from forming. Linseed oil is also an excellent protectant for wood-handled garden tools.

A liter of Boiled Linseed Oil is $21.50 from Solvent Free Paint.

protect your pruners, gardenista

Above: Even for tools that aren't prone to rust, it's a good idea to wipe them down with oil after cleaning them. Some people rely on motor oil or mineral oil, but I just use household vegetable oil to keep them lubricated.

Wondering how to put those pruners to good use? See Gardening 101: How to Prune a Rose Bush. For more on tool maintenance, see 5 Favorites: Tool Sharpeners.

N.B.: This is an update of a post published June 10, 2013.



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