How To Remove Rust And Clean Your Pruning Shears In 2023

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As a passionate gardener, maintaining your tools is essential for their longevity and effectiveness. One common issue many gardeners face is rust on their pruning shears. Rust not only affects the appearance of the shears but also hinders their functionality. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to remove rust and clean your pruning shears, ensuring they stay in top-notch condition in 2023 and beyond.

Why do pruning shears rust?

Rust occurs when moisture and oxygen come into contact with metal surfaces over time. Pruning shears, being exposed to the elements in the garden, are particularly susceptible to rust. Additionally, the sap and residue that accumulate on the blades can contribute to rust formation. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent rust from forming and keep your shears in excellent working condition.

Tools you will need

Before you begin the rust removal and cleaning process, gather the following tools:

  • Wire brush or steel wool
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Clean cloth or paper towels
  • Vegetable oil or WD-40

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Disassemble the shears

Start by disassembling the pruning shears. Most shears have a bolt or screw that holds the blades together. Use the appropriate tool, such as a screwdriver or wrench, to loosen and remove the bolt. Separate the blades carefully, ensuring you remember the correct order for reassembly.

Step 2: Remove loose rust

Take the wire brush or steel wool and gently scrub the blades to remove any loose rust. Pay attention to all the crevices and hard-to-reach areas. This step helps prepare the shears for the rust removal process.

Step 3: Soak in white vinegar

Fill a container with white vinegar and submerge the blades completely. Let the shears soak for at least 30 minutes, allowing the vinegar’s acidic properties to dissolve the rust. If the rust is stubborn, you can leave the shears to soak overnight.

Step 4: Scrub with baking soda paste

Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water. Remove the shears from the vinegar and apply the baking soda paste to the rusted areas. Use a clean cloth or brush to scrub the paste into the rusted spots. The abrasive nature of baking soda helps remove any remaining rust.

Step 5: Rinse and dry

Rinse the shears thoroughly with water to remove any vinegar and baking soda residue. Dry the blades completely with a clean cloth or paper towels. Ensuring the shears are dry helps prevent further rust formation.

Step 6: Apply lubricant

To prevent future rust and keep the blades moving smoothly, apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or WD-40 to the shears. This lubrication also helps protect the metal surfaces from moisture.

Step 7: Reassemble the shears

Once the blades are dry and lubricated, reassemble the pruning shears in the correct order. Tighten the bolt or screw securely, ensuring the blades are aligned and function smoothly.

Step 8: Store properly

After cleaning and reassembling your pruning shears, store them in a dry place. Consider using a tool organizer or hanging them on a rack to prevent moisture accumulation. Proper storage helps prolong the life of your shears and reduces the chances of rust formation.


Regular maintenance and cleaning are crucial for keeping your pruning shears rust-free and in optimal condition. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can remove rust and clean your pruning shears effectively. Remember to store them properly after each use to prevent rust formation. With these maintenance practices, your pruning shears will continue to serve you well in your gardening endeavors throughout 2023 and beyond.

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