Clean and sharpen your secateurs
These trusty cutting tools are a gardener’s best friend – as long as you keep them sharp. Rachel Brown, gardener for the National Trust, shows how it’s done
These trusty tools are a gardener’s best friend – but only if they’re sharp
1 UNSCREW THE SECATEURS Use a screwdriver to loosen the secateurs, then unscrew the bolt on the opposite side so they can be separated into constituent parts: handles, cogs and blades.
2 LAY THE PARTS OUT IN ORDER Keep the parts in sequence, running left to right, showing how they fit back together to remind you which bits go where. Try not to lose the spring, which can roll away. 3 WET THE SHARPENING STONE Dampen the whetstone by soaking it in water for a few minutes. The water combines with particles released from the stone to form an abrasive surface. 4 GIVE THE BLADE AN INITIAL WIPE Wipe any grit or debris off the blade before sharpening. A just-damp piece of paper towel or cloth should easily remove sap or soil from the blade. 5 SHARPEN THE CUTTING EDGE Place the stone on a non-slip base and sweep the blade slowly along the stone at an angle of approx 15-20 degrees to smooth away any roughness. 6 WIPE PARTS WITH DISINFECTANT Use a dilute disinfectant spray and a dry cloth or paper towel to wipe over the secateurs. To remove rust, use a scouring pad or wire wool. Carefully wipe dry. 7 OIL THE MOVING PARTS Reassemble the secateurs so you can give all the joints a squirt of lubricating oil. This eases the scissor action and coats the blade against rust. 8 WIPE OFF EXCESS OIL Blot the secateurs dry to remove any dribbles of lubricant. Apply the secateur lock and store them somewhere dry and safe.