How Often Should You Oil Sewing Scissors?

Whether you’re a professional hairstylist, a crafting enthusiast, or just someone who occasionally needs to snip a tag off a new piece of clothing, you’ve likely experienced the satisfaction of using sharp, precise scissors.

However, maintaining this level of performance requires more than just a good pair of scissors; it involves regular care and attention, including the practice of oiling.

Just like any other tool, scissors need proper care to ensure they stay in optimal condition and provide reliable service over the long term. Oiling your scissors is a fundamental part of this care routine, and it can significantly extend their lifespan while improving their cutting efficiency.

Why Should You Oil Your Scissors?

As someone who loves working on DIY projects, crafting, and sewing, I can’t stress enough how essential it is to maintain your tools.

Among these tools, your scissors deserve special attention. Not only are they a vital part of your creative arsenal, but they also play a crucial role in ensuring your projects turn out just right.

The Longevity of Your Scissors

Your scissors are an investment, and like any investment, you want them to last as long as possible. Regularly oiling your scissors can significantly extend their lifespan. When scissors are used frequently, the friction between the blades can lead to wear and tear.

Over time, this can cause the blades to become dull, making them less effective and requiring more effort on your part.

By oiling your scissors, you create a protective barrier that reduces the friction between the blades. This minimizes the wear and tear, helping your scissors stay sharp and functional for a longer time. For me, this means not having to replace my crafting scissors as often, saving me money and reducing waste.

Preventing Rust and Corrosion

If you live in a humid or coastal area, you’re likely familiar with the problem of rust. Rust can quickly develop on the metal parts of your scissors, making them not only unsightly but also less functional. Oiling your scissors provides a layer of protection that helps prevent rust and corrosion.

The oil forms a barrier that keeps moisture and air away from the metal, effectively inhibiting the oxidation process.

I’ve seen a noticeable reduction in rust on my scissors since I started oiling them regularly, which has been a game-changer, especially for those moments when I’m working on a project and need my scissors to be in top shape.

Enhancing Cutting Performance

When your scissors are properly oiled, you’ll experience a significant improvement in their cutting performance. The smooth and effortless glide of the blades allows you to make precise cuts, which is particularly important in intricate projects.

I can’t emphasize enough how much smoother my cutting process has become since I started oiling my scissors. It’s like they’ve been rejuvenated, and I can achieve cleaner cuts with less effort.

Reducing Friction and Wear

Oiling your scissors not only reduces friction but also minimizes the risk of them becoming misaligned or getting damaged during use.

When blades become dry and rough due to lack of lubrication, there’s a higher chance of them getting stuck or even chipped. This not only affects the quality of your work but can also be frustrating and potentially dangerous.

By keeping your scissors well-oiled, you’ll enjoy a more enjoyable and safer cutting experience. The blades will effortlessly glide through the material, reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

How to Oil Your Scissors

What You’ll Need

Before you start, make sure you have the following items on hand:

  • Scissors: The ones you want to oil.
  • Lint-free Cloth or Paper Towel: To clean the scissors.
  • Scissor Oil: You can find special scissor oil at most craft or hardware stores. If not, sewing machine oil or mineral oil will do.

Step-by-Step Guide to Oiling Your Scissors

  • Prepare your workspace: Find a clean, well-lit area to work on your scissors. Lay down a cloth or paper towel to catch any drips and prevent a mess.
  • Clean the Scissors: Before applying any oil, it’s essential to start with clean scissors. Wipe the blades with a lint-free cloth or paper towel to remove any dust, debris, or residue. This step ensures that the oil can penetrate effectively.
  • Apply the Oil: Now, it’s time to oil your scissors. Apply a small amount of scissor oil to the blades, concentrating on the pivot area where the blades meet. You don’t need to drench them; a few drops will suffice.
  • Open and Close the Blades: Gently open and close the blades several times to distribute the oil evenly. You’ll feel the scissors becoming smoother as the oil works its magic.
  • Wipe Excess Oil: After ensuring the oil has been distributed, take a clean part of your lint-free cloth or paper towel and wipe away any excess oil from the blades. This step prevents oil from transferring to the materials you’ll be cutting and keeps your scissors from feeling greasy.
  • Test Your Scissors: Give your scissors a test run by cutting through a scrap piece of paper or fabric. You should notice an immediate improvement in cutting performance.

Maintaining Scissors Without Over-Oiling

I have a confession to make. I used to be guilty of over-oiling my scissors. It was a well-intentioned attempt to keep them in tip-top shape, but it turns out that too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Over-oiling your scissors can lead to various problems, from reduced cutting performance to a sticky mess.

The Risks of Over-Oiling

  • Reduced Cutting Performance: When you over-oil your scissors, you might notice that they don’t cut as smoothly as they used to. Excess oil can create a sticky film on the blades, hindering their ability to glide through materials effortlessly. It’s frustrating, especially if you use scissors regularly for crafting or other tasks.
  • Messy Residue: Over-oiling can lead to messy consequences. Excess oil tends to drip or transfer onto the materials you’re cutting, leaving oily stains or residue. Not only is this unsightly, but it can also ruin your projects.
  • Accumulation of Grime: While oiling is essential to prevent rust and corrosion, over-oiling can have the opposite effect. Excess oil can accumulate dust and debris, creating a sticky, gunky mess on your scissors’ blades.

Balancing Act: How to Recognize Over-Oiled Scissors

Now that you understand the risks of over-oiling, let’s delve into how to recognize when your scissors are suffering from this problem.

  • Sticky Blades: If your scissors feel sticky or gummy when you open and close them, it’s a clear sign of over-oiling. The blades should move smoothly without any resistance.
  • Oily Residue: Check for oily residue on the blades or handles. If you notice oil seeping out when you use the scissors, it’s a surefire indication of over-oiling.
  • Difficulty in Cutting: As I mentioned earlier, over-oiled scissors tend to struggle with cutting tasks. They might snag or chew through materials rather than make clean, precise cuts.

Tips to Maintain Scissors Without Over-oiling

After realizing the downsides of over-oiling and learning how to spot the problem, I’ve adopted a more balanced approach to maintaining my scissors. Here are some tips to help you maintain your scissors without over-oiling:

  • Follow Manufacturer Recommendations: Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for your scissors. They often provide information on the type of oil to use and the recommended frequency of oiling.
  • Clean Before Oiling: It’s crucial to clean your scissors before applying oil. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to remove any dirt, debris, or old oil from the blades.
  • Use the Right Oil: Choose a high-quality scissor oil, and apply it sparingly. A few drops should be sufficient. Avoid using household oils like cooking oil, as they can become gummy over time.
  • Wipe Off Excess: After oiling, wipe off any excess oil with a clean cloth or paper towel. This step helps ensure that there’s just enough oil to protect the scissors without causing problems.
  • Store Properly: Store your scissors in a dry place to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to rust. A scissor holster or sheath can also protect the blades and prevent excess oil transfer.

Alternative Scissor Maintenance Methods

I’ve always been the type of person who values quality tools. Whether it’s cooking, crafting, or general household tasks, a good pair of scissors is an essential tool. However, as any seasoned scissor user knows, they tend to dull over time.

That’s why I started exploring alternative scissor maintenance methods to keep my scissors sharp and in great working condition.

Sharpening Scissors

When my scissors began to feel less sharp and effective, I knew it was time for a solution. Sharpening is the most traditional method for restoring scissor blades. Here’s how I did it:

  • Gather the necessary tools: To sharpen my scissors, I needed a sharpening stone or a scissor-specific sharpening tool.
  • Cleaning the scissors: The first step was to make sure my scissors were clean. I wiped them down with a damp cloth to remove any debris or gunk.
  • Positioning the scissors: I carefully opened the scissors, ensuring that both blades were exposed.
  • Sharpening process: Using the sharpening tool, I ran it along the edges of the blades, keeping the angle consistent. I repeated this process until I felt the blades were sharp again.
  • Testing the scissors: After sharpening, I tested the scissors by cutting through a piece of paper. If they cut smoothly and cleanly, I knew I had successfully sharpened them.

Professional Maintenance

Sometimes, scissors need more than just a DIY touch-up. If you have high-quality or specialized scissors, it might be best to seek professional maintenance. I shared my experience with this option in my blog post:

  • Researching scissor maintenance services: I looked for local professionals who specialized in scissor maintenance or had experience with the type of scissors I owned.
  • Contacting the professionals: I reached out to a few experts to discuss my needs, including what was wrong with my scissors and how they could help.
  • Sending the scissors for maintenance: I packaged my scissors securely and sent them to a professional service. They assessed the scissors and performed necessary maintenance.

Receiving the scissors

When my scissors returned, they were in pristine condition, and I was amazed at the difference in their cutting performance.

Protective Storage Options

One of the simplest ways to maintain scissors is by taking preventive measures. Proper storage can significantly extend the lifespan of your scissors. Here’s how I kept my scissors safe:

  • Sheath or blade guards: I invested in sheaths or blade guards for my scissors, ensuring that the blades were protected when not in use. This prevents accidental nicks and dulling.
  • Hanging storage: I found that hanging my scissors on a magnetic strip or hook kept them away from other objects and prevented blade damage.

Which Type Of Lubricant Used For Scissors Is?

Many types of oils can be used for oil scissors. Some are designed specifically for the task, while others are just everyday oils or lubricants. Here’s a list of some popular ones:

– Mineral oil

This is an all-purpose lubricant that does not leave any residue on your scissor blades (but it does smell like petroleum). You can use it on all kinds of surfaces and equipment, including scissors and sewing machines.

– Petroleum jelly

This is another good option if you don’t want any residue left behind after applying your lubricant. It’ll also add some shine to your scissors’ blades.

– Olive oil

If you’re looking for something natural and organic, olive oil is a good choice because it’s edible too. Just be careful not to get any in the hinge area where it could cause rusting over time.

How Expensive is Scissor Oil?

The cost of scissor oil can vary significantly based on factors such as brand, quantity, and quality. Generally, scissor oil is relatively affordable. You can find small bottles or tubes of scissor oil for as low as $5 to $10. These smaller containers are often sufficient for a considerable amount of use since you only need a few drops each time you oil your scissors.

However, if you’re looking for a higher-end or specialized scissor oil, it may cost more. Some premium brands offer scissor oils with unique formulations designed to provide superior lubrication and protection. These can cost between $15 to $20 or more for a small container.