How to sharpen scissors (Simple Secrets of keeping them sharp, always)

Updated on December 28, 2022 by Sarina Tariq

sharpen scissors

Sewing gets dull if you have dull scissors – it takes twice the time and results in unprofessional work. Dull scissors can mar your sewing experience and take all the joy out of it—enough reasons to get sharpened scissors. 

Maintaining the scissors in tip-top condition is as important as sharpening the scissors after they have dulled. Check out the pointers given below for that end.

How to maintain your scissors

sharpen scissors

Select the best scissors that you can afford.

Heavy-duty angled scissors, which are really sharp, are an investment that you will not regret. Checkout the different kinds of cutting tools you need for sewing 

Cut only fabric

If you have fabric scissors, under no circumstances, even if you have a gun against your forehead, cut anything other than fabric and never ever paper.

Keep paper scissors for paper and fabric scissors for fabric. Your long-lasting scissors with sharp teeth will thank you for this small mercy.

Keep scissors dry

Never ever wet your scissors. If you think a wash is what your scissors want when it gets dirty with lint, and dirt you are not right up there. Moisture will create rust, and your scissors will be damaged for good before long. Just a wipe with a soft dry cloth is all the TLC it wants. 

Remember to remove all the pins from the fabric where you will be cutting. When the scissors try to cut pins, they are dulled. 

Do not (try to) drop the scissors.

Like anything, the scissors are susceptible to damage after a fall. The screw may come loose and the alignment of the edges will be missed. This has happened to me and it is heartbreaking to lose good scissors. 

scissors when used with tapes with glue result in dull cuts as the residue is difficult to remove

Do not cut tapes with glue

Never cut sticky tape or brown tape, or stabilizers with thick glue with your fabric scissors. The stickiness will not go easily, and you will be left with a not-so-effective cutting tool. 

Oil the screw

Oil the scissor screw once a month (once a week if you use it frequently) with a drop of sewing machine oil.  Open and close the scissors a couple of times to make sure the oil gets in the right places, and wipe down with a clean, soft cloth.

Do not try to take apart the scissors if you are not absolutely sure what to do. The little parts may be difficult to put together again

Use a cover to keep the scissors protected at all times. 

How to Sharpen scissors

If your scissors is just lightly dull and you want to give it a new life, one easy and effective method is to cut  fine grit sand paper with it. Do it a couple of times with long cuts ie you cut it in one go the whole edge coming in contact with the sand paper and repeat this cut some ten times. You will notice that your scissors are a lot more sharper. 

Another oft recommended home method is to use dryer sheets to sharpen the scissors.

If the scissors are really dull, take the scissors to a professional. The sewing machine dealer near you will know where to find one.
Or you can be brave enough to do it yourself.

Or you can be brave enough to do it yourself.

Procedure to sharpen your scissors yourself at home

Buy 120 grit sandpaper. Cut and fold a piece of this paper over itself to make it thick and holdable by hand. You can fold it over a scale for better comfort in holding.

sharpen scissors

Wet this lightly with water. Just a little dampness is what you want – not soggy wet. Keep the scissor’s upper teeth edge ( the one that goes with the bigger handle and this comes as the upper edge when you hold it in your hand) in front of you and start moving the sandpaper tool you have made up and down in a wiping fashion.

Do not press upon it – just use enough pressure to move the sandpaper over the edge. After some grinding, your scissors will be as sharp as you want. Do not sharpen the other edge of the scissors – just the upper edge is to be sharpened.

Checkout the video given below ; It uses a sharpening stone to sharpen the scissors.   

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Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

2 thoughts on “How to sharpen scissors (Simple Secrets of keeping them sharp, always)”

  1. I am making a close-fitting bodice with the front panels cut on the bias; the centre back &side back panels cut on the straight. Should I cut the underarm narrow panel on the bias or straight

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