Can Old Scissors Be Sharpened? (Explained)

If you’ve inherited some dull antique scissors, you’ll need to sharpen them before you can use them to cut anything.

While it might be tempting to buy a new pair, there are benefits to using old, tried-and-true pairs of scissors:

Here’s Why You Don’t Always Need to Replace Old Scissors:

Old scissors can be sharpened, and they can even be restored to their former glory. Sharpening your scissors correctly should be simple, but it can be difficult and time-consuming. Sharpening old scissors without hassle or frustration is possible with the right process and patience.

Before You Replace Your Old Scissors:

People often think that once their scissors are dull, it’s better to replace them. Replacing your scissors may appear to be the simplest solution, but it should not be your first choice.

So instead of throwing away your old pair, consider some of these options first:

Try Repairing Them

Many pairs of scissors can be repaired in a matter of minutes and for next to nothing.

However, if your scissors break while you’re using them, try fixing them rather than throwing them away and buying new ones.

For example, if your scissors have a loose joint, you can easily fix this by following these steps:

  1. Make sure the scissors are positioned on a flat, solid surface.
  2. Stack the blades of the scissors on top of one another before securing them.
  3. Make sure to tighten the screws if they’re present in the joint. Proceed to the next step if it has a rivet.
  4. Keep the pin punch perpendicular to the scissors while applying pressure to the rivet head with the pin punch tip.
  5. Hold the scissors in place while someone else hits the pin punch’s top with a small hammer.
  6. Test them after each hit to prevent the scissors from becoming too tight.

Sharpen the Blades

When your scissors lose their cutting edge, you may be tempted to throw them away, but there are various sharpeners available that can help you.

So, don’t throw away your dull scissors just yet.

Instead, sharpen them with a sharpener or belt sander. You can also use a grinding wheel or sandpaper if you don’t have access to these tools.

If you’re worried about damaging your scissors with an abrasive material like sandpaper, try using a sharpening stone instead.

Sharpening stones are made of natural materials like whetstones or diamond plates, which will not damage your blades as other abrasives may do, so it’s a safe way to sharpen your scissors without ruining them!

Clean Them With Soap and Water

To restore your old scissors, it is important that you first clean them.

You can place your scissors in a small bowl of warm water and add a drop or two of dish soap. Allow the blades to soak for about fifteen minutes.

Then, take the blades out of the water and wipe them down with a soft cloth. This will remove any rust or grime that may be on the blade.

Remove Any Rust

If the rust is deeper than a couple of millimeters, you should consider getting the scissors professionally cleaned.

Of course, you’ll need an old toothbrush and steel wool to do this.

First, use the toothbrush to scrub the rust off your scissors’ blades. Then, using the steel wool, rub the blades until they’re completely clean and shiny.

Polish With Oil

Once you’ve removed all of the rust from your scissors, it’s time to polish them up.

To do this, you’ll need a small amount of olive oil enough to cover one blade, a cotton rag or soft cloth, and a rag or sponge soaked in warm water.

  1. Dip your rag or sponge into the warm water and wring it out, so it doesn’t drip too much.
  2. Wipe down both blades with the rag until they are completely clean and shiny.
  3. Dip another rag into olive oil and rub it onto both blades until they’re well-coated.
  4. Wipe off any remaining oil with a cloth or paper towel after about ten minutes of sitting.

While scissors can be restored and sharpened, there may be times when you will have to replace your scissors, especially if you don’t take proper care of them. Scissors can last for years if properly cared for and maintained, but if the hinge or blades break, it’s time to replace them.

Here are some additional signs that it might be time to replace your scissors:

  • The blades don’t line up properly when closed. If you notice that one blade is slightly off-center when closed, this could signify that the blade has become bent or damaged due to improper use or storage.
  • The blades don’t meet evenly when closed. If you notice that one blade doesn’t meet flush with another when closed, this could be a sign that one of the hinges has loosened over time and needs tightening.
  • One side of the handle is higher than the other side by more than 1/16″ or 2 mm. This can indicate that one side has been bent because of uneven pressure being placed on it during use or storage over time.

Can You Sharpen Very Dull Scissors Yourself?

It is possible to sharpen very dull scissors yourself, but it might take time and effort. However, you can easily make your dull scissors sharp again with practice and patience.

Below are the different tools you can use to sharpen dull scissors yourself:


Sandpaper is a very common tool for sharpening scissors. You can use it to sharpen the blades of scissors by rubbing the sandpaper against the blade in a circular motion.

Many types of sandpaper are available, but it is best to use medium-grit sandpaper when sharpening scissors.

It would be best if you also were sure that you have plenty of light and are working in an area free from distractions so you can pay close attention to what you are doing.


Also known as bench stones, they come in different sizes. They are made of a hard mineral or ceramic material such as silicon carbide or aluminum oxide.

To use a whetstone:

  1. Set your whetstone on a flat, non-slip surface like a towel or piece of wood. This will keep the stone from moving while you’re using it.
  2. Wet the stone with water until it’s damp, and place the blade of your scissors on its surface at an angle between 20 and 45 degrees.
  3. Push down on the handle of your scissors so that they make contact with the wet stone, then pull them back up again. Repeat this motion 10 times for each blade.

Sharpening Rods

Sharpening Rods are ideal for sharpening scissors and other cutting tools.

The rods are made from high-quality steel and are designed to be easy to use and long-lasting.

They can sharpen both commercial and industrial scissors and kitchen scissors.

Electric Sharpeners

Electric sharpeners are a great way to sharpen your scissors.

They are fast, easy, and accurate. In addition, they are affordable and come in various types and sizes.

You can find an electric sharpener at most hardware stores or online retailers.

When Should You Professionally Sharpen Your Scissors?

When your scissors aren’t cutting well, it’s probably time to sharpen them.

If unsure, you can test the sharpness by cutting through paper. If it tears, your scissors are dull. If they leave a clean, smooth cut, they’re still sharp.

You can sharpen your scissors yourself, or you can also have them professionally sharpened. Getting your scissors professionally sharpened depends on how often you and others use them.

A professional sharpening service will ensure that the blades are properly aligned with cutting cleanly and smoothly through the fabric without pulling or tugging.

The process involves reshaping the edge and honing it to make it as sharp as possible. It is crucial to use a professional because they have the experience and knowledge to sharpen your scissors correctly.

Finally, a good rule of thumb is that if your scissors are dull and need a lot of work, it is probably better to take them to someone who can do it professionally.

This is because a professional can use special tools to help them put a new edge on your scissors more easily than you would at home with any old sharpener.

How Difficult Is It to Sharpen Older Scissors?

It’s not easy to sharpen older scissors, but it is possible. Fortunately, you can use plenty of sharpening tools to sharpen dull scissors.

However, if you do not have the patience or time to do the sharpening yourself, you can always bring your scissors to a professional.

How Long Can a Single Pair of Scissors Last?

If you take proper care of your scissors and do not allow them to rust or corrode over time, they can last 20-25 years or even longer.

The lifespan of a single pair of scissors is determined by the type of scissors used, what you’re cutting, and how careful you are with them.

To keep your scissors working as well as possible, always clean them after each use. Also, avoid using them for more than one purpose.

This will help keep them sharp longer, so they don’t get dull as quickly from overuse.


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