When your scissors are in top shape, they should open and close easily and smoothly, making clean cuts.
When you start to feel some resistance in your scissors, it’s a sign they need to be cleaned and oiled.
Here’s How Often You Should Oil Scissors:
You can oil your scissors once a month for the average sewing hobbyist. Oiling regularly can help prevent your scissors from becoming gritty, stuck, or hard to use. If you notice any resistance in your scissors, you should clean and oil them as soon as possible.
Do Scissors Need to be Oiled?
Like all metal mechanisms, scissors need to be oiled periodically to keep working smoothly. Without regular oiling, your scissors can stop working as smoothly as they once did.
Whenever you have metal rubbing on metal, you need oil. Oil keeps the moving parts happy, so they can continue to move without friction slowing them down.
Scissors need this lubrication just as much as any other machine.
When applying oil to your scissors, you want to focus on the area where metal rubs against metal. This is where the blades come together at the base and where the nut and bolt connect the blades.
This is where friction is most likely to occur over time and as your scissors accumulate dirt, grime, and waste fibers.
You don’t need a lot of oil to make a big difference. Adding a few drops and working it in around the pivot point can transform the performance of your scissors. A little bit of oil can go a long way.
Add a few drops around the pivot point to oil your scissors. Open and close your scissors repeatedly to work the oil into the crevices between blades.
Continue to add your oil very slowly, opening and closing the blades until you notice that they are moving more smoothly and with less resistance.
After a few minutes of letting the oil set, you can wipe away excess oil with a soft cloth. Microfiber cloths work great for this task and help clean your scissors simultaneously.
You can get into the routine of doing this about once a month to prevent any issues with your scissors.
What Happens if You Don’t Oil Scissors?
If you are not in the habit of oiling scissors regularly, they can start to feel gritty and stiff when you use them.
Without oil, the areas of your scissors where metal rubs on metal will gather too much resistance and friction.
When this happens, it will make your scissors hard to use. You might notice your blades jumping through the cut instead of slicing smoothly.
You also might notice it takes much more effort from you to make a cut that is usually a piece of cake.
Plus, oiling scissors is also helpful in preventing rust. Scissors that are not regularly oiled and exposed to moisture are far more likely to rust.
If you live in a particularly rust-friendly climate, you will want to oil your scissors regularly to prevent any unwanted rust spots.
Are There Any Scissors You Should NOT Oil?
Generally, it would help if you oiled any pair of scissors with metal blades. No matter the exact makeup of the metal, scissor oil will help clean your blades and keep them moving smoothly.
However, if you have a pair of scissors made from another type of material, you might not need to oil them.
If you have purchased a specialty pair of scissors with ceramic blades, you will not need to oil these scissors as part of a maintenance routine.
If you have scissors with plastic parts, you don’t need to oil the plastic.
If you have any young children in the house, they might have a pair of completely plastic safety scissors. These scissors are usually designed to be a child’s first pair of scissors.
They can usually handle cutting a single sheet of paper while helping your child develop their fine motor skills. These scissors do not need to be oiled.
Additionally, many scissors with steel blades might have plastic handles. You don’t need to apply oil to the plastic handles.
To clean the plastic handles, you can carefully wash them with soap and water. This can help remove dark dye stains and other residues.
You will want to avoid any contact with the blades when washing. Exposure to moisture can cause your scissors to rust.
Should I Oil My Scissors Often?
It would be best if you oiled your scissors regularly and at any sign of metal-on-metal resistance. For most sewers, once a month should be a reliable routine.
If you consistently cut materials that leave a lot of waste fiber on your blades, you might need to oil more often. If you usually cut cleaner materials that shed fewer fibers, you might be able to oil less often.
One way to extend the time between oiling is to wipe down your scissors regularly. As we cut fabric and other materials, loose fibers and chemical residue can accumulate on the blades.
This can contribute to the resistance you feel when using scissors that have not been oiled recently.
Get into the habit of wiping down your scissors on a clean cloth after your sewing or crafting session. Carefully wipe each blade, being mindful not to put your fingers in harm’s way. If you regularly wipe your blades, you might need to oil your scissors even less often.
What Scissors Materials Need to be Oiled?
The focus of your oiling should be the metal-on-metal area of your scissors.
This will help the metal parts glide smoothly past each other without creating resistance and friction.
You do not need to oil plastic, ceramic, or other non-metal scissor materials.
Instead, focus your oiling on your scissors with metal blades.
What Kind of Scissor Oil Do I need?
If you are oiling your fabric scissors, you can safely use sewing machine oil or scissor oil.
Sewing machine oil is highly refined and will get the job done without leaving any residue behind. If you have some on hand to oil your sewing machine, you can also use this on your fabric scissors.
You can also use this sewing machine oil or scissor oil to give your scissors an overall cleaning. To do this, you will want to apply the oil on all surfaces of the blades.
If your scissors have metal handles, you can also use the oil on that part.
Leave the oil for a few minutes, and then use a clean cloth to begin wiping your scissors. As you wipe off the oil, you will wipe off dirt, fabric dye, waste fibers, and anything left on the blades.
Remember to be careful of your fingers as you wipe the blades’ sharp edges with the cloth.
Remember that using sewing machine oil on your scissors is the best choice for fabric scissors. You might have other scissors around you’d like to oil, like hair scissors or pet grooming scissors.
If that’s the case, you’re better off purchasing specialty scissor oil designed for these different uses.
When oiling your scissors, you can’t use just any oil you have around the house.
Common household oils, like olive oil, will leave a sticky residue on your scissors. They won’t work well and can transfer the messy residue to your fabric.
How Expensive is Scissor Oil?
You can usually find scissor oil or sewing machine oil at an affordable price.
You might already have some on hand to maintain your sewing machine. If not, you can easily find it at your local sewing store or your favorite online platform.
Singer makes an All-Purpose Machine Oil available on Amazon. This is an affordable option that you can use for both your sewing machine and your scissors.
You can check for current prices, but you should be able to purchase a four-ounce bottle for less than $10.
If you prefer a more specialty option, you might be interested in a Sumo Shear Oil Pen available on Bonika Shears.
The product gets its name from the sumo wrestlers of Japan who use this oil in their hair. Inside the pen, clear camellia oil is perfect for oiling scissors.
The design of this product is unique with its brush tip. With the built-in brush, you can easily apply oil to hard-to-reach places.
The bristles of the brush, carrying the oil, can easily slide between the blades to make the oiling process easier.
Oiling your scissors is a great way to keep them clean and working properly.
Oiling your fabric scissors every month is a great way of keeping them clean and cutting smoothly. Any time you notice any resistance or friction when using your scissors, it’s a sign that it’s time to oil them.
Remember to oil your scissors with scissor oil or sewing machine oil.
Other oils can leave sticky residue behind when rubbed on metal.