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Can kitchen scissors be sharpened?

August 05, 2023 4 min read

Can kitchen scissors be sharpened? - Maria's Condo

Kitchen scissors are an essential tool in every culinary enthusiast's arsenal. However, they often get overlooked when it comes to maintenance. Regular sharpening not only keeps your kitchen scissors functional but also extends their lifespan. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the different techniques to keep your kitchen scissors sharp and in top-notch condition.


Recognising the Importance of Kitchen Scissors

Kitchen scissors, often overshadowed by the chef's knife, play a crucial role in various kitchen tasks. From snipping herbs to trimming fish fins to shearing through chicken bones, kitchen scissors prove their worth. They are even handy for non-food tasks like cutting parchment or opening stubborn packaging. But remember, with regular use, your kitchen shears will eventually lose their edge and require sharpening.

Identifying the Need for Sharpening

There isn't a set timetable for sharpening your scissors. The frequency of sharpening depends on how often you use your scissors and the materials you cut. If you find that cutting requires more pressure than usual, or if you haven't sharpened your kitchen shears for years, it's likely time to sharpen them. A useful trick is the 'paper test'. If your scissors cannot cleanly cut through paper, it's time to sharpen them.

The Basics of Scissor Sharpening

Sharpening kitchen scissors might seem intimidating at first, but it's much easier than sharpening a chef's knife. The bevel or the angled edge on scissors is much wider than on a chef's knife, which makes it easier to see the angle you need to hold the blade. Unlike a chef's knife, you don't have to worry about honing the blade after sharpening it - the scissors' dual blades take care of that with a few snipping motions.

All you need to sharpen your scissors is a sharpening stone, ideally one with a coarse side and a fine side.

Disassembling Your Scissors

Before you start sharpening, it's best to take apart your scissors. This allows you to get all the way up to the back end of the blade and ensures the opposing blade isn't swinging around potentially causing injury while you work. Most kitchen shears can easily be pulled apart for cleaning. Some might have a nut or screw that needs to be removed first. If your scissors are riveted together, you won't be able to take them apart. You can still sharpen them, but it's likely you've been using non-kitchen scissors as kitchen shears.

Sharpening Procedure

Once you've taken apart your scissors, you're ready to start sharpening. Break out your sharpening stone and turn it to the coarse side up. It's useful to set it on a towel to prevent it from sliding around.

Place the flat, inner side of one of the scissor blades on the stone and give it 10 strokes, from the back of the blade towards the tip, keeping the edge of the blade flat against the stone. After 10 strokes, you should see fresh metal along the edge, indicating that you've sharpened correctly.

You can then turn the stone over and give the flat edge of the blade 10 strokes on the fine side. This step is optional - once you see clean, fresh metal at the edge, you've achieved your goal.

Sharpening the Bevel

The next step involves sharpening the beveled edge of the scissor blade. Give the beveled edge 10 strokes, ensuring the beveled edge is flat against the stone. The bevel is quite wide compared to a chef's knife, so you can both see and feel it.

When you see fresh metal, you're done. If you wish, you can repeat this process with the fine grit side of the stone.

Repeat the entire procedure on the other blade of the scissors.

Reassembling Your Scissors

After sharpening, reassemble your scissors. If they're typical kitchen shears, the two halves should come together manually. If there's a screw, ensure you tighten it properly without overdoing it. The two back sides of the blade should come together without wobbling or feeling sticky.

The final step is to snip the scissor blades together a few times - the blades hone each other, eliminating the need for a honing steel. Congratulations, you've just sharpened your scissors!

Avoiding Scissor-Dulling Practices

Certain practices accelerate the dulling of your scissors. Cutting through hard plastic containers or packaging can speed up blade wear. It's recommended to use your kitchen shears specifically for food to achieve the best results.

Consider having dedicated scissors for different tasks. Having a separate pair for cutting food and another for opening boxes or cutting bags helps reduce the chance of misuse.

Alternative Sharpening Methods

If you don't want to invest in a sharpening stone, you can use sandpaper, files, mini diamond hones, or even aluminum foil. To use aluminum foil, simply fold it several times to at least six layers thick, then cut the foil into strips using full-stroke cuts. Rinse and dry the scissors after this process to remove any remaining paper and aluminum bits.

Another simple way to sharpen kitchen shears is to cut a piece of steel wool or a Scotch-Brite™ pad. These materials work well to maintain the edge of your scissor blades.

Maintaining Your Scissor Blades

Maintaining your scissors is just as important as sharpening them. It's advisable to hone your scissor blades with a sharpening steel between uses, just like you would your good knives. This helps maintain the edge of the blade and reduces the frequency of sharpening.

Cleaning your scissors is also crucial. Handwashing your shears and drying them well can prevent rust. Avoid placing your kitchen scissors in the dishwasher as they may knock against other flatware, causing them to nick at the edge.

Knowing When to Replace Your Scissors

While sharpening your scissors can solve most issues, there are instances when replacement is necessary. It's recommended to replace your scissors if they are permanently affixed together or if they are poultry shears, which are harder to maintain than regular kitchen scissors.


Sharpening your kitchen scissors is a simple task that can significantly improve your cooking experience. Whether you choose to use a sharpening stone, aluminum foil, or steel wool, maintaining a sharp edge on your scissors will make cutting tasks easier and extend the life of your kitchen tool. Remember to also clean and care for your scissors regularly to keep them in the best possible condition. Happy cooking!


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