How to Sharpen Scissors That Won’t Cut (The Right Way)


With consistent use of scissors for cutting different items in routine, they lose their effectiveness eventually. People tend to buy new scissors in this situation because they don’t know why they get dull and how to bring their sharpness back. But is this the right decision to do so?

Most of the time, a scissor can be resharpened easily at home without much effort and special tools required. So it is essential to know the exact reason behind the dullness of the blades to avoid any unnecessary expenses.

Why Do Scissors Get Dull

After prolonged use of scissors, their blades lose their sharpness, and the scissors get dull eventually. Some materials like paper and cardboard contain abrasive minerals that damage the cutting edges and make it difficult for the scissor to make cuts.

Another possible reason your scissor is not cutting properly is a loose pivot screw. As time passes, the joint starts getting loosed causing the distance between the blades to increase, making it difficult for them to meet each other. All this makes the scissor cuts ineffective that can be misjudged as dullness in blades.

Check if the problem is in the pivot screw, try to tighten it yourself. Grab a screwdriver and start tightening the screw until it gets fully fixed and the scissor gets ready for the cutting.

If the scissor is still dull, you don’t need to purchase new scissors yet. There are several simple and easy ways to resharpen your scissors yourself. It only requires some household items and a little bit of attention.

How to Sharpen Scissors that Get Dull

There are a lot of household items you can use to sharpen scissors yourself. You can use a knife sharpener, a sharpening stone, sandpaper, or a piece of aluminum foil to sharpen blades at home.

Check what you have already available and gently choose one of the following methods based on the quality of the scissor and the level of damage it has.


1. Sharpen Scissors With a Knife Sharpener

The best way to sharpen scissors at home is using a knife sharpener from your kitchen. It is one of the best and easiest methods you can try at home.

You can simply use a knife sharpener the same as you use it to sharpen a knife. However, you need to detach the scissor to convert each blade into a single cutting knife.

  1. Open the pivot screw to detach the scissor blades.
  2. Set the inner side of the blade in the sharpening position on a knife sharpener.
  3. Move the blade on it multiple times.
  4. Repeat the steps to get effective results.

2. Sharpen Scissors With Sharpening Stone

If you don’t have a knife sharpener in your kitchen tools, you can use a sharpening stone instead. You can easily get one from a local hardware store.

First of all, you need to separate both the blades. Remove the screw attaching the scissor blades, detach them, and follow the steps below.

    1. Take a sharpening stone and lubricate it with oil or water.
    2. Place the inner side of the scissor blade on it. Keep it as flat as possible, and hold the scissors at the correct angle.
    3. Apply a little bit of pressure downward and pull the blade across the entire stone. Move the blade also from tip to end while sliding it on the stone.
    4. Repeat the step 10 to 15 times to make the blades sharp enough.

If your scissor is very dull, start from the coarse side of the stone and later go for the finer side. Otherwise, for a light touch, only use the fine side.

Using a wet paper towel, clean the blades to remove the burrs on the scissor blades. You can also cut card paper to remove the burr from the scissor.

3. Sharpen Scissors With a Sandpaper

Cutting the sandpaper is also an effective way to sharpen scissors. When you make cuts on sandpaper with a dull scissor, it eliminates the blunt edge at the blades by its abrasiveness.

To sharpen the scissor with sandpaper, follow the steps below.

    1. Grab a piece of medium-grit sandpaper.
    2. Fold it in half so that both sides face the rubbing surface.
    3. Make a few cuts on it with the required scissor.
    4. Make sure the entire blade of both sides gets rubbed across the sandpaper.

Once done, clean the blades with a piece of cloth or paper towel. Then check the sharpness of the scissor by cutting a card paper or piece of cloth. If it is not sharp enough, repeat the steps until you get satisfied.

4. Sharpen Scissors With Aluminum Foil

Cutting aluminum foil can also help to sharpen scissors, but it is not as effective as sandpaper. However, it will work well with scissors having a slight dullness in blades.

Actually, the aluminum foil does not sharpen the blades but it cleans them from anything causing dullness. It may work excellent if the dullness in the scissor is due to rust in its blades or your scissor gets sticky while cutting.

If you think you also have a similar problem, follow the steps below:

    1. Take a piece of aluminum foil and fold it multiple times.
    2. Now cut it into several pieces using full scissor strokes.
    3. Check the sharpness of the scissors by cutting some material.
    4. If required, repeat the step until you find the scissors working perfectly.

Once done, wipe down the blades using a piece of cloth or paper towel. It will clean any aluminum debris that may get left behind.

How to Keep Scissors Sharp for a Long Time

To keep a scissor effective for a long time, have different scissors for different tasks. Such that, a scissor to cut clothes should not be used for other purposes. Also avoid cutting metallic materials, as they can dull your scissor much faster. Especially protect your hair cutting scissors, as they may also cause some health issues or infections.

If you are a beginner, avoid trying to sharpen scissors yourself at home. If you accidentally cause damage to the blades, they may not get repaired. So it is advisable to have your scissors sharpened regularly by a professional scissor sharpener.