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Maintaining and Sharpening Dog Grooming Scissors

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Learning to take care of your dog grooming scissors is an important part of being a professional groomer. The condition of your equipment can make a difference in the quality of work you produce, as well as reduce wear and tear on your body. Your dog grooming scissors can be a significant investment and can cost upwards of a few hundred pounds for a good pair; therefore, we must maintain our scissors by regularly cleaning them and storing them properly to protect those delicate sharp edges, as well as use them as they were designed.

A man sharpening dog grooming scissors
Maintaining and Sharpening Dog Grooming Scissors

In this helpful guide, we give you all the tools to look after your dog grooming scissors, and know when they need sharpening.

When to know your dog grooming scissors need sharpening.

If you're a groomer or hairdresser, you know the importance of sharp scissors. A sharp blade will glide through hair with ease, providing a smooth and even cut. Dull dog grooming scissors can cause snags and pull at the hair, resulting in uneven cuts.

It's important to keep your scissors sharpened so they last longer and work better. But how do you know when it's time to sharpen them? How do you find someone who knows what they're doing?

Here are some questions to ask any potential sharpener before handing over your prized tools:

What style of machine will you be using to sharpen my scissors? The scissors that groomers use are delicate precision instruments and require a sharpening technique that matches. A quality sharpener should be using a flat hone-style machine. These machines are ideal for beauty, barber and grooming scissors, as they can sharpen convex and semi-convex edges.

Also, this type of machine is less aggressive than a vertical stone grinder (a bench grinder) which removes too much metal, therefore shortening the lifespan of the scissors and can typically only provide a beveled edge.

Man sharpening scissors
Sharpening Scissors is an important part of maintaining them.

Sharpening your grooming scissors is an important part of maintaining them, and should be done about once every three months.

Do my dog grooming scissors feel rough or like the edges are catching against each other?

If they are, it is time to have them sharpened. Scissors that are sharp and have the correct tension should feel smooth when opened and closed. High-end scissors and pet scissors that have been sharpened properly to maintain their correct edge should produce little to no noise when opened and closed. Curves, chunkers and thinners may have some noise, but the opening and closing should feel smooth without the teeth of the “comb” blade catching the smooth edge.

Did I drop my scissors or did they get knocked off a table?

If so, don’t continue to use them. Inspect them for knicks or dents in the blade and have the set checked to make sure they weren’t bent with the impact, as this could cause further damage with continued use.

Has it been longer than three months since I last had my shears sharpened?

Depending on how many grooms you’re doing each week, your scissors should be sharpened about every three months.

A skilled engineer sharpening dog grooming scissors
Depending on the use, scissors should be sharpened every 3 months

Dog grooming scissors are an essential tool for any dog groomer, but they need to be maintained and sharpened in order to retain their sharp edge.

The frequency with which you sharpen your scissors depends on several factors including:

  1. The quality of the scissor

The better quality the metal used to manufacture the scissor, the longer it can hold an edge and remain sharp.

2. Improper sharpening

Whether it is a Japanese-style scissor or a German-style scissor, each are designed to function with a specific edge type for their style. When sharpened improperly, meaning the sharpener changes the type of edge out of convenience or the angle without just cause, this can cause the sharp edges to work against the design, dulling or damaging the scissor which facilitates the need for more frequent sharpening.

3. Your technique when using them

Your technique or how you use these scissors can affect how long they maintain their sharp edge. Grooming scissors are designed for only one blade to be moving (the thumb blade) while the other blade (the finger blade) remains stationary. When you move both blades, you cause inappropriate force or tension against the blades when they come together and that causes them to wear each other down

4. Proper maintenance is key to keeping your dog grooming scissors in good working order

Every professional dog grooming scissor is designed to operate with a certain amount of tension which controls the amount of force the sharp edges apply to each other as they close. Tension has a direct effect on how well the scissors operate and the health of our hands and wrists. If the tension is too loose we can experience things like hair folding or having to use an improper technique to get the desired cut. If the tension is too tight we have to use more force to open and close the shear, thus increasing fatigue in our hands and wrists and the development of musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome or trigger finger. Either way, both result in improper wear of the sharp edges and can cause the shears to have to be sharpened more frequently. The tension should be checked every few days and adjusted when needed.

You must clean your scissors after every groom. Small hairs, dust/skin particles, and excess oil can accumulate at the entry and within the pivot and tension hardware leading to the blades loosening and causing them to make contact with each other, therefore improperly dulling. The best product to use for keeping your dog grooming scissors well maintained is the Clipit Ice Care Spray for cleaning and the Clipit Easy Oil for oiling the blades.

5. Proper storage and handling are essential in maintaining sharpness.

If scissors are thrown around, dropped or banged together from being stored loosely, they can become nicked and damaged, thus affecting the way they cut. If the blade or sharp edge of the scissor is nicked deep enough, there is a chance those scissors won’t be able to be repaired, therefore ending their lifespan. Or, at the very least, the sharpener will have to remove a significant amount of metal to create a new edge which could also cause some alterations to be made to the scissor, such as shortening the length or even changing the angle of the blade.

Dog grooming scissors stored away safely.
Proper storage is essential in maintaining scissor sharpness

Scissors should always be kept in a case when not in use. The case should be designed so that it protects both sides of each blade from being scratched by other objects inside it. It is also important that you don’t store your scissors loosely in a drawer because this can cause them to get tangled up with other items inside there and potentially damage them while doing so. A good solution is a magnetic scissor strip that can house your scissors near to your workplace, which is perfect for any grooming salon, mobile groomer in a van or even commercial kitchens.

Your scissors, clippers and other equipment are investments. And as a small business owner, you need to get as high of a return on your investments as possible, and proper care and maintenance are the best ways to ensure you achieve the longest working lifespan out of your equipment.

However, if the damage is too significant, it could impede the performance of the scissor or end its working life altogether.

Be careful with what your scissors come into contact with as far as cleaning agents or other chemical-based products. Many can be corrosive to steel. For example, the powder used to stop nails from bleeding is very corrosive to stainless steel. If the powder is left on even for a few minutes, it can cause discoloration of the metal. And if it is left on for longer, it can cause pitting of the metal and also expedite the development of rust. This can warrant the need for repairs, including being resharpened and polished to remove shallow pitting and discolorations. However, if the damage is too significant, it could impede the performance of the scissor or end its working life altogether.

In summary, lubricating oils are highly recommended for all types of dog grooming equipment (including scissors, clippers and comb attachments). Oil provides lubrication and helps against rust as well as wear and tear. This will ultimately extend the life of your equipment which in turn will save you time, money, energy, and frustration in the long run when your tools aren't dying on you as quickly. Oiling doesn't take too long to do, so it's definitely worth the investment of time!

For scissors, scissor cleaner and lubricating oils, Clipit Grooming can offer you it all. Just go over to our selection of dog grooming scissors for good all round specialist scissors, and if you're looking for products to maintain your scissors, go to Clippers, Blades and Care.


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