How to Oil your Shears

For grooming shears to perform optimally, they require regular oiling, and this is often a task that gets forgotten or overlooked, despite how simple and quick it is to do.

Our “How To” video above demonstrates how to effectively oil your dog shears in order to extend their lifespan and make opening and closing easier on your hands.

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Oiling Your Grooming Shears

Step 1: Clean Your Shears

While oil can be applied to dirty shears with tiny hair particles on them, it’s always best to wipe them off first so that the fresh oil doesn’t collect and retain the dirt and hair - especially around the pivoting screw.

Wipe dirt, hair, or anything else undesirable off the blades with a paper towel, microfiber cloth, tissue paper, or clean cloth. Opening the shear, be sure to wipe clean the areas near the pivoting screw where the surfaces of the blades rub together (back by the shank). Any time a shear is soaked in Barbicide, it will need to have fresh oil applied to it once they are dry.

Step 2: Apply Shear Oil

When lubricating a shear, it’s important to use an all-purpose machine oil or scissor oil. Scissor Oil comes in a narrow container with an application needle that really helps to apply it precisely without making a mess.Don’t use WD40, motor oil, cooking oil, etc. Scissor oil is cheap, and a small container of it will last a very long time.

As shown in our “How To” video, open the grooming shear and apply a small amount of scissor oil on the blade surfaces near the pivoting screw. We suggest applying 4 dabs of oil to the spots we show in the video. Next, vigorously open and close your shears in order to work the oil around the surface area.

Clean oil has several important benefits:

  • It will reduce friction wear on the shears from daily usage.
  • It makes shears last longer and perform optimally.
  • It reduces hand fatigue and the chance of stress injury.
  • It eliminates “squeak” sounds from being dry.

Most importantly, it sets the baseline for properly tuning your shear. Tuning a dry shear will result in inaccuracy and decrease its performance.

Step 3: Tune Your Shears

After you’ve worked clean scissor oil into the surfaces near the pivoting screw area of your shears, it’s good to tune them. In many instances, a shear can be tightened up a click or two more after being oiled, but this isn’t always the case. That’s why it’s good to check. For Standard Shears (i.e., non-texturizing shears), check out our Tuning Drop-Test Resource, and for tuning Texturizing Shears (i.e., Thinners and Chunkers), consult this “How-To” resource.

How Often Should You Oil Your Grooming Shears?

For a minimum shear maintenance routine, all grooming shears should be cleaned and oiled at least a couple times a month. Realistically, a groomer performing daily disinfectant baths on their shears with Barbicide should follow it up with applying clean oil each and every time.

If your shear makes an obnoxious, grading, repetitive “squeaking” sound while opening and closing them, then it’s probably time to apply oil. Note that Beveled Edge shears generally make a subtle “snip” sound in comparison to the more quiet convex edge shears, and no amount of oil will silence them completely.

When you buy new shears, they usually come with a light sheen of machine oil on them for packing purposes, but that is the only purpose it serves: protection during storage and shipping. As soon as you receive a new pair of grooming shears, clean the thin coat of packing oil off them, then apply scissor oil. Lastly, check the tuning.

While many premium grooming shears utilize ball-bearings for the tension screw mechanism, it’s not really necessary to apply scissor oil directly to the area. It will not cause harm to the shear, but often makes a greasy mess.

We hope this resource was helpful!