Lose The Goo

By Sharon Naylor

January 30, 2014 5 min read

Take a close look at your scissors. All of them. Your kitchen shears, the scissors you use for crafts, your cuticle scissors, any scissors or shears you have in your house or in your gardening tool caddy. Chances are, if they're not brand-new, they have some gunk on them. Adhesive residue in particular tends to stick. (No pun intended.)

If you use your kitchen shears to cut the packing tape from boxes and packages that arrive in the mail, they likely have adhesive and tiny pieces of actual tape on them. And if you use a pair of bathroom scissors to cut wax strips, they likely have a buildup of waxy residue on them.

These gunky buildups reduce the efficiency of your scissors, and if they are bad enough, your scissors might be useless. If they are not even able to cut through a piece of paper without bending the page and creating a scraggly cut, you might be in trouble. In addition to reducing your scissors' best performance, gunky buildup on scissor blades can attract and hold germs and bacteria.

Therefore, it's a wise decision, and a surprisingly easy task, to de-gunk all of your household scissors. Here are some of the top methods that cleaning experts and bloggers suggest to easily clean scissors:

--The crafting experts from the Whimsie Doodles blog suggest the following: "When your scissors get sticky from cutting foam tape, just spray them with (lubricant) WD-40 and wipe it off with a paper towel." WD-40 can be found at any home supply store and in supermarkets.

--"Hints from Heloise" cleaning icon Heloise suggests applying "a petroleum-based prewash laundry spray or adhesive remover (found at office-supply stores) directly to the blades. Wait several minutes, then use a nylon scrubber to rub off the gunk. Rinse with plain water and wipe dry."

--The Paper Basket papercrafts blog (http://paper-crafts.blogspot.com) suggests using acetone as an effective scissor blade and edge de-gunking method. "Just take a cotton ball, wet with acetone or nail polish remover, and slide off the blade."

--For an eco-friendly cleaning solution, the experts on aromatherapy oils from Aura Cacia suggest using your choice of essential oil to help smoothe away adhesive residue and gunk with a gentle "massaging" of tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil or orange oil with a clean cloth. Just a small amount will do, and these aromatherapy oils add to your task a calming or energizing scent that can deliver a wellness perk to your project.

--Here's another benefit to using an oil: The experts at cutlery company J.A. Henckels International advise first doing your best to keep scissor blades and edges clean and stored in a dry place and every "now and then, the screw slot and between [the blades] should be oiled with a drop of fine oil. Thus the easy closing force of the scissors will be maintained."

While some message board suggestions include popping your scissors into the dishwasher to remove adhesives, glue and other gunk from your scissors, it's most advisable to check the manufacturer's website for your particular brand of scissors to find their suggested cleaning methods. Scissors are, after all, made from different types of metals -- including carbon steel, stainless steel, high carbon stainless steel, VG10 Steel and others. The creators of the Bed Bath and Beyond product guide for scissors provide some important tips about metal types and potential cleaning mistakes. For instance, the Bed Bath and Beyond team says that "carbon steel tends to discolor when used with acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus fruit." Given that fact about carbon steel, cleaning with orange oil could lead to staining. And if you don't dry this type of metal after rinsing, rusting can occur.

Stainless steel will not rust, but it's still a good idea to dry your scissor thoroughly after rinsing to care best for your blades. The manufacturer's website for your scissor type will help you devise the best de-gunking and cleaning strategies for safer and more precise snipping.

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