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How To Clean Hedge Trimmer and Maintain the Blades

Cleaning hedge trimmer blades is the best way to ensure your garden power tool lasts a long time. After trimming a hedge or shrub, the blades can be covered in a mixture of sap, leaves, resin, and wood dust. Failure to clean and maintain the cutting blades can affect the trimmer’s effectiveness. Poor maintenance results in dull blades, a buildup of rust, and broken parts. We are going to cover How To Clean Hedge Trimmer and Maintain the Blades.

Cleaning Trimmer Blades

Regular cleaning is vital for maintaining your hedge trimmer in top shape. This includes knowing when to clean dirty blades, using the right cleaning solution, and servicing moving parts. In addition, blade sharpening can be particularly challenging. And because you are cleaning sharp edges, safety is of utmost importance.

Top Tips on Safely Cleaning a Hedge Trimmer

The general rule is to always clean hedge trimmer blades after each use. The three-step process is to clean blades using soapy water and a stiff brush, dry the blades, and lubricate clean blades. These three basic steps are vital before storing the power tool before its next use.  

When working with any sharp cutting tools with an electric or gas motor, it’s crucial to follow safety guidelines. Here are some top safety tips on cleaning a hedge trimmer.

Tip #1. Disconnect the Power Source Before Cleaning Trimmer Blades

The first step is to ensure the hedge trimmer can’t accidentally turn on when cleaning the sharp blades.

  • For an electric hedge trimmer, disconnect the cord from the power source.
  • If you have a cordless trimmer, remove the rechargeable battery.
  • For gas-powered hedge trimmers, engage the safety switch so that it can’t power up. Or you could remove the spark plug wire to prevent an accidental start-up.

Tip #2. Wear Protective Gear When Handling Hedge Trimmer Blades

It’s a good idea to wear protective gloves when cleaning blades. The thick gloves protect your finger from sharp edges and stop getting sticky plant sap on your hands. Putting on safety goggles will also protect your eyes if tiny bits of debris fly off as you brush the blades.

Tip #3. Ensure a Safe Work Environment When Working with Sharp Garden Tools

Remember that you are working with a cutting tool with sharp edges. Therefore, put the hedge trimmer on a stable, flat surface. The solid surface will help prevent the trimmer from slipping and causing an accidental injury.

Tip #4. Use a Stiff Brush to Clean Plant Debris Off Trimmer Blades

When cleaning hedge trimmer blades, start by using a stiff brush. The brush should be able to clean between the teeth gaps on the blade easily. Also, remember to clean the underside of the blades where most plant residue collects.

Top tip for cleaning hedge trimmers: Try to clean the blades as soon as possible after finishing work in the garden. This way, you prevent sap and other debris from drying on the blades, which will then be harder to remove.

Tip #5. Clean Hedge Trimmer Blades with Hot Soapy Water

Use a cloth and soapy water to clean the remaining debris from the cutting blades. Most of the residue will accumulate between the teeth and on the blade’s underside. Then use a damp cloth to wipe off the soapy solution. Finally, dry the blade with a dry cloth to ensure there’s not a drop of moisture left.

Tip #6. Protect Trimmer Blades by Rubbing on Alcohol

Some gardeners recommend using a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol to give the blades a final clean. The alcohol disinfects the teeth and prevents the spreading of plant diseases.

Tip #7. Lubricate Hedge Trimmer Blades After Cleaning

The last step is to use lubricant oil to keep the blades cutting with maximin performance. All you need to do is apply the oil along each tooth. Lubricating the blades prevents rust from accumulating and keeps the cutting mechanism in good working order.

Tip #8. Clean the Air Filter on the Hedge Trimmer

If your gas or electric trimmer has an air filter, then it’s a good idea to clean it every so often. The air filter helps to ensure a flow of clean air through the motor. If the filter gets clogged with dirt and dust, the trimmer’s performance will suffer. This could result in the gardening tool overheating.

You should remove the air filter as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Then, gently tap the filter on a solid surface to knock out dust. If the filter is extremely dirty, it’s best to replace it with a new one.

Tips on how to Maintain Hedge Trimmer Blades

Clean trimmer blades after use

Apart from regular cleaning and lubrication, it’s vital to keep the trimmer blades sharp. Over time, cutting through shrub or hedge foliage blunts the blades. And a blunt cutting tool means you have to work harder to trim a hedge. This could also lead to accidents.

Here are some handy tips on proper maintenance of hedge trimmer blades:
  • Put on protective gloves to prevent cutting your fingers
  • Disconnect the trimmer from the power source
  • Use a flat file and sharpen the blade edges, following the angle of the blade
  • Repeat the process for each blade edge

To make the job faster, you could use a drill with a cone-shaped filing stone.

It is recommended to sharpen blades after every 50 hours of use. This way, you keep the blades sharp without wearing the metal away too fast.

Another maintenance task is to tighten any loose screws or fittings. Vibrations the hedge trimmer produces can cause parts to become loose. After using the hedge trimmer and cleaning it, check for loose bolts, screws, or connectors. Then use the appropriate tools to tighten them.

If in doubt about how to fix loose connections, always refer to the service manual.

How to Store Hedge Trimmers When Not in Use

Proper storage will extend the life of your hedge trimmer and ensure it’s ready for use the following season. Before storing the trimmer, thoroughly clean it, sharpen the blade teeth, lubricate all the moving parts, and wipe the blades with machine oil.

Typically, the best hedge trimmers have a protective plastic sheath to protect the blade. So, slide the blade guard on before storage.

Depending on the type of hedge trimmer, you may have a few other things to do before storing the trimmer. These are the following:

  • Gas hedge trimmers: Drain the fuel from the tank before storing the trimmer over winter. This task prevents storing flammable liquids and prevents the fuel from going stale.
  • Battery-powered hedge trimmers: As with all cordless tools, remove the rechargeable battery before storing it throughout the winter. It’s best to keep the battery in the house rather than a cold shed or outbuilding.

It is best to store hedge trimmers off the ground. Usually, a hook on the wall or putting the tool on a shelf out of reach from children is ideal.

Hedge Trimmer Cleaning and Maintenance — In Conclusion

Regular maintenance and cleaning are crucial for extending the lifespan of your hedge trimmer. After use, clean debris from tools and use maintenance oil to lubricate the blade. Every so often, sharpen the blades to ensure maximum performance. Then, at the end of the season, store the trimmer in a dry place.