✿ Helpful Hints

Not as dirty as some, as I do clean them often

1.) Secateurs:  It's important to take apart pruners, oil, thoroughly de-gunk and reassemble - either replacing the dull blade or sharpening it. I do this regularly, and can boast to having pruners last for over 10 years.

Felco is the brand-name I have worked with, having owned both Felco #2's and 4's. They cost more, but save you in the long run - especially when you buy cheaper ones which seize on you while you're in a middle of a job. Felco's also come with an adjusting tool and you can buy extra parts (like spring and new blades).  They are available at reputable stores.
So easy to take apart

All clean and oiled up
My pruners get sticky and gooey from sap. Sap doesn't come off easily. I soak them overnight in paint thinner. This loosens the goo and makes it easier to clean.

Felco's are so easy to take apart.  I sometimes use steel wool to get the worst of the goo off and then use mineral oil or WD40 to lubricate all the parts.

Bleach spray on blade and cradle

Hint:  Once you've cleaned and oiled the pruners, wash the blade with a bleach solution.  I use a bleach bathroom spray cleaner, and spray liberally the blade and cradle of the pruners and let them rest a bit before I rinse it off.  When I clean and oil the pruners, sap, dirt and build-up begin to loosen and it gets all over the blade. If you cut plant material with that filth, cuttings and soft tissue plants will turn black on the cut areas (especially on herbaceious growth). Plus, blades can carry pathogens and the like which can be transferred through plant tissue that come in contact with a dirty blade. Bleach will disenffect pruners, avoiding the transfer of pathogens, but be sure to rinse them with water after.   
All clean! Many more types of Felco hand pruners here
For other tools of value:  here is my "Favourite Tools" post.

I've decided to do posts in a series using: Heidi's Helpful Hints. I will post them here as they 'grow'!
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