Do Hedge Trimmer Blades Need To Be Lubricated?

Hedge trimmers may look like simple tools with very few moving parts, but have you ever wondered if you should lubricate the blades to keep them working at their best?

It’s important to both clean and lubricate the hedge trimmer blades each time you use it. This stops the buildup of sap, rust, and other debris from gumming up the blades, resulting in poor performance. You can use products developed especially for the job or simply by brushing them down with a wire brush and applying some light oil.

In this article, I’m going to look at why hedge trimmer blades benefit from a little bit of lubrication and what to use to keep them moving and cutting efficiently.

Why Lubricate Hedge Trimmer Blades?

In the gardening world, hedge trimmers are invaluable tools that make the job of maintaining neat and tidy shrubs and hedges a breeze. However, like all gardening tools, they require regular maintenance, a significant part of which includes lubricating the blades. 

But why is this so essential?

Hedge trimmer blades endure a fair amount of abuse as they cut through branches and shrubbery, and encounter natural elements such as sap, dirt, and moisture. This exposure can lead to wear and tear over time, including dulling of the blade edges and potential rusting as well as the build-up of a sticky residue. 

This results in the motor having to work harder to keep the cutting blade moving, which can mean it fails much sooner than it should if you don’t take care.

Lubricating your trimmer blades is a preventive measure that ensures they continue to function efficiently. It helps reduce friction during operation, giving you a much cleaner, smoother cutting action, and provides a protective layer against corrosive elements and the buildup of debris.

Moreover, regular lubrication can significantly enhance the overall performance of your hedge trimmer and increase its lifespan (more about the typical lifespan of hedge trimmers here). It ensures that your tool continues to operate at its best capacity, saving you both time and money in the long run.

How Often Should I Grease My Hedge Trimmer?

Lubricating your hedge trimmer blades should be done every time you use your tool, no matter how frequently you cut the hedges.

Note that you should never use actual grease on your hedge-cutting blades as this is too thick for them to operate properly. Instead, use a light oil or specialist product designed just for the job. Consult your user manual for recommendations, but in most cases, any product from well-known brands should work (and it’s certainly better than nothing).

For heavy and frequent users, the trimmer blades should ideally be lubricated before each use. This action ensures that the blades function smoothly from the moment they start working and reduces the risk of premature dulling. 

If your blades have already gone dull, you will also need to sharpen them. If you aren’t sure how to do it, you can learn more about it in this article

After each trimming session, it’s also advisable to clean the blades and apply a fresh coat of lubricant to remove sap and other debris that may have accumulated during use.

Even if your hedge trimmer use is sparse, it’s still recommended to lubricate the blades both before and after each use, regardless of the time interval between trimming sessions. This practice maintains a protective layer on the blades and wards off rust that might set in due to prolonged exposure to the elements.

It’s also worth conducting regular checks for any signs of rust, dullness, or mechanical issues that may indicate a need for additional maintenance or lubrication.

Can I Lubricate My Hedge Trimmer Blades With WD-40?

A common query among many gardeners is whether you can use the popular WD-40 multi-use product to oil your hedge trimmer blades. 

The simple answer is that it’s really only useful for spraying on once you’ve cleaned the blades after use. When you next get the trimmer out to do some hedge cutting, then it’s best to apply some light oil (vegetable oil works well) before you start.

WD-40 is a well-known product recognized for its capacity to displace water and prevent rust. As such, it can effectively remove moisture from your trimmer blades and protect against corrosion. However, while the original WD-40 does have some lubricating properties, its primary function is not really as a lubricant.

When applied to hedge trimmer blades, WD-40 may not provide sufficient protection for prolonged periods of trimming. This limitation is due to its lower viscosity compared to dedicated oils, which may result in it wearing off very quickly.

For the best results, use a lubricant specifically designed for garden tools. These specialized products often have higher viscosity so that it maintains a more durable and efficient lubricating layer between the blades. 

That said, if you’re in a pinch and don’t have anything else available, WD-40 can serve as a temporary solution.

What Oil Can I Use To Lubricate Hedge Trimmer Blades?

Pretty much any type of oil could be used as a lubricant for your trimmer, but bear in mind that many motor oils are damaging to the environment and could even damage your plants. 

The best idea is to check the recommendations from the manufacturer first to find out what they suggest.

Very often, they will recommend using a product designed specifically for use on hedge trimmer blades that both cleans and lubricates at the same time. There are several brands available such as STIHL Superclean and STA-BIL Blade Guard.

The most eco-friendly solution is to use a vegetable oil spray as this is easy to apply and is very cost-effective. However, in very hot environments it may become quite thin so will need re-applying every 30 minutes or so.

If you do decide to use engine oil then go for one with a viscosity of 20W and apply with a clean rag or small paintbrush.

One word of caution, don’t use chain oils for this purpose as it’s designed to be ‘sticky’ so that it stays in place and will cause your hedge cutter to gum up quite quickly.


In conclusion, the importance of lubricating your hedge trimmer blades cannot be overstated. This simple yet vital maintenance practice greatly improves the performance of your tool and extends its useful life. 

While WD-40 can provide a stop-gap solution, always try to use a light oil of some kind. Vegetable oils are kind to the environment and work well but for the best results use a lubricant designed for the job. 

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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