Is it True? Sharpening Scissors with Aluminum Foil

Several times I’ve seen the advice to sharpen scissors by cutting tin foil with them. I tried it. What happened was the blades got cleaner. It took off small bits of rust and burrs. They were shiny and maybe felt a little sharper. One site said that if you do that very often you wear away the steel in the wrong places. Sharpening is done at an angle, not straight on as with cutting. Sadly both eHow and bought into the tin foil sharpening meme. has space for comments. That’s very helpful so people can contribute counterpoint to the articles.

I looked into the angles for sharpening. The angle ranges from 12 degrees to 35 degrees. The larger the blade the larger the angle should be. A machete gets 30 degrees, and an Xacto knife gets 12 degrees. It’s best to use the angle the manufacturer originally put on the blade. Most sharpening is done with a sharpening stone. Details on how to do this can be found at It’s possible that your local butcher might sharpen a knife for you at little or no charge.



  1. Interesting post! I personally have read tons and tons of tips and tricks in regards to being frugal. It is a great idea to share our experiences with others as we may have had experience that may benefit others. Your post has provided inspiration in experimenting with these different ideas and reporting my findings which is much appreciated! Happy blogging!

  2. Cutting thru layers of foil to sharpen scissors works wonderfully. I’ve done it on several occasions and they’re always sharper.

  3. Works beautifully! I tried this for the first time with a pair of scissors I was going to throw away, and it made the scissors like new. Maybe over time it’s not a good idea; perhaps it will wear on the metal blades, but they were going in the garbage (recycling actually) anyway, so I have nothing to lose by keeping this up until such time as they’re no good.

    1. Because so many reputable sites recommend this sharpening method, I suspect it either works at first, works on stronger metals, or seems to work by making the blades feel sharper. OTOH, it makes sense that repeatedly cutting instead of sharpening on an angle would eventually blunt the blades.

  4. I have yet to try any method of sharpening scissors. I am interested in trying them. As of yet my scissors that I use are still sharp. I am not sure that trying to sharpen scissors is worth the effort. The ones I use at work were purchased from a dollar store for a dollar. At my job I needed to cut 1/2″ – 3/4″ filter media. Regular scissors didn’t work. These cut through the filter media easily. My boss wanted to get expensive shears. Go figure. I purchase the inexpensive scissors a few years ago. They are still cutting fine.

    1. That’s a good point. Household tools that used to be sharpened and repaired are now so inexpensive that strictly from a money point of view it sometimes costs less to buy a new one.

  5. I am still interested in sharpening scissors. A co-worker at one time said to use a ceramic honing rod by putting it between the blades and doing the cutting action as you if were actually cutting. I don’t recall anything about tension or just nice and smooth and light like using a steel on a knife. Never tried it and just don’t see how that could work. But than again what do I know. That is why I am here.

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