There are few tools we rely on more than our hand pruners, but most of us don't really take very good care of them. Keeping your hand pruners clean and sharp can make pruning less stressful on your hands and on your plants. Ideally it should be done several times a year, but at least give them some attention at the beginning or end of the season.
Don't let your pruners intimidate you. They're basically held together by a screw or nut and taking them apart to clean and sharpen is a simple process. (And no, putting them back together again is not magic either. You can do it.) This pictorial walks you through the steps of cleaning and sharpening hand pruners.