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How to clean garden tools

Caring for our garden tools is just as important as caring for our plants.  Cleaning garden tools regularly makes work in the garden easier and lengthens the lifetime of your garden tools.

burgon and ball - caring for your tools

Why should I clean my Garden Tools?

Great quality tools will last you a lifetime, but it’s important to learn about caring for your tools.   Leaving dirt and sap on garden tools will spread any soil-borne diseases and weeds; and attract and hold moisture, causing the spread of rust.  It’s important to keep in mind that maintenance is an essential part of guaranteeing their durability and lifespan.  Read on for a few simple but important tips to follow, broken down in order of importance.

I’ve read I have to clean my garden tools after every use?

That’s right, it’s important to keep your tools clean after every use if you want to keep the same ones for years. Ensure you wash your tools after every use to wash away any dirty muck, and don’t forget to dry. Nobody likes a rusty tool! If rinsing isn’t enough to take the dirt away, use a wire brush to get rid of the excess. Here are our 4 easy steps to clean and sharpen your garden tools:

  1. Remove any dirt and rust
  2. Sharpen any blades
  3. Oil the tools
  4. Store in a dry, ventilated place.

Here is the how:

How to remove rust from your gardening tools

You’ve tried it but your tools still get rusty, don’t despair!  First of all, remove any dirt use a wire brush to get rid of the excess.  Then soak your rusty tool in a 1:1 mixture of water and vinegar overnight. Then, scrub in a circular motion with steel wool and rinse in soapy water. After this step, rinse with plain water and rub lightly with mineral oil. This easy method will help your tools come back to life!

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What is the best thing to clean garden tools with?

When it comes to loppers, shears, or pruners, simply unscrew the nut that holds them together and wash all the parts separately in soapy water. Then, soak in vinegar and water and scrub with steel wool. Rinse and dry.

Then, it’s time to sanitize! Soak your tools in 1 part bleach and 99 parts  water, then again rinse and dry.

When you use your tools on diseased plants or pest infected soil, be sure to disinfect them with either water and bleach (10% bleach with 90% water), or rubbing alcohol, or tea tree oil and then rinse with water to get rid of the cleaning solution. If you’re in a rush, disinfecting wipes work just as well.

Not sure on how to effectively sharpen your tools?

It’s also important to keep your cutting tools sharp! After a good clean, use a sharpener and a sharpening stone

For secateurs, shears and loppers, always sharpen across the original factory bevel or angle. 

For spades, you can use a file or a sharpening stone.  Always stabilise the spade in a vice or against a solid surface such as a work bench.  This will avoid any injury and ensure you apply an even stroke.  Always push the file across the blade in a motion away from you.  Move in straight, even strokes as you work down the entire blade. 

Before reassembling, rub with boiled linseed oil.   If your loppers have telescopic handles, remember to rub in some linseed oil to keep them lubricated.  And don’t forget to wear gloves and eye protection!

Tips for Keeping Garden Tools in Top Condition

Never leave your tools outside in poor weather conditions! It’s important to put your tools away in a dry and well-ventilated place. Also, if you can, hang your long-handled tools on the wall, to avoid the floor dulling the blades. Check out our range of useful tool racks!

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When it comes to wooden handles, remember that it’s important to prevent any minor cracks that may break during usage, as it could be potentially dangerous. If you see a small crack in your handle, the heavy-duty tape should do the trick. After each use, wipe down the handles with a damp cloth and check for any cracks or weakening between the handle and the tool head. Seasonally, lightly sand and apply boiled linseed oil to condition the handles.

Get out into the garden and show us your awesome tools at work!

Learn more about caring for your tools here.