Regular maintenance will keep your garden tools in top shape and lasts longer. Not only must tools be sharp but they also need to remain clean and sterile. Tools that have been exposed to soil with fungal, bacterial or insect infestations or plants can spread the problem throughout the garden. You can take a few minutes to clean your tools after every gardening session and protect your garden for the next one.
If you want your garden tools to last, it is important to keep them clean and properly store them after each use.
- These are some tips to help you get started:
- To get rid of any dirt, rinse your digging tools with a gardenhose.
Use pruners, shears or loppers to give your nails a quick scrub using a nail brush and soapy water.
To disinfect tools that were exposed to pest-infected or diseased soils, you can give them a quick soak with 2 cups of electrician vs plumber household bleach and 1 gallon water. After this, rinse the solution in plain water. Or wipe them with a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Use a towel or rag to dry your garden tools.
A bucket of sand and a plant-based oil such as boiled Linseed oil should be kept handy for metal digging tools. The sand should not be wet but damp. For a quick clean, dip the blade, teeth, or tines in the sand. Oil protects the metal surface against rust and corrosion.
Pruner blades that have become clogged with sap may be difficult to use. To remove sap from pruning tools blades, you can use solvents such as mineral spirits and turpentine.
- Use a cotton ball or cloth that has been dipped into solvent to wipe the blades.
- After using solvents, wash the blades with soapy warm water.
- How to Prevent and Remove Rust
The best way to prevent tools from rusting is to ensure they are properly dried before storage. Here’s how to fix rusty tools:
- Allow to soak overnight in 1:1 vinegar-water mixture
- Use steel wool to scrub in a circular motion.
- Rinse with soapy water and then rinse with plain water.
- Allow to dry completely, then rub gently with linseed oil or mineral oil.
SEASONAL TOOL CARE
Take care of pruners, shears, and loppers
Pruners must be removed and cleaned at least once a season. This can be done at end of season, before you store tools for winter.
Remove the nut that holds them together, and wash each part separately with soapy water.
- To remove rust, soak in vinegar and water. Scrub with steel wool. Rinse and dry.
- To clean, soak in bleach and water. Rinse and dry.
- Use boiled linseed oils to rub the skin and then assemble.