How to Properly Clean Your Garden Tools

Various gardening toolsTools are an investment in your work and hobbies. If you’re a mechanic, tools are your livelihood. If you’re a gardener, tools may or may not be your livelihood, but they’re still pretty important. Either way, it’s in your best interest to keep tools in good working condition.

Remove Soil and Potential Problems

Clean your tools after every use so you’ll be sure not to spread things like plant diseases, insect eggs or weed spores around the garden. Preventing rust is another great reason to clean tools after use. Wet soil promotes rust, which can dull and even erode sharp edges.

Any tool that’s been used in the soil should be pressure-washed. To remove clay mixtures, you’ll need a stiff brush and a little elbow grease. After a wash, always dry tools with a cotton cloth before storing them.

Cleaning Sap

Use a thick cloth to remove any sap on pruning shears, hedge clippers and any other tool that you used on trees and other plants with gum-like substances. If you use tools on a pitch-producing plant, try using paint thinner on the cloth to help remove the substance. Dry your tools to remove all traces of paint thinner. 

Oiling Prevents Rust

Take care of steel tools by oiling them after cleaning and drying. The oil prevents rust from forming by blocking oxygen out. If you’ve got motor oil, you’ve got what you need. To thin the oil and make it easier to work with, mix two parts of 30W oil (non-detergent only) to one part lamp oil or kerosene. Use a cloth to apply a thin layer. Don’t worry about the oil mixing with the soil; it’s a very small amount and oil is organic-based so it breaks down quickly.

You have invested a lot in your garden and gardening tools; time as well as money. Show your tools the same love you show your plants and they’ll keep producing, too.

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