Regular maintenance routines will keep your Garden Tools in good working order and help them last longer. Tools not only need to be sharp, but they also need to be clean and germ-free. Tools that are exposed to plants or soil infested with bacteria, fungi or insects can spread these problems throughout your garden. After each gardening session, it only takes a few minutes to care for your tools and protect your garden the next time you use them.
Keeping your tools clean and storing them properly after each use is essential if you want them to last.
Here are some general tips.
Rinse your digging tools with a Garden Hose and use a wire brush or putty knife to remove caked-on dirt.
Give pruning shears a quick scrub with a nail brush and some soapy water.
If tools are exposed to diseased plants or pest-infested soil, give them a quick soak in a dilute solution of 2 cups of household bleach mixed with 1 cup of gallon water, then rinse with water or wipe with a cotton cloth soaked in alcohol.
Mix a bucket of sand with vegetable oil, such as boiling linseed oil, to facilitate the use of metal excavation tools. The sand should be wet, but not soggy. Insert the blade, sharp teeth or teeth into the sand several times for a quick clean or for regular maintenance once the tool is dry. The oil helps prevent rust and corrosion on metal surfaces.
Avoid using petroleum products, such as motor oil, because the next time you use the tool, you will introduce oil into the soil.
Keep disinfectant wipes on hand at all times to remove sap, bacteria and fungus for quick cleaning.
Store tools in a well-ventilated, dry trellis or garage. Smaller hand tools can be inserted into buckets of sand or small pebbles; larger tools should be stored hanging or upside down to avoid dulling the blades.
Pruning blades that are clogged with sap may be difficult to use. A solvent, such as mineral spirits or turpentine, can be used to remove sap from pruning tool blades.
Rust prevention and removal
Make sure your tools are thoroughly dry before storing and treating with linseed or mineral oil, which is the best way to prevent them from rusting. However, if you find some rust on your tools, you can take the following steps to get them back in working order.
Soak them overnight in a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.
Scrub with steel wool in a circular motion.
Rinse first with soapy water, then with water.
Allow to dry thoroughly, then scrub gently with linseed or mineral oil.
Cutting or pruning with a dull blade often causes damaged branches to tear or lacerate, making them more susceptible to disease. Keep Grass Prunersand other cutting tools sharp with a professional pruner sharpening tool or a whetstone. Other tools can be kept sharp by quickly sharpening them with a sanding file and then polishing the stone.
Push the file or sharpener in the same direction as the blade and follow the original bevel.
Use a sharpening stone to further smooth the edge of the file.
Wear goggles and work gloves when using any sharpening equipment to prevent metal chips.