All gardeners worth their salt know how important is their tools to them. It is imperative that the garden tools be kept in tip-top shape. Proper caring for your garden tools also extend its life considerably, saving you money for repairs and replacements in the long run. Ideally, you should check and clean your tools after each use, but not all of us have the time for it. Here’s the next best thing you can do. Here’s how to clean garden tools properly:
Gather Your Cleaning Weapons
You will need the following materials at hand:
- Safety Equipment. A dust mask, protective glasses, thick gloves are important while working with your garden tools.
- Lubricating Oil. You may use either lamp oil, motor oil, tung or boiled linseed oil, with tung and linseed being the best option.
- Sharpening Tools. You’ll need a sharpening stone and a fine metal file to hone your sharp-edged garden equipment.
- Sandpaper. The 80 and 120 grit ones are the best, as you can work them on both wood and metal.
- Cleaning Tools. A rotary wire brush, some wire brushes, a scrub brush and steel wool.
- Cleaning Supplies. Towels, sponges, cloth for wiping, sprayer, garden hose and detergent.
How To Clean Garden Tools
Step 1. Clean and Scrub
The first step is to clean your garden tools by scrubbing the excess dirt and grime from the handle and blades. Wipe dry using some old towels, then leave to air overnight so you won’t trap in the moisture.
Step 2. Remove Rust
Use either a wire brush or steel wool to remove the rust that has stuck to the metal parts of your tools. Use a drill and a rotary wire attachment to make it easier. The key is to remove as much rust as possible while staying off the healthy steel to keep it from thinning and getting weaker.
Step 3. Sand Tools and Wooden Handles
Garden tools that feature wooden handles must be properly cared for, or else the handles would break or split. Clean the handles using medium grit sandpaper, then rub with linseed oil for protection at least 2 times per season. Wipe down with cloth to eliminate the remaining metal or wood sanding dust.
Step 4. Sharpen the Blades
Sharpening is one of the most important cleaning rituals when it comes to your garden tools. You should sharpen all blades and digging tools regularly. Shovel blades may be further enhanced to dig even through pan clay with ease if you sharpen it. The trick here is to allow a 45-degree filing angle, running it across the edge about 2 to 3 times.
Step 5. Care and Maintenance
Oiling your garden tools will make it last longer. As you may know, oil keeps the moving parts moving smoothly so they don’t wear out or catch. Your pruning equipment will benefit especially from oiling. Take the pruners apart, then rub down with good oil. Don’t forget to include the bolts and screws- use machine oil for proper maintenance. Oiling removes rust and allows for less gathering of mineral deposits. Wipe everything down using a dry and clean rag. All cutting equipment such as pruners, saws and shears should be wiped with bleach to prevent diseases from spreading.
Also read: What are the Must Have Garden Tools?