Looking After Garden Tools Old & New

Pots for potting

Clean your Garden Tools

  • Clean all of the dirt and soil from your spades, forks, trowels etc. after each use.
  • Allow your tools to dry completely before storing to prevent rusting, mould and handle rot.
  • Before storing, wipe the metal parts of pruners, shears, and loppers with an oily rag. A shot of products such as WD40 will also do the trick.
  • Rinse off tools with soap and water then dry and rub with an oily rag as chemicals such as fertilizers will quickly corrode any metal parts.
  • Disinfect old terracotta pots before reusing.

Oil Your Tools

  • Especially with old tools, rub linseed oil into the wooden handle of your tools to help prevent drying out and splintering.
  • Spray metal tools with WD40 or equivalent to prevent rust.
  • Rusted tools should be cleaned with a wire brush, sandpaper and steel wool. Penetrating oil will help with the more stubborn spots.
  • Oil tools well before storing for winter.
  • Mix builders sand and oil in a bucket to plunge tools into and it will clean and prolong the life of your tools

Sharpening and Repairing Garden Tools

  • Use a flat edged file to keep your tools sharpened to maximize their efficiency.
  • Pruners, secateurs and shears can be tricky to sharpen so you can leave these types of tools to the professionals. If you use a sharpening stone work on the outer side of the blade not the smooth cutting surface.
  • Sanding down a splintered handle then rubbing with linseed oil will restore it to a smooth finish.
  • Old good quality but rusted tools that you see at car boot salesĀ  can be restored to almost new condition. A good old one often beats a moderate new one (see reuse recycle).


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