How to Clean and Maintain Garden Tools - dummies

How to Clean and Maintain Garden Tools

By Gill Chilton

Cleaned and maintained garden tools can help avoid accidents while adding to a polished appearance. Neglected tools don’t just look sad. Forks and spades work less efficiently when their edges are blunt or their shafts are wobbly. More seriously, shears that stick cause accidents and a blocked-up electric lawn mower may blow a fuse. Happily, clean-ups are quick and simple. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a drop of oil.

Make sure hand tools stay handy

Taking your tools out from the soil after you’ve finished using them does the most to keep them clean and long-lived. After a good dig, you should stand the spade out to dry in the sun. If the weather won’t oblige, wipe the handle dry and use an old butter knife to scrape mud from the prongs and shaft. Keep up god habits by storing tools in a dry place.

Oiling wood handles at the start and finish of each summer helps prevent splitting. Rub on linseed oil then wipe away any excess with a dry rag.

How to keep blades sharp

Get sap residue off the blades of any cutting tool by regularly spraying a light cleaner/lubricant (WD-40 for example) on the working parts. Wipe off excess with a cloth. For a more thorough oiling, liberally sprinkle oil on an old rag then use this to coat the blades. Be aware of your tool’s sharpness at all times!

To oil with safety, sit down at a table. Partly open the shears and lay them flat in front of you. Then with one hand steadying the tool, use the other to move the rag over the blades.