Learning how to clean garden tools is easy.
Regular cleaning in warm soapy water can keep garden tools looking presentable, but it will not always be sufficient enough to rid the tools of infuriating tree sap and rust.
And so, harsh chemicals like paint thinner, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide are occasionally necessary.
This guide focuses on how to clean metal garden tools. Most garden tools clean the same way and can stay perfectly functional for years if you keep up with it.
Garden tools can be extremely helpful with tending a garden if you know how to use them.
There is a lot of information out there on garden tools, and as a gardener, you should learn as much as you can before buying a new set of tools. Our Complete List of Garden Tools has everything someone would need to know on the correct way to use certain garden tools.
How to Clean Metal Garden Tools
Find yourself the best garden tools and then follow these instructions for cleaning.
Proper upkeep of the garden will ensure that its plants will grow to their fullest potential, and nothing will hinder them from thriving.
If a pair of pruning shears builds up too much residue and plant debris in-between its blades, pruning will become exceedingly difficult, so it is best to keep them clean.
It is also possible to avoid excessive cleaning by simply wiping off the blades after each use.
You can apply this cleaning method to other metal garden tools, as well.
For deep cleaning, you will need these items:
- Dish soap
- Stiff brush
- Steel wool
- Lubricant oil spray
- Towel for drying
After gathering the required objects, follow these instructions for cleaning. Be careful not to miss any steps because each is important.
1. Scrub Off Dirt and Sap
Over time, sap, dirt, and other debris from plants get stuck to the blades of pruning shears. The buildup is unavoidable but can easily scrub off with the right cleaning technique.
Take two teaspoons of dish soap and use a stiff brush along with warm water to scrub off as much sap and dirt as possible. After, rinse the blades well double-check that all the dirt is gone.
2. Buff Out Rust Spots
A good pair of pruning shears will not develop rust spots, but it does happen because of the natural forces in the environment.
Make sure that when you buy a pair of pruning shears, they are high-quality stainless steel. Steel is the best material for tools since it prevents rust the best compared to other types of metal.
Use steel wool to get rid of rust spots. Scrub the rust spots on the blades directly and then immediately continue to the next step.
Be careful when using steel wool. Be especially careful when scrubbing close to the edge of the blade. Do not dull the sharpened edge or let the wool pad slip off and cause you to get cut.
In a small bucket, mix water with one teaspoon of bleach. Place the pruning shears in the solution immediately after eradicating rust spots.
Let the shears sit for about three minutes and then remove them from the bucket. At this point, there is the option to rinse, but it is not necessary.
Use a soft, microfiber towel to dry the shears. There should be no water droplets left on the blades or handles. Water leads to rust, especially without proper storage.
Use the lubricant oil to spray the shears lightly. The oil will also help with preventing rust and help the blades to glide while pruning.
General Garden Tool Maintenance Tips
The number one maintenance tip is to remove all remnants of dirt each time after using your tools.
Dirt cakes on fast with gardening tools, and it will not hurt them, but over time, you can expect rust spots and other problems to come about. Each time using a gardening tool, be sure to remove all dirt afterward by using a scrub brush.
Another way to take care of your garden tools is to use paint thinner to remove sap.
Sap from plants is sticky and does not come off as carelessly as dirt and other plant matter, so more extensive cleaning methods are necessary.
Of course, most of the sap should come off if you followed the cleaning steps shown above, but if it did not, paint thinner could be the last resort.
If paint thinner is the only option, be very careful since it is toxic and flammable. WikiHow has some basic information on disinfecting garden tools, and instructions for using harsh chemicals like paint thinner, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide on garden tools.
Remember to use industrial-strength gloves and follow chemical instructions carefully.
After cleaning, hang up the garden tools.
Go to your nearest hardware store and pick up some cheap metal hooks to place in a garage or tool shed. You can then hang garden tools on these hooks to keep them nice.
If any moisture remains on the tools after cleaning, the tools will have the chance to finish drying. The new setup will also prevent scratches and damage that usually happen as a cause of throwing tools together in a bag.
Why Should You Learn How to Clean Garden Tools?
Garden tools can be dangerous. Dull blades are one of the biggest causes of injury.
For example, when pruning shear blades become dull, rusted, or hard to close, they require the gardener to apply significantly more pressure while trimming branches.
The gardener’s hands are then more likely to slip, and that is when an injury would occur.
As you can see, cleaning your garden tools is the only solution to minimizing the possibility of injury.
Clean blades are also kinder to plants since they cut smoothly and do not cause any unnecessary tearing.
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