Garden Tool Maintenance

Garden Tool Maintenance

Once you have chosen the right tools for your gardening tasks, keep them working well and prolong their life by taking good care of them.

  • Make sure that you wipe or scrape off all soil and mud, grass clippings and plant sap from any tools you have used with a damp soft rag.
  • Wipe all tool handles with a damp cloth and finish off with a dry rag.
  • If sap or clippings have dried onto garden knives, secateur blades or shears, use an oily rag or pan scourer to loosen and remove the debris.
  • Prevent tools from rusting by oiling them when necessary. Store spade blades and fork tines into a bucket of oily sand and use an oily rag to wipe over all ordinary metal parts of your other tools. Stainless steel tools do not need oiling; simply wipe them with a damp cloth and dry with another.
  • Make sure that all bladed tools are closed before storing, securing them with the safety catch if they have one.
  • Periodically tighten the blade tension of shears; this will make them cut more efficiently and produce a better finish.
  • Keep blades sharp using a sharpening stone. Although most tools are easy to sharpen, you can also take them to a garden machinery shop or send them back to the manufacturer for re-sharpening. Replace blades that are badly blunted or damaged.
  • Store hand tools on a dry surface; tools left on floors may become damp, which will cause them to rust. Use a hessian tool bag, trug, basket or builder's bucket.
  • Consider hanging larger tools such as hoes and rakes from tool hooks; this will keep them up off ground, freeing up floor space and preventing them from becoming damp.