Winter Garden Tools Cleaning

Preserving Your Garden Tools

Winter Garden Tools Cleaning-garden-tools
Basic garden tools

The winter months are finally here and what that means is a slowing down from working outdoors but this time of the year provides us a chance to focus on our garden tools as we give them that much-needed cleaning and rest from working hard during the spring, summer and fall months.

While we should not wait until the winter months however to give our garden tools some spring cleaning we should make the extra effort to clean them frequently which will prolong their life. Garden tools can be pretty costly therefore we should do all that we can to protect our investment so we can complete those garden tasks without a hassle once the warm season arrives.

Safety First

Before attempting to clean garden tools ensure your wearing your safety gear, safety gare such as a dusk mask, eye protection, and gloves is so important.

How to Clean Garden Tools?

Gather all of your garden tools and lay them on a large tarp, with a hose that has an attachment set to jet-speed, begin to wash your tools. The high-pressure stream of water that comes out of the nozzle should be strong enough to remove dirt that’s caked up, if needed a putty knife will be useful in helping to also remove the dirt. A bristle brush may help as well.

Rust that has set on any tool can be removed with steel wool also known as iron wool, wire sponge, or wire wool which is a bundle of very fine flexible sharp-edged steel filaments that is effective in rust removal.

Once your garden tools are completely cleaned you have the options of letting them air dry or drying them with a piece of clean cloth. If drying tools with a piece of cloth be careful when drying the blades not to cut your hand

Sharpening Tool Blades

A metal file can be used to sharpen the tool’s blade, when sharpening the blades, lightly move the metal file along the edges of the tool, the purpose for light movements is not to remove too much of the metal but to smooth jagged edges, the end results should be a blade that’s clean and sharp.

Tools with Wooden Handles

As strange as this may sound even the tool’s handle needs some tender loving care, tool handles that have splinters or minor scrapes that feel coarse or gritty can be smoothened out with medium-grit sandpaper.

Tool Lubrication

To prevent rust and for a clean polished finished the use of boiled linseed oil, lamp oil, motor oil or tung oil is ideal for helping your tools to once again regain their shine and glow.

How to Keep Garden Tools in Good Condition?

You have invested so much in your garden tools and what you want is for them to last a long time being in the best condition ever therefore we have put together this shortlist of preventive measures that will help your garden tools to last a long time which can save your hard-earned dollars.

  • As much as possible wash off your garden tools after every use, this washing off garden tools will ensure less dirt buildup
  • Once tools are wash leave dry them with a piece of clean cloth and leave them out in the sun to further dry
  • After your tools have completely dried oil the blades including shovels with oil as mentioned above
  • The last step is to hang your tools up which will give a more organized appearance. Leaving them lying around can cause injuries if someone slips or trips over them. The tools handle can also be damaged or even broken if stepped on

A Bonus Tip just for You

To prevent your garden tools from rusting add a small amount of motor oil to a bucket of sand until the sand changes slightly in color followed by inserting the blades of your tools in the sand which will prevent rusting. If You’re storing tools that are used in a vegetable or edible garden then avoid the use of motor oil which may contaminate the soil but use rather linseed oil or WD-40.

Gas Powdered and Electric Tools

For gas powdered and electric tool maintenance may require more in-depth knowledge, refer to the manufactures or owners Manuel for care and maintenance of these types of tools.

The final word on winter garden tools cleaning

Cleaning your garden tools is that simple, these simple steps are so effective and will help in saving your hard-earned dollars. Garden tools can get those jobs done making that garden project a lot easier but in order for this to happen our garden tools must be in good repair so go for it and give your garden tools that much deserved cleaning and see the wonders this small action will make-making a big difference that will make your time spent in the garden more enjoyable.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

6 thoughts on “Winter Garden Tools Cleaning”

  1. This is a great blog full of great ideas.  I wouldn’t have thought to spray down the tools with a jet-powered water stream or to use steel wool to remove rust.  I would have considered the rusted tools to be ruined and thrown them out!  I’m also intrigued by the bucket of oiled sand trick.  What proportions would you recommend?  How much oil to how much sand?

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, I am so happy to help. Taking care of our garden tools should be at the top of our list because these tools can be pretty pricey and they can make our job so much easier as long as they are in good repair.

      As discussed in the post a bucket of sand with a small amount of oil until the sand becomes slightly colored is sufficient to get the job done. I am so glad to help.https://gardenofedengardencent

  2. I have never taken the time to carefully clean my gardening tools before. You are correct. They are an investment that needs protecting. We can save a lot of money in the long run by cleaning the tools we have instead of finding them in the spring damaged or rusted up from lack of care. I’m going to use this advice and oil my tools before putting them away for the winter! Thanks so much for these tips!

    • Garden tools make our job so easy therefore we should do all that we can to ensure they are always in working order. Thanks so much for stopping by and I am so happy to help.

  3. What a refreshing website and post! I actually felt like I was moving into a garden setting with the colors, the subject of winter garden tools cleaning…

    Lots of great advice you offer, and I have made some notes as I get ready to do the maintenance that you recommend. It sure does make sense to do this, much cheaper and saving the environment because no need to buy replacement tools.

    I have a lot of tools that are in need of some attention too. It seems you never can have enough, and over the years, I have accumulated quite an inventory.

    Inserting the blades of tools into some sand that has some oil is a great tip that I will try. What I have experienced i the past is that my blades take a beating with the weather and temperatures (I store them in an unheated garden shed so dampness often results in rusting).

    Thanks for this article on the winter maintenance of garden tools, it really was helpful (and I really enjoy your website in general, good job!)… 


    • Garden tools will last us a long time but we must take care of them in order for them to take care of our work in the garden. I am so happy to help and thanks so much for your kind words. Wishing you success as you implement these garden tips.


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