How to keep garden tools clean & rust-free

Posted May 3, 2022
How to keep garden tools clean & rust-free Image

Taking care of your garden tools keeps them in good working order and helps them last longer. It’s as easy as adding a few steps to your regular maintenance routine to protect tools from rust.

Preventing rust

Pressure rinse digging tools after use with your garden hose: If your tools have caked-on dirt, wash them with soap and water. Use a putty knife to scrape off the really stuck on bits.  

Remove any sap or sticky residue: Rubbing alcohol should do the trick. Press a cotton ball or cloth dipped in alcohol against the sap and hold it there for a couple of minutes. Then rub gently in a circular motion, and rinse with soap and water. 

Wash shears and pruners: Scrub with a nail brush or sponge and soapy water, then rinse. 

Protect metal digging tools: Plunge the blade into sand mixed with a plant-based oil, such as linseed or tung oil, a few times. The oil helps protect the metal surface from corroding. Make sure the sand is damp, but not wet.  

Dry your tools: Use a towel or multifibre cloth to thoroughly dry your tools. Store tools in a dry shed or garage: Small hand tools can be stored in a bucket of sand or hung on a pegboard. Hang larger tools to prevent blades from dulling.

Removing rust

If you accidentally leave your garden tools outside and they build up rust, try this: 

  1. Soak them in a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water overnight 
  2. Scrub them with soapy water, then rinse 
  3. Let them dry, then rub lightly with mineral oil 

Quality tools make every job easier

Besides proper maintenance, buying quality garden tools can help ensure they last.  Need help finding the right tools for your garden? Have a question about tool maintenance? Our pros are here to help.