Cleaning and Care of Garden Tools

Cleaning and Care of Garden ToolsHow to Properly Clean and Care for Your Garden Tools

I love gardening, but just like all of my other hobbies and chores, there is clean-up involved.  Garden tools can be expensive, so taking care of them is important.  Cleaning and care of garden tools will make them last longer and make gardening more enjoyable the next time you pull them out to use them. Here are the techniques we use here on Mama’s Homestead to keep our garden tools clean and in good repair.

Wash Garden Tools After Every Use- 

After digging on the garden, pruning trees, chopping wood, or raking leaves, wash your tools with a garden hose, using a hose nozzle set on high pressure. If necessary, use dish soap and a stiff brush to remove the remaining dirt and debris. Dry your tools using an old soft terry cloth towel or cotton cloth.  If you have a tool you have used to trim trees/branches, check for sap or resin. This can be removed using a little paint or lacquer thinner on a soft cloth.  

Protect Your Garden Tools After Every Use-

After your tools are dry, they need to be protected. Oxygen is your enemy and causes rust. By coating your tools with oil, you put a barrier of protection between the metal and the air, avoiding rust.

For our digging tools, we fill a bucket with sand moistened is with strained, used motor oil. We then dip our shovels, axes, rakes, pitch forks, trowels, etc. into the oily sand before putting them away. Wipe wooden handles with linseed or walnut oil to keep them from drying out, splitting, or rotting.

As for hinged tools, such as loppers, hedge shears, and pruning shears. After you are finished cleaning them, the hinges need to be lubricated. We use a  spray lubricant, such as 3 in 1 Multi-Purpose Oil,  WD40 Multi-Use Product Spray or WD40 Specialist Water Resistant Lubricant Spray. Spray directly into the hinge and wipe off excess.

Keep Your Garden Tools In Good Repair-

Do regular maintenance on your tools by checking to see if they need any repairs. Tighten bolts, screws, and hinges as needed, being careful not to over-tighten. If a wooden handle gets broken, replace it as soon as possible. Sand splinters and rough spots off wooden handles with a medium grit sandpaper and re-oil. Sharpen tools at least once per year.  

Store Your Garden Tools In a Clean Dry Place-

Always put your tools away clean and dry. Store them in a place where they are up off the ground and not able to get wet. We hang ours on pegs or hooks on the wall. The organizer in me has a certain place for each tool, so they are easy to find next time you are ready to use them.

Did I miss anything? How do you care for your garden tools?

About Nelle

I am Nelle. I grew up in rural, small town, Ohio. When I was young, I learned a lot about homesteading from my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, 4-H, FFA, and others around me.
Now, I’m all grown up, have 6 children of my own, and plan to teach them everything I know.

Here on Mama’s Homestead, we talk and write about homesteading, homeschooling, and kidsteading (homesteading with kids). We teach our kids about survival, self-sufficiency, gardening (vegetable, herb, flower), orchard, beekeeping, home keeping, soap making, harvesting, cooking, food preservation, livestock, nature, crafts, homesteading tools and wares, and more…

Welcome to my homestead…come and learn with us!


  1. Thank you. It really helpful. Especially in the winter. When I put my tools in the store. It should be clean in the right way.

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