How to Sanitize Garden Equipment


Santizing garden equipment is an important part of regular maintenance, just as important as sharpening and oiling your tools. Not only does sanitizing remove dirt and grime that can build up and affect the performace of your garden tools, especially those with moving parts like shears, but it also stops the spread of bacteria and diseases between plants. For many tools, like shovels and hoes, sanitizing once per season is sufficient, but sanitize those used to cut or clip plants after each use.

Step 1

Spray each tool with water, removing as much dirt and debris as possible.

Step 2

Scrub the tool with a scrub brush to remove any remaining dirt, as needed.

Step 3

Measure 1 1/2 cups of bleach into a 1.25 gallon bucket or 7 1/2 cups of bleach into a 5-gallon bucket.

Step 4

Fill the remainder of the bucket with water, stopping three to four inches from the top. Leave enough room to submerge the tools in the bucket without it overflowing.

Step 5

Stir the bleach and water, mixing it well.

Step 6

Place the tools in the bleach and water mixture. Wait at least 30 seconds to give the bleach plenty of time to kill any bacteria on the tools.

Step 7

Remove the tools from the bleach and water mixture.

Step 8

Dry each tool thoroughly with a towel to avoid rust. Tools are now ready for any additional necessary maintenance, such as sharpening or oiling.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't let the tools drip dry since it could cause rust. Dry the tools as much as possible, and set them in the sun if any additional drying is necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrub brush
  • Bleach
  • Bucket
  • Towel


  • Montana State University Extension: Hand Tool Care
  • University of Missouri Extension: Prevent Garden Problems Before They Start
Keywords: sanitize garden equipment, sanitize garden tools, clean garden tools

About this Author

Carlye Jones is a journalist, freelance writer, photographer and novelist, with more than 15 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, interior decorating, photography, gardening and traveling. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites, such as Matador Travel. Carlye received her training at Northern Arizona University.