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How to Clean Garden Tools

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How to Clean Garden Tools

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It is important for any gardener or landscaper to keep her tools clean and working well. It saves time and money in the long run, and is a simple task that only requires a couple of minutes of your time after gardening. Make a habit of cleaning your tools after every use before storing them.

Step 1

Wash off any caked-on dirt, mulch or clay from any of the gardening tools. You may need to use a high-pressure setting on your hose nozzle, and also use a putty knife for dried-on debris.

Step 2

Use a stiff bristle brush to finish scrubbing off any fine bits of debris or dirt from gardening tools. Continue scrubbing them until they are clean.

Step 3

Dip an old cloth in paint thinner, and rub it over any blades of gardening tools to remove sap, plant membranes and pitch.

Step 4

Dip a separate rag in oil (such as WD40) and thoroughly work it over all the tools to prevent rust and help them work at optimum potential. Wipe them dry with a second cloth. This should be done on all supplies that contain metal, such as shovels, pruners, trowels and rakes.

Step 5

Make sure to store your gardening tools off the ground. Hang them from hooks, keep them in tool boxes, or lean them against the wall in an out-of-the-way area. Always store sharp equipment safely, with blades covered or facing toward the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • High-pressure hose
  • Putty knife
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Paint thinner
  • Several cloths or rags
  • Oil


  • Cleaning Garden Tools
  • Tips for Cleaning Tools
  • Garden Tool Care
Keywords: gardening supplies, garden tool care, cleaning tools

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.