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How to Clean Garden Tools

By Lauren Wise ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 Will Need

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