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How to Clean Gardening Tools with Rubbing Alcohol

By Lauren Wise ; Updated September 21, 2017

Gardening tools are often used to remove dead, diseased and rotting plants and foliage throughout your landscape. Gardeners don't always consider the fact that this harmful bacteria will be transferred to their gardening tools and needs to be removed so it doesn't transfer to healthy plants. It is ideal to sanitize your gardening tools after or before each use. There are many sanitizers that you can use to do this, but rubbing alcohol is something that almost everyone has around. And when you use alcohol, you don't have to bother with other ingredients.

Gather all the gardening tools that you need to clean and sanitize. Remove dirt and debris prior to sanitizing your tools. Have a sink or bucket large and deep enough to fit the tools you are trying to sanitize. If possible, make sure there is room for the handles as well.

Pour rubbing alcohol that is at least 70-percent pure into your bucket or sink, filling it high enough that your gardening tools can sit in it and soak. This means you should fill the entire container, so you may need a lot of rubbing alcohol to sanitize all your tools. Do not add water or other cleaning products.

Place your gardening tools into the container one at a time to ensure proper sanitization. Let each tool sit in the mixture for at least one minute to ensure that it is disinfected properly.

Remove your tools, and wipe down the blades and handles with a clean rag soaked in rubbing alcohol. Do not use water.

Drain or pour out the used rubbing alcohol solution, then refill up the bucket or sink with fresh rubbing alcohol after every fifth tool. This ensures that the rubbing alcohol you are using is pure enough to actually sanitize more tools.


Things You Will Need

  • Rubbing alcohol (70 percent or above)
  • Bucket
  • Rags
  • Clean towel