Stuart Price
Last Updated

Gardening is hard work. But there’s one thing you should never forget to do, and that’s maintaining your garden tools by keeping them clean and oiled. Here are some tips on how to take care of them so they last longer!

Keep your tools dry when not in use

Rust will develop quickly if moisture remains trapped in the metal parts for long periods. This can be done by storing or hanging the tools out somewhere sheltered but with good airflow, like under a porch or beneath an overhang off the side of a house. A garage might also work well as long as it doesn’t get too hot inside during the summer months due to sunlight exposure through windows or vents, which would cause more moisture problems from the trapped heat.

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Disinfect your tools after using them in the garden

For example, if you use a pitchfork to turn over a pile of decaying mulched leaves in the compost heap, the steel tines might pick up bacteria from whatever is in there and transfer it back into your soil when you use the fork to dig around later. Bacteria can wreak havoc to your plants, after all! To kill the bacteria and sterilize the tools to avoid cross-contamination when using them in a garden ecosystem, dunk or spray a cloth in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water (1:10) over the tool’s metal parts. Rinse with clean water afterwards if you are using the tool soon to work your garden.

Oil all metal parts of each tool after disinfecting them

This will prevent rust from forming on top of whatever sterilizing mixture you used earlier; if you didn’t use a sterilizing mixture, oil the tools anyways because it will make them rust less quickly in general until you have a chance to apply a proper treatment for sterilization.

Use the right tool for the job

Don’t use a trowel to dig deep holes in the soil or a knife to cut tough stalks of dead plants. It’s advisable not to store anything sharp inside your shed, as accidents can happen when you pull out a tool, and it gets in the way of another. If you’re an avid gardener who prefers organic methods, use a weeder instead of a knife so you won’t accidentally cut any living parts of your plants or crops while digging around.

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Maintain wooden handles

Paint them with a rust-resistant wood preservative after sanding off old paint, as this will prevent the wood from rotting away. Make sure to choose a shade of preservative that matches the colour of your tools, and apply it by dipping a cloth into the tin and wiping each handle carefully.

Store your shovels and digging tools at an angle

You can purchase angled garden tool racks that fit into the corner of your shed or garage, or you can use a clever trick to make one yourself.

Clean your tools after use

If you use any chemical fertilizers for your plants, spray them with water first before dumping the leftovers into your compost heap or trash bin outside. This will prevent residues from staying on the tool’s metal parts even when it dries out later because these chemicals can corrode metal over time.

Oil the metal parts of your shovels and digging tools before storage

This will make them easier to pull out next time, and it will prevent rust from forming while they’re stored inside your shed or garage, thus lengthening their lifespan. Apply oil liberally with a cloth or spray the tool’s metal parts down, and leave overnight if possible. By wiping the oil off with a clean cloth or paper towel in the morning, you can make sure to remove any excess and save yourself from accidentally dropping oil all over your garden when you use the tool later.

Lubricate hinges and joints on rakes

This will prevent them from sticking when you try to open the prongs.


We hope these tips have been helpful to you! We want your garden tools to last as long as possible, so please take care of them by following our outlined steps. Maintaining wooden handles with a rust-resistant wood preservative will keep them from rotting away and breaking down faster than usual. Cleaning after use will prevent any chemical fertilizers or other chemicals from staying on metal parts that can corrode over time, and it’ll make sure that you don’t forget anything when storing them in your shed or garage. You may also notice an improvement in how easily they pull out next time if you oiled their metal parts before storage (especially for shovels and digging tools). And finally, never store anything sharp inside your gardening tool shed as accidents may happen when you pull out a tool, and it gets in the way of another.

We hope you now have some idea of how to take care of your garden tools so they last longer! We want them to serve their purpose for many years, so please follow these instructions closely if you want them to stay in good condition.

Sources: (Wood preservatives) (Cleaning garden tools) (Oiling metal parts of shovels and digging tools before storage) (Storing sharp tools in tool shed) (How to oil garden tools) (Lubricating hinges and joints on rakes)

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