- 1). Clean tools well, ideally every time they are used or when they look dirty. Disease, insect eggs, weed seeds and fungi can cling to tools and infect plants in the garden without regular cleaning. Wash down using the highest pressure spray from a garden hose.
- 2). Scrub stubborn dirt with a wire brush, especially on those tools that come in contact with soil. Rinse and dry with a cotton rag.
- 3). Remove rust with steel wool and then coat the area with a spray lubricant to protect tools.
- 4). Check the shank of hoes and shovels. This is where the wooden handle connects to the metal part. Plant matter and soil can get stuck down in the crevices and become a disease incubator.
- 5). Wash bladed tools used to cut, chop and prune with water and wipe dry with a cloth. Stubborn sap is removed by wiping with paint thinner or turpentine on a cloth. Wash off and dry well.
- 6). Sharpen tools when needed, using a hand file or honing stone. Sharpen shovels and hoes at a 45-degree angle by pushing the file from edge to edge in the same direction until desired sharpness is achieved. Slide blades of pruning shears and axes over the flat surface of the honing stone in one direction only.
- 1). Clean tools off well and dry.
- 2). Sand metal parts with steel wool all over to ensure there is no rust or rough spots.
- 3). Spray with a lubricant to keep them from rusting over the winter when they are not being used. Apply a thin coat of 2 parts motor oil and 1 part kerosene to the metal parts of the tools to prevent from rusting.
- 4). Sand wooden parts of tools to make them smooth and prevent splintering. Wipe the handles down with linseed oil on a rag.