When it comes to gardening and looking after your outdoor spaces, most people know that having the right tool for the job is important. However, some people don’t realise how important it is to take proper care of said tools to ensure they always perform at their best.
It’s not uncommon to use a garden tool and then put it back where you found it dirty. Then, when you go to use it again you notice it’s all rusty and dull.
The good news is that with a little care and attention from you, your garden tools can be effective and last you for years to come.
Clean and dry
While it can be tempting to sling a dirty spade back in the shed after you’ve used it, try to resist the temptation. Wash off any dirt using a garden hose and use a small scrubbing brush if it’s caked on. Then use an old towel or rag to dry them thoroughly as this will help to prevent rust (something we’ll go into more depth about later in this article).
Minimise rust risk
Even clean and dry tools are not immune to rust, which is why you need to give them as much of a helping hand as you can. Branded rust blockers work very well on garden tools. Just a few sprays and a wipe down will ensure they have a protective coating designed to minimise rusting. A normal spray oil also works well if you don’t want to fork out on bespoke products.
Once your tools are clean, store them in a dry place. Never leave them outside! Sheds are ideal for this and it’s even better if you have hooks to hang them from to keep them off the ground. This will ensure they are away from any potential moisture. Smaller tools can be stored in a similar way using a board with some loops made out of cable ties.
Blunt tools are not as effective or efficient as their sharp counterparts. That’s why you should try and keep your tools sharp at all times. All you need to do this is a small file and a handheld diamond sharpener. The file should be used on large tools, such as spades, shovels and hoes, and the smaller sharpener should be used on smaller tools, such as pruners, loppers and shears.
A little effort and time will ensure your tools are always ready to tackle the jobs you need them to.