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How to clean your garden tools

Gardening can make a big mess. It’s important to clean up so your tools last for many years. Here’s how to clean your garden tools!

I absolutely love gardening. I like working in the yard and I love planting house plants. Part of the fun of gardening is getting dirty. But, you don’t want your tools to be staying to dirty for too long.

Today I want to talk about cleaning your garden tools. It’s not as fun as planting plants, but it can be very satisfying.

If you want your tools to last for many years, take care of them!

how to clean garden tools

Why should you clean your garden tools?

Gardening tools are an essential part of getting yard work done and you want to keep them in the best possible shape so they will last and work for a long time.

Whether you have a shovel for digging holes or pruning shears for cutting back the bushes, it’s super important to keep them clean and in good working order.

Clean tools are more likely to stay sharp and rust free.

Dirty tools are more likely to spread diseases between plants. Dirty tools can also lead to cross-contamination with fungus is and outdoor pests.

So, it’s important to clean your garden tools periodically.

Digging hole for tree in clay soil

How often should you clean your garden tools?

Ideally, you should wipe off your garden tools after every use. I’m not saying that you need to deep clean, just wipe off anything wet that could lead to rust and shake off any major dirt. This simple step will really help you be able to go much longer in between deep cleans.

Personally, I like to deep clean my garden tools once a year at the start of the season. If you live somewhere that gets very cold where you put your tools away, you may prefer to clean them at the end of the season before packing them up.

You also want to clean your garden tools anytime you do anything particularly messy or work with any plants that may be affected by a disease.

dirty garden tools

How do you clean your garden tools?

One of the easiest ways to disinfect your garden tools is to dip them in bleach. Typically you would use a bucket with one part bleach, nine parts water add dip, any metal or dirty parts of the tools in there. Then, you can dry them with a rag.

For a quick clean, you can easily wipe down blades or sheers with a clorox wipe (or similar disinfectant). Just be sure it completely dries before using it on plants.

Can gardening gloves be washed?

Check the tag, but gardening gloves are almost always washable. I throw mine in the washing machine with towels or something similar.

If they have velcro, be sure that it is fastened to keep it from snagging anything!

digz gardening gloves

How to clean garden tools

Here is an in-depth look at how to deep clean your gardening tools!

Equipment needed to clean garden tools:

  • Plastic scraper or a putty knife
  • Steel wool or a stiff wire brush
  • Old rags
  • Bucket
  • Garden hose
dirty garden tools

Materials needed to clean garden tools:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Bleach
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • WD-40

Steps to clean your garden tools

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to clean your garden tools properly.

spraying down garden tools

STEP 1: Wash away the soil

Star by rinsing off your tools. Just use your hose or a sink to get the dirt off. Remember, you don’t want a bunch of dirt going down the drain, it will clog – ask me how I know!

A putty knife can come in handy for scraping off and he really stuck on dirt

scraping shovel

STEP 2: Soak your tools

Stubborn stains? Fill a bucket with warm water and a squirt of dishwashing soap. Add each tool to the bucket and let them soak for about 15 minutes.

Note: it’s important to rinse off dirty tools first or the water will get really muddy really fast!

STEP 3: Rinse and dry

After the soak, pull out your tools. Rinse off any soap and dry with a rag.

drying shovel

STEP 4: Check for rust

Inspect your tools as you dry them. If they are rusted, scrub it with a stiff wire brush. Vegetable oil can be used to loosen up stubborn rust!

STEP 5: Disinfect

Last but not least, before storing your tools away, you need to disinfect them so you can kill off any fungus or bacteria.

Take two cups of bleach and a gallon of water and put them in a bucket. Submerge the tools in the mixture and let them sit for 10 minutes.

rinsing shovel

Finally, rinse them well and completely dry them off.

Now that your tools are deep cleaned, do your best to clean them up as you go and plan to deep clean them once a year moving forward!

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