Garden Tool Maintenance


Once you have chosen the right tools for your gardening tasks, keep them working well and prolong their life by taking good care of them.

  • Make sure that you wipe or scrape off all soil and mud, grass clippings and plant sap from any tools you have used with a damp soft rag.
  • Wipe all tool handles with a damp cloth and finish off with a dry rag.
  • If sap or clippings have dried onto garden knives, secateur blades or shears, use an oily rag or pan scourer to loosen and remove the debris.
  • Prevent tools from rusting by oiling them when necessary. Store spade blades and fork tines into a bucket of oily sand and use an oily rag to wipe over all ordinary metal parts of your other tools. Stainless steel tools do not need oiling; simply wipe them with a damp cloth and dry with another.
  • Make sure that all bladed tools are closed before storing, securing them with the safety catch if they have one.
  • Periodically tighten the blade tension of shears; this will make them cut more efficiently and produce a better finish.
  • Keep blades sharp using a sharpening stone. Although most tools are easy to sharpen, you can also take them to a garden machinery shop or send them back to the manufacturer for re-sharpening. Replace blades that are badly blunted or damaged.
  • Store hand tools on a dry surface; tools left on floors may become damp, which will cause them to rust. Use a hessian tool bag, trug, basket or builder's bucket.
  • Consider hanging larger tools such as hoes and rakes from tool hooks; this will keep them up off ground, freeing up floor space and preventing them from becoming damp.