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Garden tool maintenance tips

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A regular maintenance routine is important to keep your garden tools in good working order and extend their life.

The first thing to remember is to keep tools clean and dry to prevent rust. Rinse off loose dirt after each use and store in a dry, ventilated space. Use dish soap for hard-to-remove dirt.

Occasionally give your tools a deep clean by soaking in a 10 percent bleach and water solution for 30 minutes. Tree sap can cause rust on metal tools so remove it with turpentine.

Remove any rust buildup by soaking the tool overnight in a half vinegar, half water bath then scrub off loosened rust. You can also purchase a commercial rust remover, be sure to read the instructions carefully.

Maintain any wooden tool handles with a light rubbing of linseed oil. It’s best to do this in the fall since linseed oil will take a while to dry.

Taking care of garden tools will not only ensure their long life, it will also prevent the spreading of plant disease. Dirty gardening tools can spread disease from an infected plant to a healthy one.

Garden tools designed for cutting need an occasional sharpening. Start by wiping the blade with WD40 or another lubricant. Most blades can be filed with a flat file held at a 20 to 45 degree angle. For a finer sharper edge, use a whetstone.

Visit your local TIMBER MART for gardening tools and supplies for your outdoor maintenance needs.

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