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Getting into the habit of regularly maintaining your garden tools can ensure that you are adequately equipped for the job at hand, extending the life of your tools and saving you money in the long run.

Dull blades, rust, dirt and wear are an inevitable part of owning tools, however with some simple fixes and handy tips, you can keep on top of cleaning, maintenance and storage.

  • Ensure that your power tools are disconnected, then use a stiff dry scrubbing brush or wire wool to remove any soil, sap or dirt from the handle, blade or body.
  • When extra muddy, give your tools a good hose or pressure wash to remove the bulk of the residue, then lightly wash in warm water and washing up liquid. Ensure you dry wooden handles thoroughly before allowing to air.
  • Remove rust from your garden hand tools by soaking in vinegar, rubbing with a cut lemon or scrubbing with baking soda. Wear gloves and use a wire brush and firm circular motions to break up and remove any rust.
  • Disinfect blades to prevent the spread of garden bacteria and disease. Wearing gloves, use a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol, a disinfectant wipe or soak the tools in a bucket of 4 parts water to 1 part household cleaning solution. Leave for the required time before rinsing and wiping down to air dry.
  • Apply a little general purpose lubricant or oil to blades and joints of pruners, shears and secateurs, to help prevent rusting and keep your tools mobile. Wipe away any residue before applying a second coat.
  • Tighten up any loose handles, bolts and screws with a screwdriver kit, inspecting any integral parts that may need to be replaced such as springs.
  • Keep blades sharp. Dull blades can do more harm than good, so a good sharpen with a metal file or sharpening tool is essential for hoes, shovels and spades. Use a vice clamp to secure the tool in place and ensure damaged blades are replaced to prevent injuries.
  • Every season gently rub down wooden handles with sand paper then using a rag or small brush, season with linseed oil to help prevent breakage and splitting.
  • Keep a box of small repair tools, cleaning supplies, brushes, oils, old rags and a blade sharpening file to hand in your workshop or shed.
  • Store hand tools in a clean and dry toolbox. Hang power tools and larger garden apparatus such as your lawn mower, leaf blower, trimmer and hedge cutter on a wall mounted storage rack.
  • Always ensure you allow wet tools to thorough dry before placing them back in your workshop or shed. This will help prevent rust and rot for a longer working life.

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