How to Sharpen & Clean Garden Tools

Storing and cleaning gardening tools is quite complicated since it requires a series of steps that really takes time. Also, if not done right it can create more damage to your tools. Aside from that, cleaning tools keep it away from fungi insect eggs that could affect your garden.

Here are some steps in cleaning your gardening tools:

For your gardening tools that often have contact with soils like hoes, rakes, spades and trowels:

  1. Hose off the dirt with water.
  2. Adjust the hose nozzle to its maximum pressure to sweep away the dirt.
  3. To remove the heavy clay soil, scrub it with hard bristled brush.
  4. After washing the tools, dry it with a cotton rag before keeping it.


For tools like axes, pruning shears, hedge trimmers and knives that have sharp edges and don’t come in contact with soil:

  1. Wipe down with a cotton cloth with a rough surface, remove the gums and saps in the blade.
  2. Put a small amount of paint thinner on a cloth and wipe the tools with it.
  3. Dry the tools with a clean cloth rag.

Recommended to read: Hand-Held Hedge Trimmers – Buying Guide

One thing that makes the gardening tools long lasting, is applying oil. It makes the tools free of rust and makes it looks new. If you are looking for cheaper oil, motor oil is cheaper and it is effective  in preventing rusts.



If we are too late, and some of our tools already infected with rust, here are some steps of removing the rust:

  1. Identify how thick the rust is. Is it light coated? Heavy coated?
  2. Use the right sand paper for the thickness of the rust. Use an 80-grit sandpaper to remove the upper coating of the rust. For the heavier ones, use a wire brush with stiff brushes.
  3. With ones with badly covered rust, the quickest way is to use electric drill ones a wire brush.
  4. After removing the rust, apply oil to prevent rusting process of the steel.


Sharpening gardening tools is more complicated that removing the rust. Hand files are also one of the best ways to sharpen some tools while others like the shears and knives need a honing stone. Of course, the way of sharpening the tools depends on how dull they are. Some gardeners also use a grinding stone to solve a very dull edge of the tools.

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