Everyone always talks about proper garden maintenance, but no one really discusses how to care for the tools you use in your garden.
As the gardening season starts to wrap up, you’re probably getting ready to throw your tools into storage. But don’t just leave them encrusted with dirt.
To preserve the quality and longevity of your gardening tools and prevent the spread of plant disease, it’s important that your equipment stay clean.
Soil can contain bacteria, fungi, and pests that are harmful to you or your plants. By removing any trace of dirt, you’re disinfecting your tools and keeping your plants healthy. If you take good care of your tools, you also won’t have to keep spending the money to buy new ones when they eventually rust due to neglect.
After working all day in your garden, the last thing you probably want to do is take the time to wipe down your trowels and shovels. Luckily, there’s a quick and easy way of keeping your equipment shiny and free from rust. It’s simple to incorporate into your routine. Pretty soon, you won’t even bat an eye at the prospect of cleaning your tools!
This old-school approach to cleaning your tools is called the sand and oil method. All you need to do is combine sand and motor oil in a large bucket, then dip your tools in and out of the mixture until they’re clean.
You could also use mineral oil, baby oil, or vegetable oil. Be careful with vegetable oil, though, because it may rot your tools. If you use your tools to dig around plants you will be eating, consider using food-grade mineral oil.
With the sand and oil method, the coarse sand acts as an abrasive, scraping away at any dirt particles, rust, or sap stuck on the metal. It also helps sharpen the edges, making the tools more efficient.
To remove leftover sand, tap the gardening tool on the side of the bucket. While the sand cleans and sharpens, the oil works as a protectant, preventing the metal from rusting.