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How to Clean and Sharpen your Garden Tools

Your garden will soon start requiring regular attention, so make sure your garden tools are sharp and up to the task.


Keeping your garden looking good requires different gardening tools to ensure that plants, shrubs and trees are at their best. For this, we need to know that garden tools work as they are supposed to. Blunt tools can damage delicate branches and stems and could result in the spread of disease or infection, so it is important to make sure that your tools are clean and sharp.

Annual maintenance of all your garden tools will also extend the life of your tools, so we have put together an informative guide to keeping all your gardening tools sharp and ready for use.

Annual Checkup

When your gardening tools are kept clean and free from rust, this will reduce the spread of disease or infection of healthy plants. Even everyday dirt may harbor bacteria and fungi spores, and you don't want to spread this around your garden. A regular cleaning and disinfecting of tools should be done.






Rags or old towels

Mild dishwashing liquid

Sponge and fine steel wool

Sanding sponge - coarse, fine and medium

Scrubbing brush and wire brush







How to clean garden tools

Gather together all your garden tools and go through the steps listed below:



1. Use a garden hosepipe to loosen and wash away dirt and grime.

2. Any remaining dirt can be scrubbed off with a scrubbing brush and dishwashing liquid.

3. Rinse clean and dry with an old towel or rag.

4. Treat any signs of rust with a rust remover and steel wool or a coarse sanding sponge. Stubborn rust can be removed with a steel brush.

5. To sanitize garden tools, wipe them down with rubbing alcohol.





How to sharpen garden tools

If your garden tools are blunt, especially shears and secateurs, use the tips below to sharpen. For sharpening tools you can use a specialist sharpening kit, a Dremel Multitool and grinding stone attachments, or a diamond file.

- Secateurs, Pruning Shear, Knives, Hatchet or Axe

Working from the inside out to the end of the blade, hold the Dremel Multitool and sharpening attachment at a 25- to 30-degree angle. Once you're done, wipe down with WD-40 to protect the blades.

- Lawnmower Blades

Remove the spark plug from the mower and then unscrew the lawnmower blade. Place in a vice (or clamp securely). Spray with WD-40 or cutting oil. Only use a sharpening tool in one direction: from inside of the blade toward the outside.

- Garden Spade and Shovel

Clean off any dirt and rust and then secure with a clamp or in a vice. Hold the file or Dremel Multitool at a 30-degree angle to sharpen the edges. Only sharpen one side of the blade.

- Chain Saw

A chain saw has several saw teeth that blunt over time. These cutting edges can be quickly sharpened with a Dremel Multitool and chain saw attachment, or a round file. Keep in mind that any sharpening of the cutting edges should alternate from left to right in order to keep the chainsaw cutting straight.





Care and maintenance of garden tools

Establish a routine where your garden tools are thoroughly cleaned before storing for winter, and sharpened at the beginning of every spring. Spending a few minutes to care for your gardening tools will extend their lifespan and save you money on having to buy new tools.

- Storing garden tools

Have a dry place to store your tools when not in use. If the tools are wet or dirty after working in the garden, clean and wipe them down before storing.

- Preventing rust

While keeping tools dry will help prevent the formation of rust, wiping with WD-40, linseed or Tung oil after each use will protect tools and further reduce the chance of rust. You can also use a wood oil on wooden handles to condition the wood and prevent splitting or cracking.

- Handle with care

Many users tend to handle gardening tools with little or no care. It is easy to damage the blade when tools are tossed aside. Replacing damaged garden tools is expensive, so organise and care for your gardening tools just like you do with your power tools.

By putting the above guidelines into use, you won't need to replace your garden tools if you look after them and your tools should last for many years. This article is adapted from the original article by



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