Bob Vila Radio: Clean Garden Tools

Consider these suggestions before putting away garden tools after a long day of use.

By Roseann Foley Henry | Updated Jun 25, 2013 6:53 PM

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After a hot day’s work in your garden, you may be tempted to just toss the shovels and tools back into the garage, even if they’re caked with mud, but that’s a bad idea.


Listen to BOB VILA ON CLEANING GARDEN TOOLS or read the text below:



Dirt and moisture can lead to rust and decay, resulting in the premature death of your tools. You should do a major maintenance routine once a year, but how you treat your garden tools on a daily basis has a lot to do with how long they’ll last.

At minimum, turn the hose on your shovel before you put it away, getting off all the dirt and clay that’s stuck to it. Let it stand outside to dry, or wipe it off with a cloth. Don’t put it away wet or you’re inviting rust.

Pruners and other tools that you use on branches and stems should be wiped clean and dried thoroughly before you put them away. A few times during the gardening season, wipe a light coating of mineral oil on blades, and spray a little lubricating oil on hinges and springs.

Never store tools standing on their edges—hang them up or lay them down to keep them in good shape for their next use.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.