Bob Vila Radio: Prepare Your Garden Tools for the Off-Season

The cold season has begun in many parts of the country. If you're don't plan on using your garden tools again until spring, give them a thorough cleaning prior to putting them temporarily out of service. Here's how.

Once you’ve put your garden to bed for the winter, why not clean your garden tools before storing them away? TLC starts with laying all your hand tools out on the lawn and hosing them down with a high-pressure spray nozzle.

How to Clean Garden Tools


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Listen to BOB VILA ON WINTER TOOL STORAGE or read the text below:

You may need to use soapy water in combination with a bristle brush in order to dislodge dirt that’s caked on. It’s important to get it all off, since dirt soaks up moisture and promotes rust. Dirt also harbors pests that could infect next year’s garden.

Air-drying is fine, but a cloth can speed the process. As you dry the tools, remove any rust you encounter using either sandpaper or a stiff brush.

Sharpening is next. Use a hand file, working in one direction, to create a beveled edge. If you’d rather not do the sharpening yourself, check with your local hardware store. Lots of stores offer that service.

Finally, apply a light coat of oil to the tools, including an extra drop or two on the hinges of clippers. And don’t neglect the handles: A little linseed oil will keep them from drying out and splitting.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 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.