Richard Hentschel is a Master Gardener here in Illiniois. He comes with a vast knowledge and experience.
Spring-clean your toolsNo doubt you meant to do this last fall before you put your garden tools away, but it’s not too late. Wash shovels, hoes and other tools with a strong stream of water to remove caked-on dirt, then dry, advises the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach service. Wipe the metal surfaces with an oily rag or spray with a rust preventative such as WD-40. Next, sand the wooden handles and wipe them with linseed oil to prevent drying and cracking. That will also make them more comfortable to use. Take hoes, spades, shovels and pruners to be sharpened — it will make a difference in the amount of effort required to use them. Many hardware stores or tool shops will sharpen tools, and you can treat yourself to a fresh pair of gardening gloves. Don’t forget to sanitize your pruners in between plants to prevent the spread of disease. The easiest way is to dip them in ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, available at most drugstores. No prolonged soaking is needed, the extension service notes.
Most garden tools will last a lifetime if you clean and maintain them properly. Here Dan of Dan Cooper Garden shows how to clean, sharpen and maintain garden tools, secateurs and pruning shears. He'll show you what cleaning materials or tools you need and how to use common household cleaners if you don't have the specialist gear.
Garden Gate Magazine, April 2024, p. 64 shares an answer to this question. Question: I left my favorite spade outside over winter and now it is covered in rust. Any tops to clean it without using strong chemicals or excessive elbow grease? Pat Alvarez Their response was: Most of the rust should be able to be removed following these steps: 1. Start by removing loose dirt and rust with a wire brush 2. Wrap the blade snugly in an old towel , soak it with white vinegar (any strength will work), slip everything into a plastic bag and tie it shut. Soak up to 24 hours. 3. Remove the tool and scour the surface with a stiff brush or coarse steel wool. If necessary, repeat the process, once you're done with the vinegar you an pour it down the drain. 4. Prevent future rust by rubbing on a coat of vegetable oil.
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