living a well tended life... at any age

101: garden tool care and storage

Full disclosure: I was the WORST when it came to caring for my gardening tools.

And it showed – my beautiful pruners and shears eventually turned stiff, rusty and virtually useless.

When I purchased a new set a number of years ago I made a promise to myself – and my tools – to take proper care. And it’s paid off.

garden-tool-care-and-storage

As I’m getting ready to shut the gardens down for winter, here’s what I do with my gardening gear!

garden-tool-care-and-storage

Things you’ll need:

garden-tool-care-and-storage

  • Plain steel wool
  • Gardening gloves (or latex gloves) to protect your hands
  • Mineral oil
  • Lubricant spray
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Alcohol swabs (not essential, but handy)
  • Soft rags
  • Sharpener
  • Clean sand
  • Containers for storage (I use an old loaf pan for smaller tools and a large pot for the longer ones)

Here’s what to do:

Wipe or brush off all the loose dirt (a toothbrush is handy for tight spots).

Use steel wool to remove any stubborn patches and/or rust.

Wipe down the blades with alcohol swabs or a rag dipped in alcohol – this cleans and disinfects.

Use the sharpener to sharpen all pruners, shears and scissors.

Spray pruners and shears with lubricant spray – use a cloth dipped in alcohol to remove any excess from handles.

Fill your containers with sand and pour some mineral oil in. Mix well; the consistency should be that of damp sand like you’d find at the beach.

Plunge your tools in and store for the winter!

garden-tool-care-and-storage

While not the must fun or glamorous gardening task, it is satisfying to look at all of my clean, sharpened and oiled tools – safely stored away for winter. And it feels even better come spring, when I pull them out of storage, knowing that they’re ready to go.

Have a great weekend!

4 Comments

  1. w smith on October 19, 2017 at 11:45 am

    How about using sawdust or wood pellets or something not abrasive to the sharpened edges of the shears. I can’t imagine anything worse for edged tools than sand.

    • sherisilver on October 19, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks for writing! I’ve used a mixture of sand moistened with oil for years (which has also been recommended to me by many nurseries and landscapers) – my tools come out each spring clean, sharpened and ready to go! If you try one of these other options and it works please let me know – I’ll be glad to add the tip to the post! 🙂

  2. Nancy on November 12, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Can you use vegatable oil instead of mineral oil?

    • sherisilver on November 12, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Yes – my landscaping partner uses extra virgin olive oil!! 🙂

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