Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

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So you’ve bought good quality tools for your gardening hobby, and to propagate plants, but how do you maintain them and make them last longer?


Good quality tools cost more, and are made with longevity in mind.  They are tough, strong and long lasting, but they are only as good as the maintenance they receive.

Some of the ways you can keep tools in good shape are simple.  Don’t ever leave your tools abandoned after a job. 

Clean them, and put them away in a dry place.  This not only makes them last longer, but they’re ready for you to use next time.

Cleaning larger garden tools consists of scraping off any soil or dirt that is on the surface.  Some people use a spray of water to do this, others brush them with a wire brush.  A small scraper takes care of soil stuck onto the blade of a shovel or spade.

Either way, get the dirt out of the rivets or where pieces join.  Left there, it can rust the steel and weaken the tool.

Smaller tools like pruners and loppers, bonsai scissors and grafting knives should be sprayed with WD40 or other penetrating oil, left for a few minutes, then the excess wiped off with a clean rag. 

If there is sap or debris caught in them, use steel wool to wipe it off.  Another spray of the oil, and the tool can be stored in a dry place.

During pruning, if you’re doing a lot of it, any time you cut a diseased branch there’s the likelihood of transferring pathogens to the next cut you make. 

To prevent this spread of disease organisms, dip the blades of the tool in straight rubbing alcohol also known as isopropyl alcohol.  This will kill bacteria and fungus spores.

A garden shed with hooks to hang tools on for storage is a good place to store tools, especially for the winter. Basements and unheated carports are okay, as long as they’re not damp.

If you make a habit of always putting your tools away, they’ll be ready to use next time you need them.