Every keen gardener knows how important their tools are. Without them, it would be virtually impossible to keep your plants looking healthy, add new plants to your garden, or work nutrient-rich compost into your soil.
But, when the growing season is finished, your care and attention needs to shift from your plants to your garden tools themselves.
One of the best things you can do for your garden tools is to oil them. This helps prevent rust from building up when they’re not in use and ensures they’re ready to go the next time you need them. But what oil do you use for garden tools?
Without any doubt, boiled linseed oil is the best oil you can use for garden tools. Unlike petroleum-based oils, such as motor oil, linseed oil comes from a natural source.
This means that the next time you use your tools, you won’t be transferring anything into your soil that could potentially harm your plants. It will also do a fantastic job of preventing your tools from rusting over winter.
Applying boiled linseed oil to your garden tools couldn’t be easier. First of all, make sure that your tools are completely clean and dry. Next, take a clean, dry cloth and apply some boiled linseed oil to it.
Wipe the cloth all over your tools, making sure you cover every inch and leave them to dry. You can use them again after 24 hours or, if you’re storing them over winter, leave them until you need them again.
How do you maintain garden shears?
From long-bladed hedge trimmers to smaller secateurs, taking care of your shears is an essential part of garden-tool maintenance. If not, you’ll find your blades will get dull and this can create rougher cuts on your plants, leaving them susceptible to disease.
It’s easier to do than you might think, too. Below, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to maintain your garden shears.
- Clean Your Shears: Any dirt that is left to gather on your shears won’t only get in the way when it comes to sharpening them, but can also cause damage to the blades. So, begin by making sure you’ve cleaned any mud and debris off them. Do this using hot, soapy water and wipe them over with a clean cloth. Once you’ve removed all of the dirt, dry your shears thoroughly using a separate clean, dry cloth.
- Disassemble Your Shears: Remove any screws holding your shears together, and lay all of the separated parts out on a clean surface. By doing this, you’ll be able to sharpen the beveled edge of the shears more efficiently without anything getting in the way.
- Sharpen Your Shears: Take a blade sharpener such as mill file or sharpening stone, and start sharpening the blades of your shears. It’s best to do this in single, smooth strokes rather than filing in a back and forth motion. This will ensure the blades keep a contoured shape, rather than accidentally filing them down into a flat edge.
- Remove The Burr: This is the buildup of metal filings that will have gathered on the underside of the blades while you’ve been sharpening them. It’s important to remove this, otherwise, you’ll find that the shears are stiff when you come to use them. It’s simple to remove too, and can be done with just a few strokes of your sharpener.
- Lubricate & Reassemble: Finally, apply a lubricant to a clean cloth and carefully wipe the blades with it using a circular motion. This will protect the metal and prevent your shears from rusting. Once you’ve done that, reassemble your garden shears and you’re all done!
How do you store garden tools in sand?
One tried and tested way of keeping your garden tools free from rust and corrosion is by storing them in sand. This is because the sand will absorb any moisture and, in turn, keeps it away from your tools.
Storing your garden tools in sand couldn’t be easier. Simply fill a bucket, small trough, or another receptacle with sand and place your tools inside with the handle pointing upwards.
Some people recommend adding a couple of drops of boiled linseed to the sand and mixing it in to help keep it lubricated, but this is a matter of preference and isn’t really necessary.
Once your tools are in the sand-filled bucket, keep the bucket inside a shed, garage, or other covered space to stop any rain or frost from getting to it.
This stops any unnecessary moisture from gathering in the sand and allows it to do a more efficient job of collecting air moisture instead.
Why is it important to put oil to your tools and equipment?
Applying a coating of oil to your tools and equipment stops them from rusting over, as it creates a barrier between them and the two things that lead to corrosion; moisture and oxygen.
When you take the time to oil your garden tools, you’ll be extending their lifespan and, ultimately, you’ll be saving money as you won’t have to worry about replacing them if they break.
It’s important to note, however, that oiling isn’t simply enough on its own. You also need to make sure that your tools are stored properly after you’ve oiled them.
Wherever possible, hang them on a wall instead of gathering them together in a toolbox. This will stop them from getting damaged by each other.
How do you take care of garden tools?
Taking care of your garden tools is essential if you want them to keep performing as well as possible, and if you’d like them to last for a long time.
There is certain garden tool maintenance that needs to be done all year round, and some that you only need to do once every season. Below, we’ll take a look at what you should be doing to your garden tools, and when.
Year-Round Garden Tool Maintenance
- Clean dirt off using hot, soapy water and dry with a clean cloth.
- If you’ve used your garden tools to dig up or cut through any diseased growth, leave them to soak in a diluted solution of bleach and water for one hour. After this, rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.
- Give your garden tools an occasional clean with disinfectant wipes. This will kill any fungus and diseases that soap and water alone cannot remove.
- Keep your tools stored in a cool, dry environment. Hanging them on a wall is an ideal way of storing garden tools, and it gives you quick access when you need them too. You can also store them in a bucket filled with sand. This will keep moisture away and prevent them from rusting.
Seasonal Garden Tool Maintenance
- Sharpen Shears. Follow the step-by-step guide we’ve provided above to keep your shears and secateurs sharp, and to prevent them from rusting over.
- Repair wooden handles. This can be done by covering any smaller cracks with heavy-duty duct tape. If there are any severe cracks in wooden handles, it’s a good idea to replace them altogether, otherwise, they could end up snapping in half while you're digging a hole or forking over the soil.