How to Look After Your Garden Tools

Provided you give your garden tools some care and attention every now and then, they should last you for a long time, even if they weren’t particularly expensive to start with!

Ideally, tools should be looked after throughout the year but we know that’s a bit of an effort! A good time to show your tools some TLC is at the end of the season when they get put away for the winter. Follow our handy tips below and your tools should be ready to get to work year after year!

Tools Tlc

Prefer a more visual way to digest information?

Why not take a look at our Show Your Garden Tools Some TLC Infographic? It's a useful guide that provides tips on how to look after your garden tools, so they're ready to go for their next use or upcoming season.

Lawn Mowers

It is a good idea to give your lawn mower a good clean and freshen up after the last cut of the year, you’ll appreciate it when spring comes back round and you are all ready to go!

  • Always unplug electric mowers before cleaning! On petrol mowers disconnect the sparkplug.
  • Use a stiff brush to clean any grass and soil off the underside of the lawnmower and in any air vents.
  • Sharpen the blades with a metal file ready for the next year. If the blades are very worn, consider replacing them.
  • Add some grease to the height adjustment to avoid them seizing up over the winter.

Wooden Handles

Wooden handles on spades, rakes and other tools can become dry and splinter if left. It is quite easy to prevent this though, buy giving them a little TLC once a year.

  • Using a stiff brush, remove any dirt and soil from the handle.
  • Use boiled linseed oil (available ready bottled in most garden centres) and rub it onto the handle. You can do a couple of coats with this, just leave it to absorb each coat in between applications. This will stop the handle from drying out over winter.

Sharpening Blades

Having sharp blades on your garden shears and other tools will make gardening much easier and quicker. The end of the season is a good time to sharpen them ready for the year ahead. If blades are very badly worn consider replacing them, if not follow our tips below to make them as good as new.

  • Clean the blade with a stiff brush and remove any rust with a wire brush.
  • Rub some general purpose oil onto the blades.
  • Sharpen blunt blades with a fine metal file, or a sharpening stone for smaller blades and secateurs. Finish with another wipe with oil.
  • Store your newly sharpened tools hung up in your shed or garage ready for the year ahead, or in sand and oil as explained below.

Storing in Sand and Oil

Storing your blades in a tub of oily-sand might sound a bit odd but it will give them a happy home for the winter and prevent them from rusting.

  • Find a pot or tub big enough to fit all your metal bladed tools in.
  • Fill the tub with dry sand and mix in some lubricating oil (such as WD-40 or vegetable oil) until the sand is damp.
  • Place your tools into the tub with the blades submerged in the sand and the handles sticking out of the top.
  • In spring, take the tools out and polish them with a rough cloth. They should be as good as new ready for the year ahead!
  • This pot can then be used to clean the blades in between uses by pushing them in and out a few times and rubbing with a cloth.

Showing your tools a bit of TLC once a year will make them last longer and most importantly will make gardening easier for you! Follow our tips and a few simple changes should greatly benefit your tools and your gardening! Easy!

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