Most keen gardeners will have a variety of garden tools in their collection, all of which need to be taken care of correctly. Although it can be tempting to discard tools after a strenuous gardening session, this can damage your garden tools, especially when they’re abandoned frequently. But, storing and maintaining garden tools doesn’t have to be a difficult or time consuming task. Read on to learn how to store garden tools correctly and protect them from damage.
Hang your tools
It’s always better to hang your tools rather than stand them on the ground or in a storage cupboard. This helps to protect tools from moisture, preventing rust or mould from forming. Using bungee cords is a simple way to keep garden tools securely hung up and out of the way. Read our 11 shed organisation ideas for some more storage and organisation tips.
Store in a dry, protected area
Garden tools should ideally be kept somewhere that’s protected from the elements. Even though they are used outside, this doesn’t mean that tools are invincible to the outdoor elements. A garden shed is the best and most common place to store garden tools, as this space will be dry and suitable for the tools. If you don’t have a garden shed, tools are best kept inside in order to keep them protected and ready for use. Try to dedicate an area in your home for storing tools, and be sure to read the rest of our tips when putting them away.
Clean after each use
Garden tools with old, hardened soil and mud caked onto them will be very difficult to clean, and leaving tools dirty for a long time will cause damage. So, it’s much easier to give tools a quick clean after each use to prevent dirt from building up. If you get into the habit of cleaning tools immediately before storing them after use, this will make taking care of them much easier. Most of the time, simply hosing down or wiping tools will be enough to keep them sufficiently clean.
Don’t put tools away wet
As mentioned above, you should be cleaning garden tools after every use. However, it’s essential that you don’t put them away wet. Use a rag or towel to thoroughly dry your garden tools before putting them away, to stop moisture from clinging to them. Your tool may still be slightly damp after this, so let them air dry before storing. This will prolong the life of your garden tools and keep them performing their best.
Use a sand and oil mixture
Want a quick fix for cleaning larger garden tools? Fill a bucket with sand and add oil until the sand is damp, but not wet. This mixture can be used to quickly clean metal tools by digging the tools in and out of the sand. Make sure to brush off any debris beforehand to keep the sand fresh enough to use for a longer period of time. Using sand and oil to clean tools is beneficial as the sand can keep blades sharp, whilst the oil can prevent rust from forming. Plus, smaller tools such as ring pliers and pincers can actually be stored in the bucket of sand and oil, keeping them lubricated and protecting the metal surfaces.
Don’t forget to sharpen tools
If you find that tools aren’t performing well, they may need sharpening. This can be done in a few different ways, depending on the type of tool. Garden tool sharpeners are available to buy from stores, or files and sandpaper can also be used. These are very affordable, and certainly cheaper than buying a new tool when your existing ones become dull.
Take care of wood
Don’t neglect the wooden handles on your tools – these are just as important as the parts made from metal. Inspect wooden handles for signs of splintering and sand these smooth if needed. Additionally, a finishing oil can help to prolong the life of wooden handles. Apply this oil until no more can be absorbed, and then let the tool completely dry before putting away.