Cleaning garden tools after you use them might seem like a lot of hard work, but caring for your tools is an important part of treading lightly on the earth.
Cleaning garden tools not only saves you money in the long-term – as they will last longer – but also means that you will conserve the valuable resources used to make them.
Buying quality, locally made tools, like the FD Ryan trowel featured in this post, is another step towards holistically gardening in a sustainable way. Gardening is so much more enjoyable when you have the right tools, so make them last with these four easy steps.
To clean your garden tools you will need:
- Dirty garden tools!
- A steel brush
- Two rags
- Tung oil, or another penetrating oil (tung oil is the most natural type, but there are other synthetic varieties out there or you could even try regular cooking oil).
Brush dirt from your garden tools with a sturdy steel brush. We keep this one on hand for this purpose only, near our tools.
Wipe your tool down with a soft dry rag to remove any moisture.
Get your tung oil and, using your second rag, wipe it onto the tool until metal parts are evenly coated.
A little more about tung oil (tung oil is a penetrating oil and can be used as a more natural alternative to WD-40). It is derived from the nuts of the Chinese tung tree, and has been long used as a waterproofing medium. Similar oils include linseed and soy bean oil, so if the “poison” warning on your tung oil can worries you, you can try these more palatable alternatives.
Store your tools somewhere dry, but easy to reach when you are in the garden. We also hang cleaning tools right beside them as a little reminder when we finish gardening that our tools need to be cleaned before they go away.