You’ve made an investment in your yard and garden, and your garden tools. Now, it’s time to put them away until Spring—so a little care now will pay off later when it’s time to use them again.
6 Tips for Protecting Your Tools
1. Avoid Moisture
Moisture is an enemy of tools, causing metal parts to rust, and wood to rot; however, sun and dry air can warp tools with wooden handles, so you should store your equipment in a cool, dry place.
2. Scrub Down
Before putting away tools, clean off any mud and dirt. Wipe or brush off dirt; hose them down and scrub them, if necessary, and leave them out on a sunny day to dry. Vinegar will remove rust and turpentine removes sap.
3. Oil Handles
You can keep the wooden handles of your tools in tip top shape by treating the wood with linseed oil. For the metal parts, coat the metal with linseed oil or WD-40 to prevent rust. For moving parts of pruning shears, use 3-in-1 oil.
4. Use Sand
You can also clean and store metal tools by using oiled sand. Mix 3/4 quart of either motor oil or mineral oil into a 5 gallon bucket of sand. The sand should be damp, but not moist. Push the tool blades into the sand, as it will clean them and condition the metal. You can store the tools in the sand, or hang them up.
5. Keep Off Floor
Your garage or a shed is ideal for storage. Outdoor power tools and equipment need to be protected from the elements, so plan to store those, too. Garden tools are best stored off the floor, as moisture can sometimes collect on the floor or ground. Most have a hole in the top of the handle so they can be hung on a hook or nail. If not, you can drill one.
There are also organizers you can purchase from home improvement stores, or you can create simple brackets by placing nails on a strip of wood along a wall, and spacing the nails so they create brackets for rake heads and other tools.
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