Prepare and restore your tools for Winter storage
The thermometer has dropped, which means one thing - Winter is here. Your garden tools will be set aside for the next few months but before you start to put them away - follow these easy steps to clean and protect them, ensuring you get a lifetime of use!
Give them a good clean
Hand tools and larger tools such as rakes and forks have had good use in the dirt - make sure to use a simple detergent and water to scrub well. Make sure all traces of mud and debris are removed before using an old towel to dry and set aside overnight to ensure they dry completely.
Remove rust from metal
Are some of your tools a bit rusty? Use steel wool or fine sandpaper to scrub away any small rust spots that have built up. BUT make sure you remove the rust with as little scrubbing as possible to ensure your tools don't weaken and thin over time.
Sand the handles
Make sure to run your hand down any wooden handles or areas, does it feel like it could splinter? Use a light sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots. Is the wood handle too far gone? Replacement wood handles are available to fit your old head too - giving you another lifetime from your tool.
Sharpen them up
Is your spade not digging like it used to? Sharpen the edges of your tools with a metal file ensuring not to go overboard and file too much metal away.
Oiling your tools
Using a lubrication oil such as WD-40 and a clean rag - rub the oil into the metal head of your tools. Use Linseed oil for wooden handles before storing.
Time to say goodbye... Hang large tools out inside out of the elements, you can even store your hand tools in a bucket of sand to ensure they stay clean, dry and free of rust or corrosion. The sand draws moisture away and helps keep them dry until their next use.