With a little bit of care, high-quality garden tools can last a lifetime. To help you do the same, we are going to share our top tips on how to prevent rust on your garden tools, to keep them in great shape.
Our five step care system will help make sure your tools last for many more years to come.
1. Wash tools after use
To some this may seem unnecessary – especially as some tools are literally created to be used in the dirt! However, washing them down after use before being properly stored away (more on this later) is one of the easiest and best things you can do for increasing their longevity.
The moisture in dirt creates a breeding ground for the rusting process to begin as well as sap from branches etc. causing sticking and just all over degradation of the tools.
Washing them down need not be difficult and time consuming. When it comes to dirt, a simple hosing down of the tool will usually suffice. For more sticky things such as sap, you may wish to use something such as turpentine or rubbing alcohol instead.
Once your tools are clean, you should always make sure they are completely dry before storing. Don’t miss this step! It is imperative they are dry as moisture is one of the two ingredients in creating rust – the other being air. If the weather is good you can let them dry out in the sun, or simply use an old towel or rag.
2. Correct storage
Keeping your tools clean and dry, as well as making sure they are stored correctly will be really beneficial. Remember, keeping them inside a shed that is compromised will not be beneficial.
If space will allow it, storing your tools up off the floor is the best way to store them. This is because they won’t be sat on the floor in a pile being exposed to moisture (which prevents rust) but also hanging everything up prevents damage from them being moved around.
Better yet, if you have the space for a peg board, this will make finding your tools when needed quicker and easier – as well as being a quick and easy way to see if a tool is missing!
3. Try to remove rust A.S.A.P
When rust first appears on your tools, you should take action to remove it A.S.A.P. Remember, the two main factors rust requires to thrive are moisture and air. Once the rust has formed, it will only get worse.
For more information on how to do this, we recommend taking a look at our previous post ‘How to Remove Rust From Metal‘. It is a great post that explains a variety of ways in which you can remove rust and why you may want to use one way over another.
4. Sanitise your tools
The main reason you may want to do this is to help keep your garden in good health. All you need to do is simply apply a coat of rubbing alcohol or use a bleach bath (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) to kill off any potential fungi or nasty pathogens.
However, the process of drying your tools after sanitising is also a great way to keep away any potential rust. Especially with the use of alcohol as it will dry very quickly – even on its own.
You do not need to do this after every use, just a quick sanitise once or twice a year should suffice.
5. Oil your tools regularly
The final great way you can prevent rust on your garden tools is by oiling them. Again, this doesn’t need to happen after every use, but a couple of times a year should be perfectly sufficient. For the metal areas we recommend using Owatrol Oil.
Owatrol Oil is our versatile, highly saturating, rust-inhibiting oil that penetrates through rusted metal to the sound metal below, isolating it and protecting it from further rust whilst also providing a tough, yet flexible finish.
If your tools are sticking or have unfortunately seized up altogether, we recommend using a product such as Transyl. Transyl is our multi-purpose, penetrating lubricant and releasing oil. It’s available in a wide variety of sizes including a 200ml and 400ml spray can both of which come with handy straws for the most precise application.
We also recommend not only oiling the metal parts of your tools but also the handle – if made of wood that is. For this, you could use a product such as Textrol – our highly-saturating wood oil for weathered wood. Or alternatively, you could use Aquadecks – our water-based saturating wood oil for all wood types. They will both protect the wood as well as give it a beautiful finish.
Both are deeply saturating and work by protecting the wood from within. This means that there is no film on the surface and therefore it will not peel or flake.
We hope you found this post on how to prevent rust on your garden tools helpful. If you have any other handy tips or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.