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Sharpening metal

How to Clean and Sharpen Garden Tools | Step by Step

Farming work is most tiring and painful in the absence of adequate garden tools and equipment. Practicing manual farming can cause painful cuts and everlasting tears on your pretty palms. You wouldn’t ever wish that.

To get rid of these inconveniences caused by stubborn stems and grass in your garden, you need proper instruments to carry out your gardening activities effectively and pain-free. In fact, with the proper instruments, gardening is the most fun!

Garden shears, secateurs.

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However, maintaining these gardening tools in good condition is very essential. Rusty and dirty tools can cause a series of problems for your investments.

Keeping your farm instruments in good condition will save you from spending unnecessarily on the purchase of new tools every new growing season.

A well-maintained farm implement can last you for centuries. Working with these tools on your farm can go a long way in making gardening a memorable and interesting event for you. You can equally prevent the spread of diseases across your farm when you service and maintain your tools properly.

On the other hand, blunt farm instruments can consume all of your time while weeding and harvesting. You need to keep your tools well sharpened to ease your farming activities.

A thorough sharpened instrument will reduce the pressure of digging through your garden soil and cut off hard roots.

 How will you go about these with the little time you have?

I must let you know that you need just a pinch of your precious time a day to maintain your tools. It doesn’t require a huge effort. This little time you spare for taking proper care of your garden instruments can go a long way in helping you become a successful gardener. even more than you’ve ever imagined! 

I’ll focus this article on how you can clean and sharpen your garden tools. All you need is just a little breath of your time so that I can walk you gently through the steps one after the other.

Things You’ll Need to Clean and Sharpen Your Tools

For cleaning and sharpening your gardening tools, you’ll need the following supplies:

Detergents, soap, or any other solvent: This is done by dissolving stubborn dirt and other stuck-on stuff on your tools.

Sponge, wire brush, steel wool scrub brush: for easy removal of dried hard mud, grit, or rust on your tools.

Sprayer or garden hose: to channel water.

A clean towel, cloth, or old rag: wipe off the water after washing.

Sandpaper: You’ll use this material to remove rust from your tools, sharpen rough edges, and remove dried-up soil.

Lubricating oil: Lube prevents your tools from wearing out and also protects them from contamination.

Sharpening metal or stone: This is essential for sharpening the edges of metal tools. 

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How Do You Get Your Tools Clean And Sharpened?

Having got all the required supplies to clean and sharpen your tool, the next step is to get the work done!

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Clean and Dry Your Tools

Start by scrubbing off dried mud or sap with a scrub brush or sponge. Then, wash the tools with detergent and rinse them under running water. You may need to soak some tools for a few minutes to soften the hard mud or sap on them, and this will really save you some energy.

Mind you, ensure that you don’t allow them to stay too long in the water. Doing this may contribute to quick rust.

Dry with a clean towel or old rag. You should then sort them separately and allow them to dry properly and completely to avoid any moisture trapping.

STEP 2: Clean Up Rust

Rust accumulation on your tools doesn’t only turn them into trash bins, it might also introduce diseases to your plants if you keep them in use in your garden.

To avoid this, it’s necessary to get rid of the rust after first washing. To do this, use the wire brush to wear away the rust or musk on the significant parts of your metal tools.

Make sure you do this gently so that your tool won’t become thinner and weaker in no time. You may then rinse again.

Step 3: Smooth the surface

Smoothing your tools gives them an extra shiny look.

This doesn’t require any form of professionalism but rather a pinch of gentleness. Use the sandpaper to remove any remaining rust on the surfaces of your tools to make them look smooth. Ensure that you use the minimum pressure while doing it.

If you’re using tools with wooden handles, use the sandpaper to wear them down until they have a smooth texture to prevent splintering.

Try using a medium grit sandpaper. After doing this, use your dry towel to wipe away any remaining metal or wood dust on the tools.

4: Hone Your Tools

Sharpening metal

Hone means: sharpen (a blade).

This might be a little frightening as most people perceive it, but with a little carefulness, you’ll do it better than anyone else without getting hurt.

Sharp-edged tools make it easier for you to cut through thick stems and roots.

Blunt tools slow down your working pace as the soil becomes harder to dig through. Use a sharpening metal or stone to fairly sharpen the edges of your tools.

Place your tool on a leveled, convenient surface where you can easily pull the sharpener up and down continuously.

Position your tool edge so that it points upward, then place the sharpening stone on the edge of the tool blade at about an angle of 40-45°,apply a little pressure and pull it up and down around the blade from left to right.

Repeat this process while keeping the same angle and direction until the blade looks clean and sharp.

This may be strenuous in the beginning, but as time goes on, you’ll find it easier, and again, ensure that you apply a little pressure as you move your sharpener back and forth in order not to grind away most part of the metal.

Step 5: Use Lubricant

Lubricant prevents rusting and moisture accumulation. Oiling every part of your tools can prevent friction and wear and also prevent cracking of the wooden handles. Lubricant makes it easy for you to lose the bolt of the part that needs to be changed.

 After you’ve blown off all the remaining metal and wood dust, using a clean rag or towel, apply lubricating oil all over the metal part.

The wooden part may be greasy to the touch when you oil it, and it is inconvenient to work with.

To avoid this, immediately wipe away any excess oil after applying it and allow the tool to dry. Olive oil can be used as a lubricating oil on your tools.

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How to Store Your Tools?

By now, your tools are looking new. In order not to waste the efforts so far, you need to store them properly. If you have a store for your tools, hang them in a part of your store where they can have adequate access to air.

Ensure you sort them and create spaces within each so that you can easily prevent moisture trapping. Allowing your tools to incessantly smash against each other while picking for your use can blunt their blades and make them dull.

 Be sure that you place them in a place where you can easily get access to each. Also, make sure that you do not allow water into your storehouse. Water plus air contribute largely to the process of rusting.

Having done all this, your tools are ready to go for garden chores anytime!

Some preventive maintenance you should take:

  • Ensure you check on your tools periodically. Check for loose bolts, rusty parts, and oil the moving parts.
  • Do not let your tools sit on the ground. Hang them and create little spaces for them.
  • Wipe away excess oil after applying lubricants.
  • Make sure your store room is ventilated enough to avoid the trapping of moisture from your tools. This speeds up rusting.
  • Rinse off wet mud or sap on your tools before hanging.
  • Apply a little pressure while you sandpaper the handles or sharpen the blades of your tools.


Your tools are part of your investment in your garden. You need to properly take care of them so that they can last you for decades. Getting them well maintained can ease your gardening activities and make them more exciting and memorable. You need a little time to get it done, and your tools are ready to serve you best!