Care for your tools!

Maintaining secateurs, garden knives and other gardening tools

After the last tasks of fall and before putting them away, it is important to thoroughly clean your tools in order to keep them for a long time, so that they stay effective and also don’t spread diseases in the vegetable patch and in flower beds.

If you weren’t able to practice regular maintenance, seize the chance offered by the dormant garden to give your tools a refresher check-up before setting them to rest, as well! They’ll be fit for use after the winter hibernation!


Remove the dirt that stayed stuck on spades, hoes, forks, rakes… Use a quackgrass brush or a painter’s spatula for this.

Rub very fine sandpaper on rust spots, the finest possible so that you won’t scratch the metal. Remove tree sap and organic matter from pruning equipment with all-purpose alcohol.


Tools that have been used to handle plants might harbor and spread diseases. Disinfect hand pruners, shears… with 90-proof alcohol.

Clean pots, garden boxes and stakes with chlorinated water, rinse and dry.


Inspect your equipment to locate and repair whatever might be broken, tighten screws, replace defective latches and splitting handles.


Run a metal file along the blade of sharp tools.

Use a sharpening stone to sharpen cutting tools, taking great care to follow the angle of the bevel.


Gas-powered tools must be flushed every year.

Also check that you’ve purged the watering hose, it might burst from freezing.


Lathe the equipment with flax seed oil with a brush or rag.

This will extend the lifespan of wood handles when not varnished, and will keep water and thus rust away from metallic parts.

Put away

Put your tools away in a dry spot, metallic parts facing up, checking that children can’t access the sharper tools.

Martine de Saint Jan

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Secateurs, garden knife and more by Andreas Göllner under Pixabay license