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How to clean garden tools with oil and sand

In a country that has rain more often than sunshine (180 days of rain a year!), I'm no stranger to rust and corrosion on my garden tools.

Here is an easy, affordable way to keep them clean with sand and oil.

Materials needed:

  • Container or bucket (large enough for your tools)

  • Clean sand

  • Light machine oil or vegetable oil

  • Clean cloth

Step 1: Prepare the container

Choose a container or bucket large enough to fit your garden tools. Make sure it's clean and free of debris.

Step 2: Fill the container with sand

Fill the container with clean sand, leaving enough space to easily immerse your garden tools.

Step 3: Add oil to the sand

Pour a small amount of light machine oil or vegetable oil onto the sand in the container. The oil will act as a lubricant and help in removing dirt, rust, and debris from the tools.

Step 4: Mix the sand and oil

Using your hands or a stick, mix the sand and oil thoroughly to create a paste-like consistency. Ensure that the oil is evenly distributed throughout the sand.

Step 5: Dip and rub the tools

Take one garden tool at a time and dip it into the sand-oil mixture. The tool should be fully immersed in the mixture.

Rub the tool against the sand vigorously, applying pressure as needed. The abrasive nature of the sand helps to scrub away dirt, rust, and grime from the tool's surfaces.

Step 6: Repeat if necessary

For particularly dirty or rusty tools, you can repeat the process several times until they are thoroughly clean. Pay extra attention to areas with stubborn dirt or rust, applying more pressure if needed.

Step 7: Wipe clean

After rubbing the tools in the sand, remove them from the mixture. Use a clean cloth to wipe away any remaining sand or oil residue. Ensure that the tools are completely clean and free of any loose debris.

Step 8: Apply a protective coat

To protect the tools from rusting, apply a thin coat of oil. Dip a clean cloth in light machine oil or vegetable oil and rub it onto the metal surfaces of the tools.

This protective layer helps to prevent corrosion and keep the tools in good condition.

Step 9: Store the tools properly

This is super important.

After cleaning, make sure to store your garden tools in a dry place to prevent moisture buildup and rust formation. Consider hanging them or placing them in a tool shed or storage rack away from rain, snow and other elements.

Let me know your favorite ways to keep garden tools clean in the comments below.


Welcome to my garden

Hi! I'm Lars (Denmark).

Thanks for joining me as I share tips and inspiration for perennial gardening. 

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