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Tools should be cleaned after each use. Doing so keeps diseases, fungi, insect eggs and weed seeds from being spread around your garden.
This also extends the life of a tool by removing moisture and rust enhancing soil from steel surfaces.
All your favorite spades, rakes, hoes, trowels, and any other tools that come into contact with soil should be washed off with water after each use.
For extremely dirty garden tools rinse with the garden hose first. To remove heavy soils use a scrubbing brush.
After washing any tool, dry it with a cloth before putting it away.
Axes, pruning shears, loppers and knives etc that don’t come in contact with soil should be wiped down with a cloth to remove any gums and saps from their blades.
Dry the tools with a separate clean cloth. Motor oil is a cheap and effective rust preventer.
Applied to steel surfaces, the oil insulates and protects the steel and prevents it from rusting.
You can thin the oil out and make it easier to work, a 2:1 ratio of oil to kerosene.
You can then wipe your tools down or use a household-cleaner spray bottle to spray them before wiping them down an putting them away in the garden shed.