Garden Tool Clean-up: Farewell to the Dirty Dozen

Like many tedious chores, cleaning garden tools is easy to put off.  Though it’s hard to get started, it’s ultimately satisfying when you’re done. The electrostatic charge in the air yesterday spurred me into action. With my head held high, I’m happy to report that the dirty dozen of gardening tools is now the tidy twelve.

garden tools in need of some TLC

The Dirty Dozen

Last month I put my tools to soak in a bucket of soapy Melaleuca cleaner, then got busy with other things. It’s one of those jobs that nags at you till you get it done, but I knew I needed a good block of time to act. Yesterday was the day.

Newspapers spread and gloves donned, I tackled years of rust, faded paint and grime. Using steel wool and elbow grease, I scoured away layers of garden history. If those tools could talk!  Some of them have been around for over twenty years.

I sanded the sharp end of the garden tools first, removing rust and sharpening edges. Moving on to the tools with wooden handles, I sanded those as well before finishing with a soft rub of wax and oil. Everything looks great. The newer tools have vinyl or rubber handles which stand up to the elements better than wood. The wooden handles remain sturdy, however, and relished the coat of wax and oil.

Clean Tools

The Tidy Twelve

Last up: the garden saw.  I saved the worst for last. The once-blue handle had completely chipped away.  The blade was stained and covered in rust. Was I worried?  No!  I had big plans for this little baby.

Thank you, Martha Stewart.

It took three coats, but our refurbished folding saw now sports a handle in Martha Stewart’s Pomegranate Red. Who says tools have to be boring?

Garden saw painted red

Glitter Garden Saw


Painted folding saw


Perseverance 1, procrastination 0.

What’s on your “nag” list?

Getting the Job Done