Clean your spade

Posted 8 May 2024

Taking the time to service and store your garden tools is important to ensure they stay in good condition for spring and will serve you well for years to come.

Regular cleaning and oiling will prevent rust, keep them sharper and help the handles stay solid. Wet and heavy soil left on a spade will lead to rust. When the blade is rusty and not smooth, more moisture and soil stick to the blade, making digging even more difficult. Ideally, cleaning your tools after each use would be best.

How to clean a spade: 

  1. Safety first! Wear gloves, goggles and a dust mask when working on tools. Remove any dry soil with a stiff wire brush.
  2. Give your blade and handle a good scrubbing with water to remove any remaining mud and grit.
  3. Dry with old towels and leave overnight to avoid trapping in any moisture.
  4. Sand wood handles to remove any splinters or chips in the finish.
  5. Use a metal file to sharpen the edge of the blade li. The key is to give it a nice, clean edge. Be careful only to grind away a little of the metal.
  6. Lubricate the blade with vegetable oil, rub the oil into the blade in a circular motion, and wipe off any excess oil. The oil will prevent rust.
  7. Add several coats of Danish oil to wooden handles, letting previous coats fully dry before applying the next coat.
  8. If your handle is metal, brush off as much rust as possible and paint it with two coats of enamel paint.
  9. Hang up your tools rather than standing them on their edges.

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