Prepare and store garden tools for winter

After you have winterized the garden, do the same with your garden tools. After a winter in the shed, you would probably like to see them in top shape the following spring. Read our tips here.

You will use many garden tools for the last time in September. Before they go into the shed for a few months, you have the opportunity to get them in optimal condition for the new garden season. That means checking, repairing where necessary, sharpening and protecting against rust. But, everything starts with a thorough cleaning.

Cleaning

If you have a good habit of cleaning your machines and other garden tools after each use, cleaning at the end of the season will not require much extra effort. However, you will have to do it a bit more thoroughly.

Remove all dirt, soil and plant residues with a stiff brush. If this is difficult, you can put hand tools in water for a while to loosen the contamination. You can sand away rust spots with steel wool or fine sandpaper.

Tip: If there is a lot of caked-on clippings in the lawnmower, you can scrape it off with a wooden spatula before you continue cleaning the machine with a brush.

Sharpening

man sharpening shears with whetstone

Check if your cutting and pruning tools, spades, saws and lawnmower need sharpening. For the mower blades, this is certainly the case at the end of the season. You may prefer to leave the sharpening of a lawnmower and a motorized hedge trimmer to a professional, but you can easily sharpen hand tools yourself with a sharpening stone or a file. Watch this short video for a demonstration.

Greasing

Rust is your garden tool’s worst enemy during winter storage. Lubricating with oil is an effective way to protect metal parts against corrosion. You can use specific tool oil for this, but petroleum jelly or household oil will work just as well.

Wooden handles of tools are also preferably greased for the winter break. Sand them lightly with fine sandpaper and coat with linseed oil. This oil protects against drying out as well as moisturizes and prevents the wood from rotting.

Empty fuel tanks

man pours oil into a lawnmower

For a lawnmower and other petrol tools, it is not good if old petrol remains in the tank for a long time. Empty the tanks completely before putting these machines away. But you should leave the oil in the machine, or even better, use the end-of-season cleaning to change the oil.

Remove water

Empty your high-pressure cleaner to prevent it from freezing. Garden hoses, watering cans and lawn sprinklers also need to be bone dry for the winter.

Remove batteries from the machines.

Before storing the battery tools, remove the batteries. Next, store these at room temperature and leave them about 80% charged. This simple precaution helps to extend the life of the batteries.

General tips

  • Store your garden tools in a dry, well-ventilated area.
  • Do not store tools on the floor where moisture can get in and attack the metal. It is better to hang them on the wall with the help of tool clamps.
  • In the spring, you are probably eager to get started in the garden. Wouldn’t it be more convenient if your tools are ready to use? Are the handles of your hoe and rake still tight, or do they need a nail or wedge? Can the wheelbarrow wheel bearings use a drop of oil? Are the cords of your electrical machines in good condition, without cracks or breaks? Now is the time to check everything and make small repairs where necessary.
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