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Prepping your garden tools for winter

The first snowflakes means it’s time to store your lawn and gardening tools for the winter. Before you put them away, take the following maintenance steps to keep them their best for years to come.

In general, check tools and equipment for missing or worn out parts. It’s great to get those fixed up during the off-season. Remember that hardware stores are great places to get your tools repaired, maintained and sharpened for little cost. Check your local store for repair services offered. You can also bring broken tools in need of repair to a Hennepin County Fix-It Clinic.

Spray or apply lubricating oil to anything with hinges or moving parts to prevent rusting. Pat dry to remove excess oil.

Hoses: Drain excess water out of hoses. Roll them up and store in a dry location.

Hand tools, hoes, rakes and shovels:

  • Remove caked on dirt with a wire brush and rinse clean.
  • Sand off rust spots with a fine sandpaper or steel wool, and seal with vegetable oil.
  • Remove sap with spray lubricant, then wipe with a dry cloth.
  • Treat wooden handles with wood oil to prevent drying and cracking. Wipe dry.

Power tools: Check the owner’s manual of your power tools for proper maintenance. Drain any oil and remove excess gas. These fluids can be taken to a Hennepin County Drop-Off Facility for recycling.

Saws, spades and tools with sharp edges: Sharpen with a whetstone or file. Work at a 45 degree angle from the outer edge to the center.

Wheelbarrows, carts and wagons: Clean them out, then touch up any chipped paint to prevent rusting. Grease the wheels

Learn more at This Old House, Garden and Gardening Channel.