Sterilize Your Gardening Tools

Sterilize Your Gardening Tools

Gardening is a favorite past time for many people. For the professionals or those really like to spend long hours working in the garden, and some garden tools are popular. Because bacteria, fungus and other soil-borne disease organisms can infect your precious plants and spread throughout your property, sterilizing your gardening tools is vital. Here are some ways to sterilizing your gardening tools. Soften and remove caked-on mud from shovels, forks, spades, trowels and other digging tools with warm water and a wire brush. Pitted steel may require extra scrubbing. Mix a cleaning solution of 80 percent warm water and 20 percent of an o-phenyl-phenol- and o-benzyl-p-chlorophenol-based household disinfectant such as liquid Lysol in a 5-gallon bucket. This type of household cleaner works effectively, is relatively easy to handle and does not corrode tools. Alternatively, you can mix a solution of 90 percent warm water and 10 percent bleach. Bleach, however, is not as effective against viruses, and it has corrosive qualities that tend to cause rust.

Soak the steel parts of gardening tools in the cleaning solution for 10 to 30 minutes. Ensure that all steel parts of the tools come in contact with the cleaning solution. Open any pruning shears so that the solution sanitizes both the blades and the hinges. Repeat a bleach solution after 24 hours if necessary, as after that time, it breaks down and loses its disinfecting powers. Remove the tools after soaking and rinse them in clear water. If you plan to use the gardening tools immediately, there is no need to dry them. If you plan to store the tools, dry them with soft, clean rags and apply machine or penetrating oil to the steel parts.

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