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Garden trowel maintenance and care

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Garden trowels, with the right maintenance and care, can last a very long time. Here are a few cleaning and maintenance tips:

Cleaning

Bucket of water To clean your garden trowel, dunk the blade into a bucket of water to loosen the dirt and then wipe off any excess with an old rag. The rag can also be used to lightly wipe off any dirt on the handle.
Wire brush If there is any stubborn dirt left stuck to the blade, use a wire brush to remove it. The wire brush will also help to remove any rust patches the blade may have.
Linseed oil Once the dirt has been cleaned from the blade it needs to be oiled to protect it from rust. The best oil to use is a vegetable or linseed oil which has no petroleum added. Wooden handles will also need a coating of oil to help preserve them and to help make them waterproof.
Bucket of sand and linseed oil with a trowel inside To apply the oil, insert the blade into a bucket filled with sand and your chosen oil. Move the tool up and down in the sand a few times to clean off any small pieces of dirt and to lightly coat the blade in oil. Then turn it the other way around and lightly coat the handle in oil.

Sharpening

Digging a hole with a traditional garden trowel Every couple of years your trowel blade will need to be sharpened with a hand file to ensure it cuts as easily as possible through tough soil and roots.

To sharpen it, hold the garden trowel tightly onto a level surface with your non-dominant hand.

Sharpening garden trowel blade Next, using your dominant hand, place the hand file on the edge of the blade at an angle of between five and thirty degrees. Push the file downwards along the edge of the blade, away from your body. Between each stroke of the file, make sure you lift the file from the tool and place it back at the starting position.
Weeding garden trowel blade After repeating this process all around the edge of the blade, use a clean rag to rub on some vegetable oil or linseed oil before putting away.
Wonkee Donkee says "As Confucius said “He that would perfect his work must sharpen his tools”"

Storage

Garden shed Storing your garden trowel is easy: all it needs is a dry place, such as a garden shed, to keep it away from any unnecessary moisture which could lead to the blade rusting and the handle rotting.
Garden tool rack You could use a tool rack to hang up your garden trowel to help keep your shed ordered and tidy. By using a tool rack you are also more likely to spot if you have accidentally left it outside.

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