Posted on 07/14/2022 at 02:20 PM by Wilcox All-Pro
If you take good care of your tools, they’ll take care of you! Proper hand tool cleaning and storage will help keep your stainless steel tools shiny, sharp, and as good as new for years to come.
Why Proper Tool Maintenance Matters
Ideally, you should wash your tools each time you are done using them. Keeping your tools clean can help prevent rust from forming on your tools, which can be tricky to remove. Keeping your tools clean also helps them keep their edge so they can continue to be as effective as the day you bought them.
Cleaning your garden tools is especially important as it can help prevent cross-contamination from fungus, aphids, and other things that can harm your plants. Landscaping tools, groundskeeping tools, camping tools, and hiking tools are also important to clean properly as they run the risk of coming into contact with poison ivy. Urushiol, the irritant in poison ivy, can last for a long period of time on your tools and can cause a rash the next time you use your tools.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Tools
Step 1: Use a garden hose or your sink to rinse off all of the dirt and grime on your tools. If your tools came into contact with certain substances other than dirt, give them a little extra rinsing. If your tool is covered in sap, use Goo Gone to clean it. If it came into contact with any chemicals, use some dish soap or vinegar. It’s important to get these substances off your tools before you soak them so that they are not soaking in the contaminants or getting them on other tools.
Step 2: Soak your tools in hot water and dish soap for about 15 minutes to get off any remaining residue and bacteria. After you have soaked your tools, rinse them off with some cool water to remove any soap.
Step 3: Thoroughly dry your tools with a microfiber cloth, ensuring that the tools are fully dry before you store them.
How NOT to Clean Stainless Steel Tools
There are a number of things to avoid doing when cleaning your stainless steel tools as they can damage and dull them.
Don’t let your tools sit for a prolonged period of time before cleaning them. Even if you don’t have the time for a complete cleaning process, it is still important to get off dirt and grime. The longer dirt sits on your tools, the higher the chance of damage to your tools. At the minimum, use a warm, soapy cloth to wipe away any residue, and then thoroughly dry your tool.
Using steel wool to scrub your tools will scratch the surface of your tools making them appear weathered and can also dull their sharp edges.
Using bleach to clean your tools can stain and damage the stainless steel of your tools. The harsh chemical can wear away the protective layer and cause rust.
Storing Your Stainless Steel Tools
Store your tools in a clean, dry space off of the floor.
Protect your tools from dust and other contaminants by storing them in something like a tool sheath or toolbox.
Keep your tools out of direct sunlight.
Organize your tools.
Don’t store your tools somewhere with significant temperature fluctuations as it can damage the tools over time.
Don't throw all your tools into a tool bag or toolbox without any form of organization. If all of your tools are jumbled together, they can bump up against each other and cause scratches and dull edges. If your tools have hand straps, this can also cause the staps to get tangled together. Combat these issues by storing each tool in its own sheath or by having cordoned-off sections for each tool.
The Importance of Quality Tools
Proper tool maintenance is vital to keeping your tools working well for a long time, but having high-quality tools matters just as much. Even the most diligent tool care can only extend the life of a cheap tool for so long. Durable digging tools that are made to last combined with proper maintenance can result in tools that last a lifetime.
Tools You'll Be Excited to Take Care Of
Wilcox All-Pro digging tools are American-made tools that are as durable as they are effective. All of our trowels, weeders, digging hoes, and more are backed by a lifetime guarantee. Fill your toolbox with tools that will get the job done time and time again!