Cleaning Garden Tools with Vinegar

Cleaning garden tools with vinegar? It is almost impossible to do gardening without getting dirty. While you can easily wash your clothes and hands, the same cannot be said of garden tools. Many of us forget to clean our garden tools and before long, they begin to rust.


One of the most potent ways of cleaning garden tools is with vinegar. Spades, hoes, spades, and other garden tools are becoming more expensive. Instead of replacing them when they are rusty, cleaning garden tools with vinegar can save you a lot of money.

Vinegar is one of the most-used kitchen items for DIY cleaning processes. We will show you how you can use this item to clean your garden tools in this post.


Describing Rust

When you leave your garden tools for a while without cleaning them properly, they develop rust. What is this rust that we keep seeing on our garden tools?

Rust is a layman name for iron oxide. It is that flaky reddish-brown coat that covers a metal when it is exposed to moisture and oxygen for a while. The process of rust developing on metal is called corrosion and it ends up destroying the metal.

You need to clean your garden tools clean after each use to protect them from rust. What if they have developed rust? The good news is that there is a way to easily rid them of rust. It involves cleaning garden tools with vinegar and we will show you the process in the next section.


How to Clean Garden Tools with Vinegar

You must have read several DIY recipes for cleaning different home items. Vinegar seems to pop up in many of these recipes. Well, it is popping up here again.

This section will show you how to clean garden tools with vinegar. Before we discuss the process, here are the different items that you need:

  • Cleaning vinegar or white distilled vinegar
  • 3-IN-ONE Multi-Purpose Oil
  • Empty jar, small container, or aluminum can (a large yogurt container is also perfect)
  • Heavy-duty scouring pad
  • Rusty tool
  • Soft clean rag

With this out of the way, here’s the process:

Step 1: Soak the garden tools inside a vinegar bath

Put the garden tools with the rust inside the container then pour the vinegar over it. Make sure that you have enough vinegar to submerge the rusted parts of the tools.


Leave it there for between 12 and 24 hours. The duration depends on the type of vinegar you use and the amount of rust on the tools. After this period, most of the rust should have fallen off and you get rid of the rest by hand.

Step 2: Scour off the rust

Take the tools out of the vinegar bath then use a strong scouring pad to wipe off all the remaining rust. This process is pretty easy since the rust should be loose by now.

If the tools have moving parts, ensure that you reach every nook and cranny with your pad. After scouring, you can rinse off the rust and remaining vinegar with clean water.

Step 3: Dry your tools

Great job so far. By now, your garden tools are free of rust and vinegar, however, they are still wet. Leaving them wet will get them back to their rusty state within a short while.

Get a soft rag and dry them off thoroughly. Ensure that you clean the gears and pivot joints as these parts collect moisture easily.

Step 4: Lubrication

Now you have gotten a hang of cleaning garden tools with vinegar but there’s one more thing. You need to protect them from gathering rust in the future.

An easy way to do this is to lubricate the tools using some 3-in-one multipurpose oil. Don’t just do this after cleaning garden tools with vinegar, do it after each use. It helps to protect your tools from rust while ridding them of grime.

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Cleaning Garden Tools with Vinegar FAQs

This section of this post will provide answers to some of the frequently asked questions about cleaning garden tools with vinegar. Check them out below:

How long should tools sit in vinegar?

As we mentioned earlier when discussing how to clean garden tools with vinegar, the duration varies. You can leave the tools in vinegar for 12 hours or 24 hours depending on the type of vinegar or amount of rust.

If the rust is very little, the tool may just need to be in the vinegar bath for an hour or two. Watch the tool to see how much of the rust is off. You can take it out once it is almost free of rust.

How do I clean my garden tools with vinegar and baking soda?

This post has shown you how to clean garden tools with vinegar. However, cleaning garden tools with vinegar and baking soda is also possible.

Note that you don’t get to mix the baking soda with the vinegar, you use them one after the other. We will describe the process in the steps below:

Step 1: Place the garden tools inside a vinegar bath for a while.

         2: Rinse the vinegar and rust off.

Step 3: Use the baking soda to remove any lingering rust. It works as an abrasive. You can get to all the crevices using a small brush or toothbrush.

Step 4: Dry the garden tools and lubricate them.

Can you use vinegar to clean pruning shears?

Yes, you can. We have already described the process above. You should rid the pruning shears of dust and grime before placing them in a vinegar bath. Afterward, follow the steps described above.


That’s it for cleaning garden tools with vinegar. We have shown you the steps involved in the process and answered different frequently asked questions. Do you have any other questions? Kindly drop them in the comments section.

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