4 ways rust harms your gardening tools and equipment (and 4 simple tricks to remove it)

Published On: March 16, 20220 Comments on 4 ways rust harms your gardening tools and equipment (and 4 simple tricks to remove it)Tags: Last Updated: February 2, 20243.5 min read

As a gardener, you love seeing everything in your garden looking nice and neat – and this includes your gardening tools. To prevent rust from harming your gardening tools, you need to take very good care of them.

woman planting into a pot with gardening tools

This way, you will be able to increase their longevity.

Effects of rust on gardening tools

Rust can damage tools when it comes to their efficiency and lifespan – but it also ruins their appearance. Here are the points to look out for:

1. Weakens the tool structure

Rust corrodes into metal tools, weakening their structure – this way, they won’t be able to manage tougher tasks. The pure metal will be turned into a flaky powder as its mass is reduced, and more rust may cause the tool to perform poorly in your gardening tasks.

2. Gives poor appearance

We all like our gardening tools to look nice and sleek. However, once the tools gather rust, they will acquire uneven orange or reddish shades. This will ruin their aesthetics and you might want to replace them with new tools.

3. Can create friction

Gardeners use many tools that have blades like pruning shears and the friction between moving parts can create rust. Also, the rustier they are there is more friction and your tools could get ruined. The best thing would be to invest in quality tools that are having some kind of friction coating. This kind of coating can prevent rust and also maintenance of these kinds of tools is much easier. But no matter how quality equipment you have the best thing is that after sharpening you always coat the metal parts with an aerosol lubricant.

rust on shears

4.   Shortens lifespan

With the structure of the gardening tool weakened by rust, your gardening tools may also be more likely to have a shorter lifespan. For instance, a simple metal gardening shovel may break from something as simple as digging up some soil.

How to get rid of rust

Rust forming on your gardening equipment is not the end of the world. Even if you see rust, there are still ways to remove it. Here are just a few of them.

1. Wipe the tools regularly

Rust typically forms from damp earth and debris settling on your tools. By wiping the tools regularly, you’ll be able to get rid of excessive moisture, as well as potential small rust formations. This will protect your gardening tools in the long run.

2. Lubricate the tools

Oil – even something as simple as coconut oil – has the potential to remove rust. By lubricating your tools with the right oils, not only do you add a protective layer and prevent friction, but you also remove potentially-forming rust. This should protect your gardening tools and increase their longevity. If using a metal spray nozzle with a trigger-style handle, you need to pay attention to spray gun maintenance by adding some silicone lubricant to any moving parts like springs and plungers. Or you can invest in a retractable hose reel and accessories made from durable plastic, to avoid any rust issues from the start.

man watering a garden

3. Soak in Vinegar

Vinegar is a strong rust remover and is likely one of your best allies in removing rust from your gardening tools. For the best effect, you might want to submerge your tools in a vinegar bath and leave them there for a couple of hours. This will break down the rust.

4. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is not as strong as vinegar, but it also has the potential to break down rust. Dip your gardening tools into the water, shake off the excess and then sprinkle some baking soda on it. You might want to let it sit for a couple of hours for it to have the best effect.


Rust is difficult to deal with, but it is not irreparable. Even if rust affects your gardening tools, you can still save them from further damage. Given a thriving environment, rust can take only a few hours to spread – so, the sooner you care for your tools, the better.

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