Now disinfecting garden tools gives you a head start for next year.

Plant diseases can easily spread from plant to plant if you don’t disinfect your tools.

With this year’s gardening season behind us, get a head start on next year by taking the time to clean your tools now. A wipe down with a paper towel and a bleach solution is fine, but a proper sanitation regimen is preferable.

Here’s how you can prepare for next year’s plant diseases.

Start with water

Use water to wash off the dirt. A hose or powerful faucet stream will remove most, if not all, of your tool debris.

Using a wire brush

A good wire brush will remove the sap. If that doesn’t work or there’s a lot of buildup on your tools, try vegetable shortening. Wipe tools with a dry cloth.


Disinfection tools will kill any potential pathogens that may attach to your tools. Use a 10% bleach solution to spray on tools or use a disinfectant wipe. Then wipe the tools with a dry cloth.

Cleaning your tools now will make sure you are ready to go when spring arrives.

Find more gardening information on our website,, by clicking Home and Garden from the menu or call us at 315-736-3394, ext. 100. Make sure you like us on Facebook ( and check out our YouTube channel ( for some great gardening discussions.

Rosanne Loparco, Master Gardener Volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County.

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