Prevent Garden Tool Rust in Prepping for Winter Storage
The home gardening “bloom” of 2020 coincided with widespread COVID-19 lockdowns. Gardening is a soothing, family-friendly hobby and a means to ease food security concerns when resources are tight. If you’re one of those who jumped on the tillage train – and want to keep doing so – it’s important to prevent garden tool rust in prepping your supplies for winter storage.
Properly preparing and storing your garden supplies in the winter is critical to preventing rust and corrosion. Corrosion occurs when a refined metal is gradually destroyed by chemical and/or electrochemical reactions in their environment. Iron and iron alloys (of which many gardening tools are made) are susceptible to a specific type of corrosion called rust when exposed to moisture/humidity and oxygen. Other types of corrosion can occur to tools made of metal, brass, aluminum and chromium.
Zerust has a number of solutions to prevent garden tool rust and corrosion for those hoping to avoid the unpleasant surprise of discovering degraded tools when they pull them out from the shed for next season.
Why Do I Need to Prevent Garden Tool Rust?
The fact is, tools that are both high-quality and well-maintained are going to make all of your gardening tasks much easier. Tools that are neglected or improperly stored will develop rust and corrosion when exposed to moisture and oxygen. Temperature fluctuations, salty air and dirt/other biological components left on the tools while in storage can accelerate corrosion.
Rusted tools are not going to be as reliable for use. If the metal strength is weakened, it may not be as effective, but it could also be very dangerous if it snaps or cracks while you’re using it.
Beyond that, rust is associated with tetanus, a fatal infection affecting the nervous system. (Worth noting is that tetanus is caused by a bacteria most often found in the soil – not rust itself – but if rusty tools come in contact with that bacteria, you’re at risk of getting the infection if you’re cut.)
Among the many garden tools that are prone to rust:
- Garden shears
- Soil scoops
- Garden scissors
- Bulb planters
Which Zerust Products Can Help Curtail Corrosion of Your Cultivation Tools
Metal tools are much less likely to rust over winter if they’re cleaned, oiled and properly stored. It’s wise to get into the habit of cleaning your tools after each use, scraping/wiping dirt, grass and other debris from your garden tools and using a steel brush if necessary.
When it comes to longer winter storage, dampness is an issue in many garden sheds and garages. Simply tossing garden tools in a storage bucket usually isn’t sufficient protection.
Zerust offers many products to help keep corrosion in check. All of our products utilize vapor corrosion-inhibiting technology, with a patented formula that releases a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas that forms a molecular layer of protection around metal objects. It won’t harm the wood or plastic components of your garden tools, and releases harmlessly into the air
Toolbox drawer liners. The VCI protection is fused into the PVC rubber to protect garden tools stored on shelves and in storage boxes, drawers, truck boxes and tool boxes. These can be cut to size, and not only prevent corrosion, but also mold, mildew, slipping and denting.
Vapor capsules. These come in varying sizes depending on the size of your storage container, and are applied with a simple adhesive backing.
Plastabs. These are light, thin polyethylene squares with VCI molded into the plastic to prevent garden tool rust for up to two years.
If you have questions about which solution will best protect your garden tools, our team at Zerust can help.
Contact Zerust for information on how to prevent hand tool rust by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.
How to Keep Garden Tools Clean, Sharp, Rust-Free, By Tim Johnson, director of horticulture for the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Jan. 8, 2018, The Chicago Tribune
Growing Concerns: Get your garden tools and equipment ready for winter storage, Nov. 13, 2020, London Free Press
More Blog Entries:
How to Prevent Hand Tool Rust, Keeping Your Tools Working and Looking New, Feb. 25, 2020, Zerust Rust Prevention Blog