The All Natural Cleaning Agent That'll Leave Your Garden Tools Sparkling

Garden tools no doubt endure some serious wear and tear. Caked-up dirt can make them difficult to use, and leaving them out in the rain is a quick way to make them rusty. Before you go and buy some new tools, take some time to clean them up to see if they'll work like they used to. Baking soda is a hard-working cleaning agent that will clean your tools in a jiffy, and best of all, you probably already have it in your house. While it does wonders on its own, pairing it with other ingredients in your kitchen will make it even more effective.

Baking soda removes dirt and grime but when paired with other ingredients, can also take care of pesky rust stains. If you tend to be forgetful and leave your tools out over winter, stock up on baking soda, and you can clean them up with ease when you find them in the spring. Not only is it a convenient way to clean, but it's also free of harsh or harmful chemicals.

Why baking soda makes a great cleaning agent

Baking soda is used for a myriad of things, from cleaning to health to preservation, due to its antibacterial properties and ability to absorb odor. It's a type of salt that comes from mineral deposits. It was discovered in the 1790s but wouldn't become a household staple for about 70 years. Baking soda is made up of particles and is considered a mild abrasive due to its finely-grained texture. Abrasive components are included in cleaning products because they remove several types of stains thanks to their grittiness. This is a big reason why baking soda is such a good cleaner for garden tools; you need some grit to remove grime and rust.

Even though baking soda is gritty and capable of removing dirt, it's safe to use on many surfaces because it isn't corrosive. You can use it on stainless steel  — a common gardening tool material — without having to worry about scratching up the surface.

How to make baking soda more effective

Though baking soda works wonders on its own, you may need to enhance its power with the help of other versatile cleaning tools you probably already have at home, like vinegar. Mixed with baking soda, vinegar can help you kick your cleaning power up a notch, and it can even help remove rust and stains. While alkaline baking soda is good at being abrasive, it does need some additional allies if you're looking to remove rust and other mineral deposits. The mix of an acidic liquid loosening rust and the alkaline abrasive scraping it off will help your garden tools look like new.

To use these ingredients for your garden tools, soak cloths in vinegar, wrap them around your tools, and let them sit overnight. If you can take your tools apart, do so and wrap up the individual pieces to get the most coverage. The next day, add some water to baking soda to make a paste and scrub it with a sponge or toothbrush to remove the rust. Repeat this process as needed, put your tools back together, and they will be ready to go for another season of hard work.