You've Been Cleaning Your Gardening Tools Wrong This Entire Time

Just when you thought no task could be as daunting as yard work — trimming overgrown hedges, raking leaves, and weeding expanses of lawn — you're smacked in the face with the arduous chore of cleanup. "But you don't have to clean gardening tools," you might tell yourself. Actually, you do. Just because you store tools like spades and pruning shears in the dusty confines of your shed or garage doesn't mean you get a free pass.

If you don't properly clean your gardening tools, it can lead to all kinds of problems. The edges of blades may dull, rust spots may form, and soil and sap containing diseases can accumulate and spread, according to The Spruce. These issues can shorten the lifespan of your utensils. Don't overlook your pots and planters, either. You could harm your plants by cross-contaminating them via dirty containers full of pests, fungus, or disease.

Unfortunately, if you want what's best for your yard, you should take the extra time to clean your tools, even when you're tired after a long day of labor. However, if you can't be bothered with a full scrub down, there's a hack that takes half the time and does the job just as well.

This tool cleaning hack is a lifesaver

Did you know that you can clean most small gardening tools in the dishwasher? As long as they're metal — and not made of copper or cast iron — they're good to go, per The Spruce. If you think about it, silverware is made of similar material, so the process works the same way. Just keep your wood-handled tools out of the mix because wood and moisture don't usually mesh.

If you try out this hack, the top rack of the dishwasher is your best bet for loading gardening tools because it keeps them farthest away from the machine's heating element and makes them less prone to damage during the drying cycle. Also, don't forget to add dishwasher detergent like normal to remove sticky residue from tree sap and the like. 

Other outdoor items you can throw in the dishwasher for a quick clean include flower pots, rubber boots, and grill grates. When you're done, just make sure to run the dishwasher's self-cleaning cycle or give it a good sanitizing before doing your next load of dishes.