Can You Disinfect Garden Tools With Hydrogen Peroxide?

Dry pruning shear using a blue rag.

Believe it or not, cleaning and disinfecting garden tools with hydrogen peroxide is safe and inexpensive. Hydrogen peroxide is efficient enough to eradicate and prevent the spread of pathogens that are causing diseases in your garden.

As you know, everyday gardening requires garden tools to help get your gardening tasks done with ease.

That is why cleaning and disinfecting your garden tools are two distinct steps you must do to take care of your garden.

But before disinfecting, you have to proceed with the cleaning process. It involves removing soil and other remaining debris like sap from your garden tools.

So, let’s show you how to clean and disinfect your tools so that you can have a clean, worry-free garden.

Disinfecting Your Garden Tools With Hydrogen Peroxide

Inexpensive Disinfectant

Many household products are commonly used as a disinfectant, and a major one is the 3% hydrogen peroxide. It is considered an effective disinfectant by CDC when used in various objects.

Disinfecting your garden tools before and after use is an excellent way to prevent the spread of disease in your garden.

And, hydrogen peroxide is an environmentally friendly product that should be easily accessible in your household or at any local superstore or pharmacy.

2018 study concluded that hydrogen peroxide is effective in eliminating a broader range of bacteria than any other household cleaning product.

Hydrogen peroxide works well as a common disinfectant you can use to help prevent disease-causing bacteria from spreading throughout your garden.

This inexpensive product is potent enough to help resolve your garden and plant issues when stored in dark containers. It loses its potency when exposed to bright lights over time, or when stored incorrectly.

Keep Your Garden Tools Clean

Black pruning shears cutting a yellow rose flower.

Neglecting to provide the necessary care for your gardening tools can create undesired issues, especially when pruning your backyard roses and dwarf fruit trees. These are two common plants that are more likely to get infected.

Here are some easy to follow tips on how to keep your tools sterilized and clean by using the 3% hydrogen peroxide solutions.

  • Spraying a disinfectant solution onto your gardening tools will help keep them clean and free from disease-causing pathogens.
  • However, before spraying, remove any dirt, leaves, and other debris stuck on the tool from your last use.
  • If you find any stubborn sap on pruners that did not rinse clean with water, try to scrub the blades away using a wire brush.
  • Finish the cleaning process by wiping it with a towel or paper tissue.
  • Next, fill the basin or a bucket with about a gallon of warm water.
  • Mix about two cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide into the water to complete the process of your homemade disinfectant solution.
  • Dip the metal parts of your tools into the mixture, but avoid exposing the non-metal materials to prevent damage.
  • Exposing the wooden or plastic parts of your tools to hydrogen peroxide will cause damage over time.
  • Wipe and dry your tools thoroughly after disinfecting.
  • Ensure to disinfect pruning shears and loppers after trimming each bush, to prevent the probability of spreading diseases in between plants or the entire garden.
  • Remember not to put your garden tools away when still wet. Doing so will encourage rust, lessen the quality, and service life of your gardening investments.
  • For added care, a light spray of penetrating oil onto your tool after your gardening tasks can help prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Keeping your garden tools well-sharpened can help you make clean cuts when pruning stems. Clean and smoother cuts help you prevent the possibility of introducing any disease into your plants.

Why Do You Need To Disinfect Garden Tools?

Withered white rose flowers.

Like humans, plants catch diseases that cause them to die when neglected. Pathogens and microscopic pests can be introduced into your garden plants through pruning, breaking limbs, and many others.

Other causing-diseases are garden pests that love to chew the plant’s leaves, leaving an opening for harmful organisms to take advantage of the perforated leaves.

Most plant pathogens can survive in infected soil, stakes, pots, trellises, and tools we use to tend our garden. They often hide in some plants we grow and hide in garden supplies we use from one season to the next.

Tools such as shears, loppers, weed trimmers, hoses, shovels, and many other garden tools can carry contaminants from the soil. Disinfecting these tools is essential before using them on your plants.

Pathogens may not be visible to the human eye, but they are the primary cause of death for plants. They can spread from one plant to another way quicker than you think.

The re-used container pots for replanting, transplanting, and gifting plants should be well-washed and sprayed with a disinfectant solution before using it for the next garden project.

Doing so can prevent the spread of diseases among plants and help lessen the possibility of infestation and rapid plant loss.

Note: Pruning tools with dull blades can tear plant tissue during trimming. It may encourage bacteria to penetrate the branches through the opening. Sharpen them or get a new one if you find them causing more harm than use during your gardening tasks.

How Often Should You Disinfect Your Garden Tools?

Dry pruning shears using a white cloth.
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The best and safest method you can use to ensure your plants are free from disease-causing germs is the practice of disinfecting your tool after working on each plant. However, this isn’t the most ideal option as this will take a ton of energy and consume too much time.

That is why rotating through several garden tools when working in your garden is the smarter and better idea. This technique allows you to complete the garden tasks with your extra tools while disinfecting the others.

Cleaning your garden tools frequently is necessary, but cleaning the tools before storing them for winter is a must. Clean tools will not only allow you to work at ease but also help the tools last longer.

Keeping a bucket of the disinfectant solution close at hand when pruning disease limbs is a smart idea.

Dipping blades into a mixture between pruning makes every plant and fruit tree in your garden safe.

Disinfecting your tools often is beneficial to your plants, but doing so has a disadvantage too. The metal parts frequently exposed in the mixture can rust.

How to avoid rust?

To prevent rust from accumulating onto your garden tools, wipe or spray the tool with very light motor oil. Some dilute the oil with a little amount of kerosene while others recycle used oil from their mowers.

Storing sharpened and sanitized tools in the shed will help prevent moisture that causes rust and dulling.

Should I Disinfect My Garden Too?

Soil covered with clear plastic-sheet secured with brick clay.
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Keeping your garden tools clean and sanitized is essential to keep your plants healthy and productive regardless of what product you prefer.

Pruning shears need exceptional sterilization, among others. These tools will open wounds for plants and branches, especially when propagating softwood cuttings, making them susceptible to the threat of contamination.

While keeping your tool germ-free is a great way to prevent diseases, getting rid of other re-infection sources can also help eradicate disease-causing bacteria.

Brian Hudelson, director of the Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic at the University of Wisconsin, says fungi, water molds, bacteria, and nematodes can survive on a surface for years, even in adverse conditions.

To address this problem, disinfecting your garden soil through solarization is another way to prevent the spread of disease in your garden.

This technique uses the intense sun’s heat to cook weed seeds, nematodes, insects, soil pathogens, and other bacteria-causing diseases. All you need is to take advantage of the intense power of the sun and use some clear plastic.

This method is especially helpful if you grow the same family of vegetables the following year.

Cleaning up your garden and greenhouses thoroughly in winter and the fall can also help deal with disease problems such as powdery mildew, various leaf spots, and other bacterial diseases.

Remember that disinfecting your garden soil to prevent the spread of pathogens is now a lot easier with the help of bright sunlight and the transparent plastic sheet. Take advantage of a natural way to decontaminate your garden soil.

Final Thoughts On Disinfecting Garden Tools With Hydrogen Peroxide

Pruning a high-infected part of the tree like branches is the best way to prevent the spread of plant disease and fungus.

However, cutting infected branches or plants can contaminate the pruning tools you use, and this disease will move on from one plant to the next if that tool is not disinfected.

So, keeping your garden tools clean is essential for them to work well and prevent the spread of various plant diseases.

Some tools, like loppers and shears, which often come into contact with plants, are the primary cause of pathogen transmission. Clean and sterilize them between trees to avoid infection.

Using inexpensive household products like hydrogen peroxide, bleach, Lysol, and many others to clean and disinfect your garden tools is a great way to improve longevity.

They work as disinfectants by destroying the microbe’s cell components and will disable a wide range of harmful microorganisms, including spores, viruses, and fungi.

Now you know everything you need to know about disinfecting your garden tools and keeping your garden disease-free. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask below.


About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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