Don’t let diseases spread while cutting and pruning — use this simple info to clean your garden tools! While bleach kills the most organisms, it can corrode metal tools and irritate your skin or breathing passageways and damage clothing if it drips. Ninety-one percent isopropyl alcohol is nearly as good and won’t damage blades or clothing. Original Listerine®, Lysol® and Pine-Sol®, used undiluted, will disinfect, too.
Dip the blades into your solution and wipe them with a cloth or paper towel, just like we did here. If you’re concerned about transmitting a virus or vascular disease, such as cankers, fire blight, sudden oak death or aster yellows, it’s good to dip tools as you move from plant to plant. Just remember that disinfecting blades won’t prevent the spread of fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew or black spot.