Neglecting to keep everything in its best working order can be one of the easiest pitfalls when it comes to tool ownership. Whilst it can be tempting to break out the tools only at the moment that there is a task that needs to be done, neglecting them at all other times is a certain path towards reducing their effectiveness and longevity – in certain cases, it can even be dangerous! Here are a few tips for keeping your tools in their absolute peak condition.

Maintain their batteries

When it comes to power tools, opting for a battery-operated version is often a choice made of convenience. This is what makes it feel particularly terrible when you’re about to pull out a tool for a job, only to find the battery flat, with no spare in sight.

Batteries are a consumable component (yes, even rechargeable ones) and as such will always need to be replaced eventually. However, as with most tool components, there are steps you can take to increase their lifespan.

Firstly, try and ensure that the battery isn’t exposed to any extreme temperatures or moisture, particularly when being used. If pedantic, you can even let the battery sit for a couple of minutes after being taken off the charger and before being put to work. This will allow any extra heat generated from charging to dissipate. Keep batteries at around 50% of charge when they are not being used for an extended period and put the battery back on charge as soon as the low power indicator appears (batteries don’t like to drain completely to 0%).

Keep them clean and organised

With any tool, whether it be standard tools or power tools, it is important to clean them after every use just like you clean up after eating from Swiggy. While this may seem meticulous, it will assist greatly in preventing the early degradation of your tools. Improperly cleaned tools can lead to the appearance of rust or to dirt particles making their way into mechanical parts of the tool.

Cleaning your tools after every use is as simple as using a rag to give them a quick wipe down to remove any cosmetic dirt or grime. For a more thorough clean, use soap and water, drying them off afterwards. With power tools, ensure first that they are unplugged, or the battery is removed. Use a rag to wipe the dirt away from complex components or use compressed air for a more thorough clean.

Keeping your tools organised, such as inside of a suitable tool storage drawer, will help greatly in increasing their lifespan. Tools that have been stored where there is too much moisture in the air will quickly begin to rust, rendering them useless. Keeping your tools organised will also reduce the chance that they’re damaged by – or do damage to – any pets or children.

Inspect for damage

Inspecting your tools closely on a regular basis is essential to maintaining their effectiveness as well as reducing the potential risk of harm to yourself and others. Pay attention to whether your tools are performing worse than usual or if they are making any unusual sounds when being operated. Inspect tools closely for any cracks, splintering on wooden handles, or the presence of rust.

If you are trying to remove mild rust that is already present on a tool, there are several rust-removal products available from your local hardware store. When cleaning rust, particularly off sharp tools, ensure that you wear an appropriate pair of thick gloves.

Mushroom heads begin to appear with time on impact tools such as chisels. These can shatter with time, creating dangerous projectiles that can cause harm to yourself and those working near you. Simply grind down the edges of your tool whenever these mushroom heads appear to prevent this from happening.

Lubricate and sharpen

Many tools and machines require regular lubrication, which can often be easy to neglect. Keeping tools well-lubricated will not only increase their performance but also increase their lifespan – reducing the risk of an early failure. Similarly, keeping drill bits, blades and other tool components regularly sharpened will reduce the amount of effort required when using them. When the tool is motor operated, this means a reduction of stress on the motor, too.

Once again, keeping your tools maintained in this way will make the work easier and faster, while also extending the life of your tools. Always follow the recommended maintenance instructions of each given tool. Otherwise, there are always helpful guides online, such as this helpful guide on how to sharpen an axe.

Creating a maintenance routine for your tools and keeping them in the best shape possible can sometimes feel like it’s adding work on top of work. However, taking a few extra steps with your tools will help you to keep getting the most out of them as time goes on. Rather than replacing them, you’ll be able to keep your tools for longer, saving you both time and money in the long run.