How do you Sterilize Tools/Scissors?

ppod(6 SE NY)June 27, 2010

I have to begin removing blight-infected leaves from the toms (and perhaps also from eggplants).

Setup: Work with at least 2 scissors; one scissors will stand in sterilizer solution while I work with the other scissors. One freshly sterilized scissors per plant.

ÂWhat sterilizer solution is most effective?

ÂMust I scrub my hands with soap and water between plants?

ÂMust I scrub scissors in soap and water prior to using liquid sterilizer solution?

Many thanks for your help and suggestions.


PS I wished the FAQ would have images identifying the common tomato diseases and how to treat them. Just a suggestion.....

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i use and old olive jar with a screw on lid and i put rubbing alcohol in it and let my scissors soak in it when i"m done i can put the lid on and its good for next time

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 5:16PM
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One part household bleach to 9 or 10 parts tap water will sterilize garden tools. If there is a lot of built up residue like the green/black tomato sap, you might want to periodically scrub the tools with kitchen cleanser containing bleach.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 5:37PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Same here - bleach solution. Same as we use in the greenhouse pre-season.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 6:48PM
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col_sprg_maters(Front Range 5)

same here-- 10:1 water to bleach, 30 seconds is all it takes.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 11:35PM
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Rubbing alcohol in a resealable container. The bleach will rust your tools if you don't clean them afterwards (and I didn't remember to do that so I rusted my good pruners). The rubbing alcohol will take care of any microbes so you don't need to clean them before or after and it is good for metal unlike the bleach. The best way to do it on metal is to burn off the alcohol but a soak works fine too.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 4:00PM
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After messing with bleach for years, I recently started using Lysol pop-up wipes, figuring that if they can disinfect countertops, they should work on tools (but I have no scientific evidence they work for pruning tools!)
But it is SOOO much easier than messing with bleach, and it cleans pruning goop right off the metal much better.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 9:05PM
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ppod(6 SE NY)

Thank you all for your feedback. Yes, I noticed that a bleach solution rusted two scissors a tiny bit, but the scissors were inexpensive from Ikea, not my good Felcos, so it's no great loss. Bleach is an effective disinfectant; the problem is finding a safe way to dispose of it when you're not hooked up to a municipal sewer system.

The wipes are an interesting suggestion. Goop built up both on hands and scissors. (How I wish for a faucet and janitor sink in the veg. garden.) Rubbing alchohol also sounds like an easy, practical alternative to bleach. I also thought of Hydrogen Peroxide as a possibility, but it may not do the trick.

Many thanks for posting your ideas. They're greatly appreciated.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:40AM
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I have a a double compartment bucket and I put a cup of bleach in a gallon of water on one side and plain water on the other. Dip in the bleach side first and then in the plain side. I wear nitrile gloves and make sure they are sterilized also.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 7:07PM
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