Take a few minutes at the end of each day to wipe off dirt and moisture from tools, and you'll be rewarded with tools that make gardening tasks a pleasure. Solvents such as lighter fluid and Liquid Wrench are good for tough cleanup jobs. After pruning conifers and woody shrubs, squirt solvent on a rag, and wipe the sticky sap from the pruner's blades.
To remove rust from long-neglected tools -- like a vintage bulb planter -- cut a scouring pad into manageable pieces, then dampen a piece with solvent and use it to scrub away the rust. When finished, wipe the tool clean. Solvents also help loosen rusted screws and quiet creaky joints. Since many solvents are poisonous, store them securely out of reach of children and pets.