After a long winter, is completely normal that you find your garden hose in bad conditions. Most people might think that it’s not useful anymore and buy another one. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Even though metal garden hoses are thought to last, at last, 10 years. So, if your hose hasn’t lived that long, forget the idea of throwing it away and buying a new one, because it has a long life ahead. In this post, I’m going to show how to perfectly clean your hose and I’m going to give you some tips to maintain it.
As I have just said, no matter how dirty your hose, there is a solution. It’s been a very long time since I have my beautiful garden and I have to clean my garden hose every summer. A whole year of being a drag on the floor takes its toll on it. You shouldn’t leave the dirt to take over your hose, because it can be a source of infection. Especially if you have kids around.
I wouldn’t like my grandchildren to play around a dirty hose. So, pay close attention to these simple steps to make your hose look like if it were brand new.
1. Soak it in bleach
One of the best solutions and the easiest as well is to use bleach to clean your hose. But how do I do it without damaging my lawn? Well, that’s a great question, actually, because it took me some time to give with the perfect solution.
You need to leave the hose soaked in the bleach for a certain time (no more than 24 hours). But hoses are normally very long, and there’s normally nothing you can that fit it. Any bucket you might have is going to be small. And you can’t do it directly in the lawn because, no matter how natural the bleach is, it will surely damage it.
What do I recommend then? Well, I normally use an old small plastic swimming pool my grandchildren used to use when they were little. It has got the perfect size for me to clean my hose.
For how long
You need to find the perfect balance between perfectly cleaning the hose and leaving it useless. I would recommend no more than 24 hours, as the bleach is very powerful and could excessively damage it.
2. Use a good brush to scrub the surface
The bleach helps to detach a bit the dirt from the hose surface. Nevertheless, the bleach alone isn’t enough to perfectly clean all the dirt from the hose. You need to scrub it with a good brush. What I recommend is to leave it in the little swimming pool (or wherever you have put it with the bleach) for a couple of hours and then take it out and scrub it with a good brush. You should repeat this process three or four times until the hose is gleaming.
What type of brush should I use?
That’s another great question. If you pick a brush that’s too soft, you are not going to be able to detach the dirt from the hose surface no matter how long you leave it soaking in bleach. On the contrary, if the brush is too hard, you might damage it and even break it, leaving it completely useless.
A medium-hardness brush will be perfect. What I normally use is a sponge with a hard side. I, of course, use the hard side but taking always care of not scrubbing too hard in order to nor break the hose.
It’s important that you soak the brush or the sponge in bleach, to ease your work.
How to clean the hose nozzle?
Now that you know how to clean the hose, we are going to see how to clean the nozzle. This might seem a bit weird, as it is in constant contact with water, so, it is constantly being cleaned, right? No.
The minerals that water containers are deposited in the nozzle together with dirt and grime from the garden. And as I am sure you don’t want to clean your stuff with a dirty nozzle, I am going to explain how to perfectly clean it to remove all the dirt without damaging it.
- Prepare a bucket with 4 cups of hot water and 1 /4 cup bleach. As the nozzle is not so big, a normal-size bucket you have around is enough
- Add two mild dish-washer pods to the bleach and water solution
- Put the nozzle inside for 15 minutes
- When these 15 minutes are gone, take the nozzle out and scrub its surface with a sponge. You can use an old toothbrush to clean the inside
- After cleaning it with the sponge, put the nozzle back in clean water so the dirt that might remain is detached from it
- Leave it to dry on the air and it will be ready to use in no time
It’s very important to keep the nozzle clean, as that dirt attached to the inside and the border is in direct contact with the water you are using. And I am sure you don’t want to fill your children or grandchildren summer swimming pool with dirty water or let them play with a dirty hose.
How to correctly maintain your garden hose to make it last
- Keep it clean is one of the basic steps to make your hose last, but there are plenty of other things you can do to maintain it in good shape for a long time. I have prepared a list with the things you should and shouldn’t do in order to maintain your hose as if it were new.
- Mind the length. Try not to buy a very long hose. It’s normal that you think that if you have a big garden, you need a very long hose. The longer the better, some might think. But this couldn’t be further from reality. The bigger the hose is, the easier it is to yank, snag and twist it. And all this damage it little by little. Moreover, an extra-long hose is very difficult to store, and it’s likely to end forgotten on the floor, which isn’t good either.
- Avoid dragging the hose by the nozzle as it can create kinks. If you need to move the hose from one side of the garden to the other, try not to drag it from the nozzle, as this weakens the coupling where the nozzle connects with the hose and this leads to future leaking problems you absolutely don’t want. With the time, it’s normal that this connection point weakens naturally, and you’ll end up having leaks. But you don’t have to speed up the process by taking it wrong.
- Drain the hose every day. If you don’t do this, you are leaving your hose pressurized for long periods, which will end up stretching the inner tube and increasing the possibility of having leaks in the future. To avoid this, you should drain the hose at the end of every day. It takes you no more than five minutes, and you’ll see the life of your hose increased. To do this you just have to shut off the water and turn on the nozzle until all the water is out.
- Don’t let it exposed to the sunlight directly for long periods of time. The sunlight can damage the outer layer of the hose, creating cracks that translate into water leaks. Moreover, they also heat up the water, making it expand, and this weakens the inner tube.
Always roll it up after using it. If you always leave it on a pile on the floor, you must know that this way you are increasing the chances of getting cracks on the surface. The ideal would be for you to get a hose reel. They are not expensive and are pretty useful when it comes to keeping your hose organized. But if you don’t have one, you can always roll it around an empty trash bin.
How to repair hose leaks
Even if you follow all the previous steps and tips to keep your hose safe and sound, years do not pass by in vain for anyone and you still have some water leaks if your hose is a bit old. There are many factors that can cause that over which we have no control at all. Nevertheless, you don’t have to worry about that, because the leaking problem is not too serious, it can be solved easily.
Depending on the type of leak and their size, you will have to do one thing or another. Pay close attention:
- PINKHOLE LEAKS. First of all, clean a dry the area to help the glue stick better. Then, apply rubber cement or the type of glue used to fix bike inner tubes. When the glue is dry, you only have to wrap the area with silicone rubber tape to create a watertight seal, and you’ll have it ready to be used.
- RECURRING LEAKS. If the leaking is recurring, you might consider replacing that certain part. You have to cut the damaged section. For that, you can use gardening shears. After, soak the cut part in hot water and lubricate the sides. You can re-attach that section with clamps. This should be enough to eliminate the recurring leaks.
- LEAKS WHERE THE HOSE CONNECTS WITH THE SPIGOT. The most recurrent problem is that the rubber washer inside the coupler of the hose. If that’s the case, you just have to replace it to solve the problem.
Now you know everything you need to know to make your garden hose last forever.