How to clean a tiller or cultivator

Tillers aren’t just soil churning machines, they collect plenty of soil on their travels too. Here is how to clean a cultivator or tiller in 9 simple steps.

Cleaning a garden tiller checklist

Cleaning the blades after every use will prolong the lifespan of your tiller, keep the storage area clean for your tiller and ensure a smooth fast operation. Dirty tillers with damaged blunt blades which are clogged up with roots will not only perform poorly and be frustrating to use but can place an unnecessary strain on the engine causing stalls and damage.

Protect your hands

You will be dealing with sharp blades, so remember to always protect your hands when cleaning your tiller by wearing thick gloves.

Switch off the engine

Prior to cleaning your tiller ensure that the engine is switched off and there is no danger of it accidently being turned on by unplugging the cable of an electric tiller or removing the battery of a cordless electric tiller. Some tillers have the option to lock the blades as an extra precaution.

Read the instructions

Consult with the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean the tiller safely along for any supplemental cleaning instructions relevant to your model.

Brush off dry soil

Dry soil can easily be removed using a stiff brush or by hand with gloves.

Rinse off mud

Damp clumpy soil which is clinging to the blades and drag bar on the tiller may require carefully rinsing with a garden hose, always use a controlled slow trickle of water to reduce the risk of the water going near the engine.

Remove vegetation

Roots, weeds or long grass which have been tangled in the tines and axle can be removed using a sharp knife, long nose pliers or needle nose pliers.


When using water to clean the tines always dry them afterwards with a cloth or towel to prevent rusting.


Use the opportunity to inspect the tiller blades for any signs of damage and blunt blades. Most steel blades are coated with a durable thick paint treatment to help prolong the lifetime of the metal, however this paint can be chipped against rocks and stones making it susceptible to rust. Check cables powering electric tillers for damage and look to repair or replace these before using the tiller again. Check that the tyres on the tiller are fully inflated with no signs of a puncture.


When storing the tiller for extended periods of time and are limited by the amount of storage space you have available it may be worth removing the blades for a thorough clean, coating them with oil such as WD40 then storing them separately. Gas powered tillers will need additional oiling for both parts and also replacing engine oil.

How often do I clean roots from tiller tines?

To prolong the life of your tiller and prevent stress on the tines you should clean your tiller after every use. If you notice that you are pulling out lots of roots from your tiller tines it could be that the soil is too wet, damp ground makes it easier for the tines to pull out roots from the soil.

What is the best way to remove grass from tiller tines?

If you cannot remove grass from tiller tines by hand then try a sharp knife, long nose pliers, needle nose pliers or a stiff brush, remembering to cut all power to the tiller first and wear gloves.

Can I replace the tines on a tiller?

Blades are probably the most common part of a tiller to be replaced, when purchasing a new tiller it is prudent to check the availability of spare tiller tines from the manufacturer and purchase a backup set if budget allows. In the situation where you break a tine and replacements have been discontinued by the manufacturer your only choice will be to buy an entirely new tiller.

Contacting your tiller manufacturer

Contact the retailer, supplier or manufacturer when you need to replace a part on your tiller, for your convenience here are a list of popular tiller manufacturers support pages with contact details for customer services.

ManufacturerSupportCustomer services
BCCBCC Support1-800-543-1040
CraftsmanCraftsman Support888-331-4569
DRDR Support1-802-737-7984
EarthquakeEarthquake SupportContact online
HondaHonda Support770-497-6400
HusqvarnaHusqvarna SupportContact online
MantisMantis Support1-800-366-6268
MacKissicMacKissic Support1-800-348-1117
RemingtonRemington Support866-206-2707
SimplicitySimplicity Support1-844-339-9201
Troy-BiltTroy-Bilt Support1-800-828-5500


  • toptillers.comTiller Maintenance And Troubleshooting – All of your questions answered about tiller maintenance and troubleshooting and some common malfunctions the tool may face. 4th October 2018.
  • tractorbynet.comHow often do you clean roots from tiller tines? –  19th July 2020.