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Best Ways to Clean Your Tools

Clean, well-maintained tools are the linchpin of any successful rendering project. Regular cleaning and maintenance of rendering tools such as trowels, hawks, and render spray machines not only ensure efficient performance but also extend the lifespan of the tools. Let’s explore the importance of cleaning your tools and delve into the most effective cleaning methods, focusing on innovative solutions like mixing paddle cleaner attachments and practical tips for render spray machines.

Why is it important to clean your tools?

Material buildup

Material buildup on rendering tools can drastically impact their efficiency and performance. When residual materials, especially rendering compounds, are left on tools like trowels, hawks, and mixing paddles, they can harden and adhere strongly to the surfaces, making subsequent removal challenging. Here’s why preventing material buildup is crucial and how it impacts the functionality of the tools:

  1. Maintains surface smoothness: Clean tools ensure that the surfaces remain smooth and free of irregularities. Any buildup can create uneven surfaces, leading to a poor-quality finish and application.
  2. Ensures accurate results: Material buildup can alter the true form of the tool, affecting the accuracy and precision during application. This can result in inconsistencies in the thickness and texture of the applied render. Ultimately, this compromises the aesthetic and structural integrity of the work.
  3. Avoids cross-contamination: When different rendering materials mix due to residue left on tools, it can cause chemical reactions or colour discrepancies, impacting the final result. Cleaning tools between uses is vital to prevent contamination between different types of renders or colours.
  4. Enhances efficiency: The accumulation of dried material can add weight to the tools and reduce the contact area with the rendering material. Therefore, more effort and time for application and finishing is required, which reduces overall productivity.
  5. Reduces wear and tear: Regular cleaning to prevent material buildup can help in reducing the friction and stress exerted on the tools during use, prolonging their lifespan and maintaining their optimal performance.
clean your tools
Maintain efficiency

The efficiency of rendering tools like trowels, hawks, and render spray machines is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and productivity. The efficiency significantly reduces when tools are not clean. Here’s how maintaining cleanliness ensures the tools’ efficiency and functionality:

  1. Optimal functionality: Regular cleaning ensures that each tool can function at its best, allowing for the precise and smooth application of render. Unclean tools with residue buildup can lead to imperfect application and diminished functionality.
  2. Reduced work effort: Clean, well-maintained tools glide more easily over surfaces, reducing the amount of physical effort required to spread and smooth the render. Conversely, tools clogged with old, dried render require more force and effort to use, leading to quicker worker fatigue.
  3. Time efficiency: Tools that are clean and well-maintained perform their intended tasks much more quickly. There is no need to repeatedly go over the same area due to uneven application from material buildup, saving valuable time on projects.
  4. Enhanced performance: A clean tool has unobstructed edges and surfaces, allowing for maximum contact with the rendering materials and surfaces, ensuring that the tool performs as designed and yields the best possible results.
  5. Fuel and energy conservation: For power tools and machines, cleanliness contributes to better energy efficiency. Clean and well-lubricated components reduce friction and unnecessary energy consumption, leading to optimal performance and longer machine life.
Prolong tool life

The lifespan of rendering tools is greatly influenced by the level of care and maintenance they receive. Proper cleaning is not just about aesthetics or immediate functionality. It’s a critical aspect of ensuring that the tools last as long as possible. Here’s how cleanliness correlates with the longevity of rendering tools:

  1. Prevents corrosion and rust: Regular removal of residual materials and moisture prevents the onset of rust and corrosion on the metal parts of the tools, preserving their structural integrity and functionality over time.
  2. Reduces wear and tear: Clean, well-maintained tools experience less friction and stress during use, reducing the rate of wear and tear. This is especially crucial for tools with moving parts, where accumulated residue can increase friction and cause premature deterioration.
  3. Maintains sharpness and edge integrity: For tools that rely on sharp edges or fine surfaces, maintaining cleanliness helps preserve sharpness and prevent the dulling of edges, ensuring efficient performance and reducing the need for frequent replacements or sharpening.
  4. Enhances structural integrity: By preventing the accumulation of hardened render and other materials, regular cleaning helps in maintaining the tool’s original shape and structure, preventing deformities that can impact performance and lifespan.
  5. Safeguards component health: For powered tools and machines, cleanliness is key to ensuring that internal components remain free of dust, grime, and other contaminants, preventing malfunctions and prolonging component life.
Ensures work quality

Ensuring the quality of work in rendering projects is critically dependent on the condition of the tools used. When tools are kept clean and well-maintained, they perform their best, contributing to higher-quality results. Below are the details explaining how clean tools ensure quality work in rendering:

  1. Precision and accuracy: Clean tools maintain their true form and sharpness, allowing for precise and accurate application of render. Any residue or material buildup can alter the tool’s form, affecting the uniformity and thickness of the applied render, and leading to subpar results.
  2. Smooth application and finish: A clean tool guarantees a smoother application and finish. Any leftover residue on trowels or hawks can create inconsistencies in texture, which causes uneven surfaces and compromises the final appearance.
  3. Prevents contamination: Clean tools prevent the mixing of different rendering materials or colours. This avoids undesired chemical reactions or discrepancies in colour and texture, ensuring the purity and consistency of each application.
  4. Optimised functionality: Tools free from material buildup and corrosion operate more effectively. This ensures optimal contact with surfaces and materials, which is crucial for achieving superior finishes and adherence to the render.
  5. Enhanced reliability: Regular cleaning and maintenance enhance the reliability of tools, reducing the risk of malfunctions or impaired performance during critical stages of the project, and ensuring that the final work meets the desired standards.

Cleaning your tools

After each use, immediately rinse trowels and hawks with water to remove fresh residue. For hardened materials, use a wire brush or scouring pad to scrub off the residue gently. Soaking the tools in water or a cleaning solution can help loosen stubborn residues. After cleaning, thoroughly dry the tools to prevent rusting and store them in a dry place.

Mixing paddles are used to mix basecoat and renders on site. They are crucial tools to ensure a homogenous mixture and even distribution of aggregates. However, they are notoriously difficult to clean. Mixing paddle cleaner attachments are innovative solutions designed for cleaning mixing paddles effortlessly.

Connect the cleaner attachment to a standard bucket filled with water or a cleaning solution. Insert the mixing paddle into the attachment and turn on the drill. The spinning action and the bristles of the cleaner attachment work in tandem to remove residues, ensuring a thoroughly cleaned paddle. Regular use of mixing paddle cleaner attachments prevents the hardening of residues, making subsequent cleanings easier.

  • ewi store mixing bucket
    Quick View

    EWI Store – Mixing Bucket – 33L

    £7.50 Excl. VAT
  • EWI Store - Mixing Paddle Cleaner (for Mixing Bucket - 33L)
    Quick View

    EWI Store – Mixing Paddle Cleaner (for Mixing Bucket – 33L)

    £65.45 Excl. VAT

Spray machines

During use

Use plastic liners or tape – Lining the hopper with a plastic bag or tape ensures that the rendering material does not come into direct contact with the machine. Once the job is done, the liner or tape can be easily removed. Therefore, leaving the inside of the hopper clean and free of residue. The use of liners or tape helps in reducing the cleaning time and effort significantly. It also prevents any scratches or damage to the inner surface of the hopper.

Clean immediately after use – Cleaning the machine right after use prevents the rendering material from hardening and sticking to the machine parts. This makes it easier to clean and maintain the machine’s condition. Immediate cleaning is crucial. Dried and hardened render can obstruct nozzles, degrade hoses, and impair the overall functionality of the machine.

Use appropriate cleaning solutions – Employing the right cleaning agents is crucial to effectively remove any residue. Ensure the cleaning agents used are compatible with the machine’s materials to avoid corrosion or degradation. Consult the machine’s manual for recommended cleaning agents and procedures.


Regular inspection and maintenance – Regularly inspect the machine for any signs of wear, damage, or buildup, and perform necessary maintenance to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Regular check-ups help in identifying and addressing minor issues before they escalate into major problems, reducing downtime and repair costs.

Disassemble for thorough cleaning – Dismantling the machine allows for more thorough cleaning of each component, ensuring no residue is left in hard-to-reach areas. However, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on disassembling and reassembling the machine to avoid damage or improper assembly.

Lubricate moving parts – Proper lubrication of the moving parts reduces friction and wear. Therefore, maintaining the machine’s efficiency and prolonging its life. Regularly lubricate parts as per the manufacturer’s recommendations using suitable lubricants to avoid any adverse reactions with the machine’s materials.

Proper storage – Storing the machine in a clean, dry place protects it from damage such as corrosion and dust accumulation. Proper storage conditions also preserve the integrity of seals and hoses, reducing the risk of leaks and malfunctions.

Use filtered water – When cleaning, using filtered water can prevent the introduction of minerals and contaminants. These can build up and damage the machine over time. Especially in areas with hard water, using filtered or distilled water for cleaning can significantly enhance the lifespan and performance of the machine.


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