With proper care and maintenance, you can keep your hosepipe in tip-top condition to last for years to come. Taking proper care of your garden hose will involve some general maintenance and upkeep throughout the year.

As one of the leading suppliers of garden hoses and water irrigation systems in the UK, we thought it was about time we share some handy tips for caring for your garden hose all year long. In this garden hose care guide, you’ll find maintenance tips, hose cleaning tips, as well as some general do’s and don’ts for looking after your garden hose.

Garden hose maintenance

General hose maintenance tips

There are some really simple ways you can keep your garden hose in great condition all year long. We have a look at some of the top tips for garden hose care below.

Don’t let water build up in the hose

Leaving water in the hose can cause problems with unwanted bacteria in the interior funnel of the hose. This can cause issues with degradation to the inner tube, so after every use, drain out all the excess water before putting the hose away. This is why you should always let the hosepipe run dry every time you use it. Water pressure can build up if there’s excess water which can lead to a burst hosepipe. Turn the water off at the spigot and allow the hose to drain. Angle the garden hose downwards so that any excess water can drain out easily.

Be mindful of colder conditions

Water expands when it freezes, which means if you leave water in the hose in winter, the water can freeze, expand, and cause cracks and holes to appear in the lining. Caring for your hose in winter mainly consists of proper storage, and avoiding exposing it to freezing temperatures which could affect the hosepipe material.

Avoid direct sunlight

In the summer months, be mindful to clear the hose of any excess water after each use. In the summer, leftover water can heat up if exposed to the sun’s rays, which can be detrimental to the rubber. Direct sunshine can damage, crack or rupture the exterior layer of the hose. Water left inside the tube can also heat up and potentially damage the inner lining. UV rays over time can also damage the external hose lining, so try to store your hose out of direct sunlight. If this is unavoidable, use a hosepipe cover.

Don’t use the hosepipe nozzle as a handle

Manoeuvring your hose using the nozzle can damage the nozzle connection, causing leaks. Dragging your hose along in this manner won’t do the connecting parts any good, so it’s always worth moving the hose when it is still coiled up, if possible.

Store your hose away properly after use

Avoid leaving your hose in a mangled mess on the lawn after using it. This can create kinks in the hose lining, that can eventually lead to cracks and tears. Proper storage options such as a hose reel keep your hose in a good condition all year round while keeping it safe and out of the way, where it can not only be exposed to harsher weather conditions but can be a trip hazard too!

Hose storage guidelines

An important consideration for any gardener or professional gardener is hose storage. It’s very important to store and care for your hose properly, to avoid unnecessary wear, tear and damage over time. Proper hose storage can avoid deterioration because of sunlight or frost, and can help to avoid unwanted kinks appearing, too.

Hose storage solutions include

Garden hose reels

Hose reels are common and allow for loose but balanced coiling. Garden hose reels are a great way to properly store and maintain your hose reel for years to come, allowing you to safely put away your hose. Hose reels can help to avoid kinks and bends appearing in your hose, so are a good investment to make.

Hose pot

A practical and attractive way to coil a hose, and store it safely out of sight. Hose pots can become a garden feature, while also providing a useful place to store your garden hose when not in use.

Hose hangers

Hose hangers attach to the side of the house or garage - the design of the hanger spreads the weight of the hose evenly to avoid kinks that would occur if just a nail hung it up.

Hose storage tips

  • Never hang your hose on a nail.
  • Invest in a proper hose hanger or storage mechanism such as a hose reel for continued use, as such devices allow for large loops for proper, balanced, loose coiling.
  • Remove any attachments before you put your hose away for winter.
  • Store your hose in a sheltered spot out of direct sunlight, if possible.

How to avoid kinks in your hosepipe

One of the main reasons why hoses need to be replaced is because the hose has developed a kink or a crack. This can be a result of poor care and inadequate storage, which has meant that the hose hasn’t been properly stored and an awkward fold has impacted the rubber lining. Similarly, leaving your hose out in the hot sun or freezing cold can damage the hose, and cause cracks to appear. Water pressure caused by bends and kinks can lead to further hose damage which is why it’s always best to deal with a bend or kink sooner rather than later.

How to coil a hose without kinks

The coiling method is most appropriate for storing your garden hose without kinks. Aim to coil and store your hose on a hose reel to keep it safe. Storing on a hose rack or hose reel is an ideal way to maintain your hose when it’s not in use.

How to coil a hose:

A great method for coiling a garden hose is the over/under method. It's a little hard to explain, so I have included a video to watch below (credit to Gardener's Supply YouTube channel). It's the method used by the pro's for coiling garden hose or any type of cable.

  • Turn off the water supply and disconnet the hose from the tap.
  • Begin by placing the end of the hose in you hand.
  • Bend the hose in a loop as normal that measures 2-3 feet in diameter. This is the over loop.
  • Next, bend the hose in a loop but aim to tuck it under itself (the video demonstrates this).
  • Continue to make over/under loops alternately and stack them on top of each other until the whole hose is coiled.

Coiling up your hose onto a Hose Reel

If you have a hose reel, read the tips for coiling up your hose onto a hose reel in our Hose Reel guide.

  • Disconnect the hose before you reel it in.
  • Wind the hose in from a straight angle.
  • Always wind up the garden hose to the hose reel carefully to avoid kinks or twists appearing.
  • Make loops and stack them on top of each other until the whole hose is coiled.

TOP TIP: It’s better to water plants in the evening or early morning rather than in the middle of the day. This is for two reasons - to protect the hose but also ensure the temperature is appropriate for the plants to benefit from the water as much as possible without it being evaporated by the midday sun.

A note on expandable hoses

Take extra care with expandable hoses! These are light and easy to use, but can be known for shorter shelf life with improper use. Avoid overstraining these or leaving them unkempt and untidy.

Tap connector seals and washers maintenance

Generally, you should aim to change the seals and washers of your tap connectors once a year as a rule of thumb to prevent wear and tear, cracks or damage. Disconnect the tap connector and reconnect it at least twice a year to help maintain the proper seal of the washer. Replacing often is a simple and low-cost solution, but if you notice a water leak before the appropriate time to replace it, you need to deal with this as soon as possible. Inspect the hose and the washer to ensure that it isn’t broken or leaking. Replace the seals and washers if they have deteriorated.

How often should you replace your hose?

In general, a good garden hose should last between 5 and 10 years. The best garden hoses come with a 30-year guarantee.

Garden hose repair guidelines

Garden hose leaks - what to do

Hose leaks can waste a lot of water, and can also damage the hose over time if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to address a hose leak as soon as you see it. Water pressure can cause further cracks to appear to the point where the hose is unusable.

What can cause hose pipe leakage?

Hosepipe leaks can be caused by kinks in the hosepipe leading to further cracking and holes appearing in the pipelining. Additionally, general wear and tear and damage from excessive heat or cold can also cause cracks and holes in your hosepipe.

How to repair a leak in the garden hose

The leak in your hose should be obvious to spot when your hose is pressurised. Water will bubble or spray from the leak if this is the case. Some duct tape is a good short-term solution to stop the leaking.

Follow these steps below to permanently repair a leaking hose:

  • Run some water through the hose to see where the water is leaking from.
  • Mark it with tape so you can find it easily again afterwards.
  • Take a sharp knife or a large pair of scissors and cut through the hose at either side of the main leak.
  • Use a hose repair connector that will allow you to still use your hose, working efficiently to fix the issue.

This method is also known as splicing.

Hose mending kits

Hose mending kits consist of brass and a plastic fitting with two clamps and will fit both ½” and 3’4” diameter hoses.

Other hose repair ideas

Using rubber cement to repair your hose

Drying out the hose and replacing the hole with rubber cement can also work. Don’t forget to avoid getting too much cement through the hole and into the hose - this could clog it up, restrict flow and increase the water pressure inside, leading to further leaks and bursts.

Fixing it with strong, waterproof tape

Waterproof self-amalgamating tape from a DIY shop will also do the trick. Be sure to find high-quality tape, as an incorrect product will lead to more leakage and issues later on.

How to clean your garden hose

How often should I clean my hose?

This depends on how much you use it, but cleaning your hose every 3 - 4 months should do the trick for general upkeep.

How do I clean my outdoor garden hose?

You can use bleach or white vinegar to clean your garden hose. Rubber garden hoses are pretty easy to clean. After continuous use, it's natural for garden hoses to get covered in dirt and dust buildup.

How to clean your garden hose with bleach

  • Measure out 60ml of bleach in a 5-litre bucket of water.
  • Place the hose in the water carefully to avoid harmful splashback.
  • Let the hose soak in the bleach for between 8-24 hours. This is to help ensure the bleach removes any debris or germs.
  • Remove the hose and soak it in the second bucket of bleach-free water. This will help to rinse off any leftover residue.
  • Let the water run through the hose too to remove any build-up.

How to clean your garden hose with bleach

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant so can be used in the hose as well.

  • Measure out 120 ml of vinegar in a bucket of water.
  • Let the hose soak in the mixture for up to 24 hours.
  • Remove the hose and rinse the hose with clean, cold running water thoroughly to dislodge and remove any excess dirt.

How to clean your garden hose with essential oils

Essential oils also work well and can be used to clean your garden hose. Essential oils such as tea tree are also natural disinfectants.

  • Mix the oil into a clean cloth and wipe down the external side of the hose.
  • Rinse by passing clean running water over it for a while.
  • You can also clean the interior of a hose with essential oils as this is a natural substance.

How to clean a hose fitting and nozzle

Use a mild dishwashing detergent for cleaning the fittings and nozzle, and with a non-abrasive sponge, clean the nozzle and hose fittings. You can also use a toothbrush to rigorously scrub and remove dirt from hard-to-reach places. Warm water and a mild liquid soap will do the trick, and by soaking the fittings and nozzle for 30 minutes you should naturally see a lot of the dirt be displaced. Once all the dirt is removed, rinse the nozzle, and dry it with a clean piece of cloth.

For more on all things garden irrigation, explore our help and advice section for more. Check out our collection of garden hoses, or feel free to contact us with any questions about choosing the right garden hose.