How to clean your lawnmower

Guide written by:
Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

63 guides
Lawnmowers should cleaned off after each use to get rid of any grass that has accumulated under the deck and around the cutting blades. The grass box, belt guard and belt will also need to be scrubbed with a brush, pressure washer, spray gun, or scraper. Follow our guide to keeping your lawnmower in great condition.

Important features

  • Cleaning the wheels
  • Disassembling the deck
  • Cleaning the grass box
  • Belt guard

The importance of cleaning your lawnmower

While your choice of lawnmower will generally depend on the size of your lawn, you will still need to consider what kind of maintenance your machine requires, at the risk of having to replace your equipment sooner than you'd like.

A neglected or poorly maintained lawnmower can start to deteriorate pretty quickly. To avoid this problem – and stop you spending more than you need to – let's take a look at the best practices to keep your equipment in perfect working order.

Cleaning your lawnmower on a regular basis

Lawnmower maintenance falls into two categories:

1. Regular cleaning after each use; 
2. General yearly cleaning before winter storage.

Before you start to clean, be sure to kit yourself out with the right tools to make the job easier.

Tools for maintaining your lawnmower  

As with all cleaning or maintenance tasks, you can choose to get by with the bare minimum, or kit yourself out with a range of tools to make life easier:

  • pressure washer is ideal for stripping a grass box;
  • spray gun can be used to avoid bending down to reach dirty areas;
  • high-pressure lance, connected directly to the garden hose, can be used in the absence of a pressure washer;
  • A specially designed mower spatula with a long handle;
  • A bendable or universal scraper to reach tricky spots;
  • A car wheel brush can be very handy;
  • A scrubbing brush can be just as useful;
  • wire brush can be useful for very tough spots;
  • mower jack allows you to work in safety especially if your machine is heavy;
  • Gloves are highly recommended as you can never be too careful;
  • water-repellent lubricant, to apply to any parts that are exposed to moisture once the mower is dry. 

How to maintain different types of lawnmowers

Your first step will to bring your lawnmower somewhere where you can easily collect and get rid of any waste from the mower.

Manual mower

Generally only use for small areas due to its basic design, all these mowers need is a good spray with a hose, a quick brush with a broom and a bit of time to dry in the sun.

Electric or hover mowers

A compact machine, ideal for working around flower beds and over small areas, electric mowers can be made of metal, PVC or reinforced plastic. The mower deck is where most of the work happens, so this is the main part to clean. After unplugging the machine, clean it with a spatula or universal scraper and wire brush to remove the layers of grass that have accumulated over time. After removing the grass residue, cover the motor with a plastic bag and spray down the underside of the deck.

Check the condition of the mower blade and resharpen it if necessary. Once the grass box has been carefully emptied, it can also be given a good clean with a hose or pressure washer, then left to dry in the sun. 

Petrol mowers

Petrol mowers may be self-propelled or push and, depending on the model, can come with a variety of options. As a result, your mower will require fifteen to thirty minutes of cleaning after each use.

Cleaning your petrol mower in 10 steps

  1. For your own safety, disconnect the spark plug.
  2. Do not spin the blade by hand. The cylinder may still be compressed which can cause the blade to spin on its own and hurt you.
  3. When the grass box is empty or almost empty, tilt the mower to 90°, either manually or with a jack, ensuring that the air filter is in the up position so as not to flood the engine. Otherwise, you may have issues when you attempt to restart your machine. 
  4. Remove the blade and check how sharp it is.
  5. Use a scraper to remove any layers of stuck-on grass and use a hose (or better yet, a pressure washer) to clean off the deck.
  6. Reassemble the blade, making sure that it is inserted in the right direction. 
  7. Securely tighten the fixing screw and the supporting washer. 
  8. Remove any built-up grass around the motor with a brush or small broom.
  9. Scrape off any grass from the wheels using a wire brush before it dries. 
  10. Clean the grass box with water and let it dry in the sun. Brush down the ventilation grid.

Self-cleaning deck washer

You may have opted for a mower that is equipped with a self-cleaning deck. If so, you will see that the upper level of the housing contains a quick connect inlet where you can attach your garden hose. Next, it's just a simple case of placing the mower on a surface where you can collect or drain the dirty water. There's no need to tilt the mower, unless you want to check the result after it's done!

Preparing to store your lawnmower for the winter

Preparing a mower for winter storage requires a deeper clean with a few more steps than you would carry out for routine care.

7 tips for properly storing your lawn mower

  1. The mower deck must be meticulously cleaned using a pressure washer to remove any remaining grass and mud.
  2. The belt guard, located inside the housing, must be disassembled. Grass cuttings can often penetrate underneath the deck and can eventually damage the belt, causing it to rot.
  3. The pulleys should also be cleaned.
  4. The wheels must be disassembled to eliminate any potential grime build-up.
  5. The upper part of the deck and the engine must be thoroughly cleaned. If a conventional brush isn't doing the trick, you can use a paint brush to eliminate dust and foreign bodies. Better yet: if you have a compressor, hook it up to get to spots you can't reach by hand.
  6. The grass box must be thoroughly scrubbed. The ventilation grids need to be freed of any dried grass that could eventually prevent the grass from releasing. In this case, a pressure washer is also preferable to a hose.
  7. For machines equipped with deck washers, additional deep cleaning may be required.
  8. Drain the engine, if necessary.
  9. If your blade is dull, sharpen it.
Yearly cleaning requires a bit of hard work and patience. It isn't the most pleasant of tasks to accomplish, but come spring, when your lawnmower is in perfect condition and ready to start the new season, you'll be happy not to have to shell out for a new lawnmower!  

More information

To learn more about lawnmowers and keeping your garden in top shape, follow the links below for related accessories, advice from our editors and more helpful guides:

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Guide written by:

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield 63 guides écrits

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

I was trained as a pipe worker and welder and worked in the industry for 15 years, going all over the UK for large-scale projects. When I decided it was time to stay closer to home - to have time for my own DIY - I took over a local metal shop and eventually went on to become head of a professional engineering firm.

I'm retired now, but I haven't stopped working with my hands. I recently built my own metalwork studio at home - a lifelong dream! I use my welding skills to make sculptures and bespoke furniture. With my studio, I managed to find a piece of paradise where I can let my imagination run wild.

I also love going around to local auctions and boot sales. I always find some interesting old object or tools that I can add to my collection or transform into works of art.

Now that I have the time, I've turned my hand to decorating, painting on canvas and gardening. I'm always developing new technologies and tools to bring my ideas to life. And I'm always happy to give others advice on how they can make their dreams a reality, too!

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