Keep your lawn mower as good as new with these simple clean-up tips. Take care to note that it is the easiest to clean the mower just after you have cut the lawn when the grass is still wet.
Without much ado let us help you with a step-by-step guide on how to clean a lawn mower to increase its longevity and performance.
Instruction Before Cleaning The Lawn MOwer
- Small debris pieces and grass could accumulate in the tiny parts of your engine which can disable speed control, cause engine damage, and overheating. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use only the recommended gas and oil type when cleaning the unit.
- The owner’s manual will have details on how to secure the fuel tank to avoid spillage. Following the manual will let you steer clear of costly mistakes that could void the warranty claim.
Once you are done reading the manual and have carried out all the safety checks it is time to start with the cleaning.
Cleaning The Exterior
A clean exterior ensures trouble-free operation. Spilled fuel, dirt, grass, and fertilizers corrode and shorten the lifespan of the machine. Give your lawn mower a quick clean each time you ride it.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Fill warm water in a bucket and mix a multi-purpose detergent.
- Rinse your mower using a hose but make sure to avoid high pressure.
- Scrub the debris and dirt with the water and detergent mix using a non-abrasive brush.
- Rinse the exterior using a hose.
- Lubricate the pivot points and spindles with a spray lubricant.
- Let the mower dry and then store it.
- If you notice any paint chips then give it a quick touch-up as chipped paint is prone to rust.
Cleaning The Lawn Mower Deck
The deck is the underside of the mower that lets the machine cut grass efficiently which also minimizes the spread of lawn diseases. Frequent deck cleaning is recommended. The grass that is stuck on the deck is prone to rust.
Here are the steps to follow to clean the mower deck:
- Tilt the mower but before that follow the proper tilting guidelines as written in the owner’s manual.
- Disconnect the battery or the spark plug.
- Fill a bucket with warm water and add a multi-purpose detergent to it.
- Spray on the underside using a hose. This will loosen the dirt, dust, and grass.
- Use the water and detergent mix and scrub the deck with a cloth or sponge. You may need a hard scraper to remove stubborn dirt and grass clippings.
- Rinse with a hose and let the mower dry before you store it.
- Reconnect the battery or spark plug.
- This is also the ideal time to check if the mower blade needs to be sharpened or replaced.
Cleaning The Grass Bag
Grass clips stuck on the mower bag cause foul smell, mold, and mildew. It also shortens the mowers’ life.
Here are the steps to clean the grass bag:
- Remove the detachable grass bag and empty the grass clippings.
- An air compressor helps to loosen the grass particles. Turn the bag inside out and blow the air compressor to remove the particles.
- Fill a bucket with warm water and to it add a multi-purpose detergent.
- Rinse the bag inside out with a hose.
- A soft-bristled brush should be used to scrub the bag.
- Reattach the bag before you store the mower.
- Self-bagging mowers are a smart investment that leaves the clippings back in the lawn.
Cleaning Lawn Mower Engine
Make sure to remove the spark plug before you start cleaning the engine. This is to prevent the engine from starting accidentally.
Here are the steps to clean the mower engine:
- Remove the screen and detach the blower housing.
- You will need an engine degreaser, garden hose reel, cold water, and a brush to clean the engine.
- Avoid compressed air as it could push the debris into the smaller parts.
- The engine should be completely cold before you start cleaning it.
- Do not clean any corroded plugs, rather just replace them.
- Use a bristle brush to wash the flywheel fins, radiator cooling finds, and the blower housing inside.
- Clean the throttle linkage, mower choke, and the battery terminals.
- The fittings and battery posts should be lubricated to prevent corrosion.
Cleaning The Engine Spark Plug
A dirty spark plug should be cleaned well so that the mower starts without trouble.
Here are the steps to follow to clean the engine spark plug:
- Remove the spark plug and the black wire from the mower.
- Use a brake cleaner and spray it on the spark plug. Let it sit for some time.
- A wire brush should be used to scrub on the metal threads of the spark plug
- Keep repeating the process till you can remove as much dirt as you can.
Cleaning The Fuel System
If you notice an unusual or excessive noise when running your lawn mower then it is probably a fault with the fuel line.
Here are the steps to clean the fuel line:
- Turn off the machine.
- Remove the spark plug.
- Locate the fuel system present on the underside of the mower.
- Empty the gas tank.
- Find out the fuel valve present at the gas tank base and turn it off.
- Check the tank and if it is cracked or damaged then just go ahead and replace it.
- To clean the fuel system use an air hose equipped with a nozzle.
Cleaning The Carburetor
The carburetor is responsible if your mower stalls run rough or inefficiently burn fuel.
There are two ways to clean the carburetor. You may choose to keep it on or take it off to clean it. The decision about removing or keeping it in the mower to clean it depends on how dirty the carburetor is.
The Carburetor On The Mower
Here are the steps to follow to clean the carburetor keeping it on the mower:
- Take a photo to use as a reference when you put things back.
- Remove the spark plug.
- Take out the outer casing and then open the air filter to see the carburetor.
- A brush or an air compressor can be used to remove the dirt and clippings.
- Spray a carburetor cleaner on the linkage and outer part. Use a brush to scrub the stubborn dirt.
- Reconnect back the spark plug. Then start the motor and spray the cleaner in and around the carburetor center.
- Let the mower run for some time.
- Reattach the air filter and the outer casing.
Carburetor Off The Mower
Here are the steps to follow to clean the carburetor taking it off the mower:
- Take pictures for reference to help when reassembling.
- Disconnect the spark plug and remove the cover and the air filter.
- Undo the fuel linkage and detach the fuel line.
- Unbolt and remove the carburetor and pull it from the bottom.
- Clean its parts with a cloth.
- Use compressed air and dry the carburetor components.
- Reassemble the carburetor, rebolt it and attach the linkage and fuel line.
- Reinstall the air filter and outer cover.
- Reconnect the spark plug.
Cleaning The Air Filter
The air filter is an important part of the machine and not cleaning it could damage the engine severely. There are two kinds of air filters, namely foam and paper air filters.
Cleaning foam air filters
Here are the steps to clean foam air filters:
- Remove the spark plug and take out the air filter.
- Use a brush to remove the dirt from the filter housing.
- Wash the air filter with a detergent, rinse it well, and let it dry completely.
- The foam mower filter should be saturated with clean engine oil.
- Use a cloth to remove the excess oil.
- Reinstall the air filter and reattach the spark plug.
Cleaning the paper air filter
Paper air filters are inexpensive and should be replaced often. Only if it is lightly soiled should you attempt to clean it:
Here are the steps to follow:
- Disconnect the spark plug.
- Remove the air filter and use compressed air to clean its compartments.
- Use your finger and tap the filter to dislodge the dirt.
- Reinstall the air filter and reconnect the plug.
Cleaning The Blades
The lawn mower blades should be clean and sharp at all times to give the grass a clean cut.
Here are the steps to clean the blade:
- Rinse the blade with a strong jet of water.
- Use gloves if you need to clean some debris with your hand.
Regular cleaning of your lawn mower improves its efficiency and increases its lifespan. Wet grass traps moisture on the underside of the mower which builds up rust reducing the performance of the mower.
All of these can be prevented only if you clean and maintain the lawn mower at regular intervals following the correct procedure. It is recommended to clean your lawn mower at least once a month in the peak season. And before you put it away at the end of the mowing season give your lawn mower a thorough clean-up else be prepared for a difficult spring cleaning.