Do I Need to Clean the Deck of My Lawn Mower?

Plus How to Care for Your Mower at the End of Mowing Season

Lawn mower and grass
You rely on your mower all summer. Make sure it's in tip-top shape. Sean Hobson/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

 A commonly asked question by readers who are not exactly neat freaks is, Do I need to clean the deck of my lawn mower? Follow-up questions include:

  1. If so, why?
  2. If so, how often?
  3. If so, exactly how do I go about this job?

Another question I get all the time regards what TLC to give a lawn mower when you are ready to put it away for winter for another year. I answer both of these questions below.

Cleaning Lawn Mower Decks

Yes, clean the deck of you lawn mower  at least twice during mowing season.

By the way, the "deck" is the housing for the cutting blade, on the underside of the mower.

The reason for cleaning it has nothing to do with being neat (unless you are the type who takes pride on showing guests your power equipment). Cleaning will not only help lawn mower performance, but also minimize the spread of lawn diseases. Remember, when you cut blades of grass, you are essentially opening up wounds that make the grass susceptible to problems such as fungal disease.

To clean the deck of a lawn mower, execute the following steps:

  1. Empty the gas tank and disconnect the spark plug wire.
  2. Stand the mower up on its side.
  3. Take a garden hose and spray the deck at full blast. This will loosen some of the dirt and caked-on grass clippings.
  4. Scrub off the rest using a brush, soap and hot water.
  5. Rinse, then dry.

Tip: To reduce future incidence of grass clippings sticking to the lawn mower's underside, lightly spray some vegetable oil onto the deck after cleaning.

How Should You Care for a Lawn Mower at the End of Mowing Season?

When the mowing season is over in fall, empty the gas tank by allowing the lawn mower to run until its gas tank is empty. Leave the lawn mower's tank empty until spring comes. You will be glad that you did, next spring, when you go to start up the mower again for another season of mowing.

When old gas lies around in the  lawn mower all winter, it becomes gummy. At the same time, drain the oil tank and refill it with fresh oil.

If you do end up having trouble starting your lawn mower next spring, it may be because you need to tune up your machine. Here is how to tune up a lawn mower.

Research the various types of lawn movers on Consumer Search.