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May 10, 2022

WHY YOU SHOULD WASH YOUR MOWER DECK (AND HOW TO DO IT)

You might not be the type to keep your equipment spotless. We usually aren’t! But when it comes to our lawnmower decks, we try to make an exception.

If you’re wondering why, washing your mower deck has less to do with staying tidy and more with maintaining the health of your equipment and lawn.

Why Should I Clean My Mower Deck?

You know those annoying grass clippings that tend to stick to the wheels and deck? Well, they’re even more of a nuisance than you might think. When grass clippings build up too far, the buildup can deflect your lawn’s blades of grass, preventing a clean cut. If your mower blades can’t cleanly slice the grass, they’ll shred it instead, damaging your lawn.

When your lawn isn’t completely dry, it’s even worse. Damp clippings clump easily, causing them to build up more quickly. Worse, grass buildup inside your deck encourages moisture retention. You know what that means; the perfect environment for rust. If your goal is for your mower to stay rugged and running for a long time, rust is a huge no-no.

Keep in mind that when you mow, you’re slicing your grass blades open, which can leave them susceptible to disease. If the clippings that are stuck in the underside of your deck are carrying contagious fungus, your mower can infect the rest of your lawn.

To avoid damaging your grass and spreading lawn disease, keep your mower deck clean and free of buildup.

How Frequently Should I Clean My Deck?

There’s no hard and fast rule about how often you should clean your mower’s deck. Have a smaller yard? You shouldn’t need to clean the deck more frequently than two to three times in one mowing season. But if you have a larger yard or a property that’s in a low or wet area, you’ll want to increase to a minimum of four cleanings per season.

Have to mow while it’s wet or your grass gets long between cuts? You might want to wash your deck each time you mow.

Ultimately, use your best judgment. Depending on how dry or how large your lawn is, you can increase or decrease the number of times you’ll need to wash your deck during the mowing season.

How Do I Wash My Lawnmower Deck?

If you’re lucky enough to own a lawnmower with a built-in deck wash feature, cleaning the deck can be as simple as attaching a garden hose and turning the water on. It’s most effective to use this feature just after mowing when the clippings haven’t had the chance to harden. Drive your mower over a grass-free, clean surface. Lower your deck all the way and turn on the water after connecting the hose, then engage your blades.

To clean a deck for a push mower that doesn’t have a built-in wash feature, get started here.

  • Empty the gas tank or run your engine until the tank is dry.
  • Disconnect the spark plug.
  • Tip your mower onto its side, making sure that the carburetor and air filter are pointing up.

For a riding mower, garden tractor, or zero-turn, start here instead.

  • On a flat pavement surface, engage your mower’s parking brake and place chucks behind your mower’s rear tires.
  • Using a hydraulic jack or a lawnmower jack, carefully lift your mower’s front end.
  • Once your mower is tilted to an angle at which you’re comfortable cleaning the deck, put jack stands in place to hold the mower at that angle.

Once you’re all set up, you’re ready to start cleaning.

  • Using a garden hose or a pressure washer, spray the underside of the deck to loosen the matted clippings.
  • If you need to scrub any caked-on debris away, avoid using metal tools. Try a plastic-bristled brush or hard-plastic ice scraper instead. Plastic tools are less likely to damage your paint.
  • Rinse any remaining dirt and debris away, then dry the deck completely to prevent the possibility of rust and to help your mower stay rugged.

Check Your Mower Blades

While your mower deck is accessible, don’t forget to check your mower blades! They need to be sharp enough to slice your grass cleanly, but not so sharp that they can cut your hand. Ironically enough, over-sharpened blades dull quickly.

If your blade is dull but appears to be in good shape, you should be able to have it sharpened at your local machine shop. However, if you see any rust spots or large chips or dents, you’ll want to replace your blade.

Be sure to check out our replacement lawnmower blade options below.


Maintaining Your Deck

Once your mower’s deck is clean and dry, you might wonder if there’s a way to make future cleaning easier. There sure is! Try spraying a light coating of vegetable oil or silicone lubricant inside the deck. This will act like windshield water

To prevent rust and mold from eating away at your deck over the winter, make sure you give your mower one last thorough cleaning at the end of the mowing season.

Don’t be afraid to wash your deck as often as you need to. As long as you follow the proper steps, keeping your lawnmower’s deck clean will extend the life of your mower and promote the health of your lawn.


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