Cleaning your lawn mower might not seem very important, but it is possibly one of the most important jobs you can do if you want your mower to live a long and useful life. Moisture is the enemy of all machinery but especially lawnmowers. And that’s because grass stuck to the mower causes two serious problems.
First, it traps moisture on the surface of the metal, and then, as the grass decomposes, it turns acidic. The acid will happily eat your mower deck.
Ideally, wet grass needs to be cleaned from the mower after every use. That realistically won’t happen. So at the very least, the grass needs to be removed from the underside of the mower before winterizing, as that’s when most of the damage occurs.
Wash Port – Connect your water hose and run the blades awhile. Your mower will love you for it.
Note: It leaves a mess behind; I wash it on the lawn.
Lack of Love – This mower deck was simply neglected. Comically, the deck appears to have corroded at the unused washout port first.
Water-less Cleaning – I’d love to use the power washer, it would save a ton of time, but it’s not the right tool for this job. I do use the power washers on the grass bags.
Undercoating the Deck – This mower deck was caught just in time. I cleaned, rust treated, and then undercoated the deck. I’ve included these products below.
Although I’ve listed a power washer here, I’m not a fan of power washing equipment such as lawnmowers. Problems can occur when pressurized water is directed at electrics, pulleys, and bearings. The water enters through the seals and becomes trapped, which then corrodes and causes premature failure.
It’s more work, but I prefer to remove the deck grass with a metal scraper. For the engine bay and trans-axle grass, I use compressed air and a stiff brush.
The main areas that must be cleaned, include:
- Deck underside
- Deck top side
- Trans-axle cooling system
- Engine air cooling system
In this post, I’ve listed some of the more useful products for cleaning and protecting your mower.
Some of the pictures on this page link to Amazon.com, where you can check the price and delivery of products. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Simpson Power Washer
The Simpson washer is powered by the smooth, dependable, and powerful horizontal shaft GC 190 Honda. It’s fitted with a maintenance-free pump that pushes out 3200 psi. Simpson has a great name, and they know pressure washers. This washer comes with quick-change nozzles, which allow for greater control. The washer is shod with soft tires, which reduces vibration on the washer. Picture links to Amazon.com.
Lawnmowers deck cleaning can be a pain in the jacksie, but if you’ve got the right tool, it can be almost enjoyable… Ok, no, it’s never going to be enjoyable! But the right tool does make it less of a chore. This simple cleaning tool has a scraper on one end and a stiff brush on the other. The handle is nice and long, as are the bristles. Pretty cool tool! Picture links to Amazon.com.
I like these types of wire brushes as your hand is protected by the handle. A mower deck will be rusty, and so will require a quick rub of a wire brush if you intend rust-proofing and undercoating. You won’t need to remove all the rust, just the loose bits, and I advise wearing a respirator. Picture links to Amazon.com.
Rust-Oleum is pure witchcraft, you can spray this stuff straight onto a rusty surface, and it will instantly bond and create a rust-proof paint-able surface. Just remove loose rust with a wire brush and your set. This is a pack of 2 rattle cans. However, if you’re doing both sides of your deck, you may need to get the four-pack. You will need to use a respirator and spray in a well-ventilated area. Picture links to Amazon.com.
This is the same stuff that goes on the underbody of your car or truck. It is great at protecting the metal from flying debris, and it has the added benefit of sound deadening. I like to hit the deck with a coat of this stuff after I’ve applied the rust converter. You may need two to three cans to complete a mower deck as it goes on pretty thick; you’ll need a respirator with this stuff. Picture links to Amazon.com.
I love 3M products, they are great quality, and I am confident in their performance as I’ve been using them forever. The silicone respirator is comfortable and durable. I use it when welding and cleaning old grass and dust from lawn mower decks and engines. I wear glasses in the workshop, and anybody with glasses and a respirator will know the value of the 3M downward-facing vent. Fogged glasses drive me crazy!!! Picture links to Amazon.com.
About the Author
John Cunningham is a Red Seal Qualified automotive technician with over twenty-five years experience working on all types of equipment, grass machinery, ATVs, Dirt bikes, cars, and trucks. When not writing how-to articles, he may be found in his happy place – Restoring classic machinery.
You may find the following links helpful:
- Riding mower maintenance & repair index
- Walk behind mower maintenance & repair index
- Recommended tools & parts
- Recommended mowers
- Repair videos
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer at Lawnmowerfixed.com.
He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and shares his know-how and hands-on experience in our DIY repair guides.
Johns’s fluff-free How-to guides help homeowners fix lawnmowers, tractor mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, power washers, generators, snow blowers, and more.