In order for a lawn mower to last a long time, it must be cleaned regularly. And not only after each mowing, but also – and then particularly thoroughly – before you send it off for the winter break. Dry clippings can be quickly swept away with a hand broom, but how do you get the cutting deck and grass catcher really clean? And what are the differences when cleaning a petrol mower, cordless mower and a walk behind lawn mower?

how to clean a lawn mower engine

Basic cleaning after every mowing

Soil and damp grass clippings – that’s a pretty greasy affair under the lawn mower. And the lawn mower sows its cutting deck every time it mows the lawn. If you leave it that way, the cutting deck becomes more and more clogged and the knife has to constantly fight against the resistance of the earth sticking to it. To avoid unintentional starting, only clean electric lawn mowers with the plug unplugged, remove the battery from cordless mowers and pull out the spark plug connector from petrol mowers. 

Before cleaning the petrol mower, always remove the spark plug cap to prevent it from accidentally starting while you are cleaning the large walk behind mower.

Every time after mowing, brush the cutting deck with a stiff brush or with special lawn mower brushes. They don’t cost a lot and are therefore definitely worthwhile. If necessary, take a stick or branch, but not a metal object. This only results in scratches and, on metal cutting decks, also flaked paint. When the coarse dirt is removed, spray the cutting deck clean with the garden hose. Some lawn mowers even have their own hose connection for this purpose, which of course makes things easier.

Special feature when cleaning petrol lawn mowers

Warning: Do not just lay your petrol lawn mower on its side. This is also in the instructions for use, which, however, are usually not studied very carefully. Because in the side position, the lawn mower cannot hold your oil and this can literally flood the air filter, carburetor or the cylinder head. Thick, white smoke the next time you start it would be the more harmless consequence, expensive repairs the more annoying. Just tilt the petrol mower backwards to clean it – similar to the hood of a car. Only if there is no other way should you lay the mower on its side so that the air filter is on top. But even then there is always a residual risk.

how to clean a lawn mower engine

Clean the grass catcher

Do not just spray the lawn mower from below, but also rinse the grass catcher regularly and then hang it up to dry or put it in a protected place where it can dry off easily. First spray the basket from the outside inwards so that any pollen that has adhered to it is loosened. This is especially important for people allergic to pollen.

Body care on the fly

It is best to clean the top of the lawn mower with a soft hand brush and remove any mowing residue, dust or adhering pollen. Also, wipe the lawn mower regularly with a damp cloth. You should clean a little more thoroughly about twice a season and clean the wheels and the angled spaces between the engine and the chassis. You can also do this with a long brush or carefully clean the lawn mower with a compressor.

how to clean a lawn mower engine

How do you clean a lawn mower?

Use a small brush to clean the sensitive air filter on your petrol lawn mower to avoid damaging it.

When cleaning petrol lawn mowers, the air filter is still on the plan. This ensures that the engine gets clean air and burns petrol optimally. If the filter is clogged, the engine runs restlessly and wears out faster. Remove grass clippings and dust from the engine cooling fins after each use. Of course, you don’t have to clean the air filter after every mowing, but it should be every two months. Open the cover of the air filter, take it out and gently pat it on a smooth surface or clean it with a brush – it is usually made of paper, after all. Compressed air is taboo here, it only damages the filter. Put the filter back into the housing so that it fits exactly. If the filters are very dirty, do not compromise and replace them.

Cleaning tips for lawn mowers

It is best to clean lawn mowers with a brush because the devices are somewhat sensitive to water.

With best lawn mowers, there is not much else to consider when cleaning than with cordless mowers. You can easily lay the mower on its side for sweeping and wiping, or you can turn it over, but you must not spray it off. Because many large walk behind lawn mowers are only splash-proof from above, not from below. However, they cannot take a thorough shower with the garden hose from above either. It is not for nothing that the lawn mowers drive to their charging station when it rains, which is often protected. After brushing, you should only wipe the mower with a damp cloth so that the device is not damaged. Compressed air, on the other hand, is not a problem. The chassis can be removed so that you can clean the lawn mower under its clothes with a brush or compressed air. 

how to clean a lawn mower engine

About the author


Riding Mower offers expert mowing tips and tricks for keeping your garden or yard healthy. Find out the reviews, comparisons, and buying guides for all kinds of electric, gas, or riding lawn mowers.

Leave a Comment