How To Clean a Lawn Mower’s Deck

A lawn mower deck is located on the underside of the machine and is the location which houses the cutting blade. It should be cleaned several times a season for a number of reasons.  If you’ve bought one of the best push mowers that I recommend, you’ll find this job to be pretty easy and straightforward.

Not only will it look great when you’re showing it off to the neighbors, but cleaning will improve the performance of the motor, help to decrease the spread of any lawn diseases, helps prevent rusting, and decreases cutting time by increasing the mower’s air flow (The truth is that any time you’re cutting grass blades you are leaving them exposed to contracting lawn fungal disease).

Here’s a simple list of what to do to clean your lawn mower deck:

  1. Empty your gas tank.
  2. Disconnect your spark-plug wire, remove the battery or unplug if you have a corded electric lawn mower.
  3. Detach the blade.
  4. Prop the lawnmower up securely on its side so it can’t fall – Make sure that the oil fill openings and gas tank are located on the upper side of the tilt if you haven’t emptied your gas tank.
  5. Put on a pair of gardening gloves and pick off the largest clumps either by hand or by using a good-sized pry bar. You can also scrape off stubborn clumps of grass using a wire brush or a metal putty knife.
  6. Use an air hose with a wand or nozzle to blow away any grass that’s left after scraping.
  7. Take a look at the mower’s air filter. If it’s washable (check your manual to make sure) and still in good condition use that air hose to blow off any debris and grass (Do this carefully, so as not to tear it!) Wash the filter thoroughly, using water with a tiny amount of degreasing soap or dish soap in it. When done, shake off any excess water, blow dry with an air hose, and let it dry thoroughly before reinstalling.
  8. Spray the deck thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer – The water blast ought to loosen a majority of caked-on grass clippings and dirt. There are some lawn mowers out there that don’t do well with water. If this is a concern to you make certain to check the manual first!
  9. Use a scrub brush, some hot water, and a generous amount of soap to clean off any remaining debris.
  10. Rinse, dry, and repeat if necessary.
  11. To avoid future occurrences of a jungle of sticky grass clippings gathering on the underside of your mower, use a light spray of non-stick vegetable oil to coat the deck. You can also apply vegetable oil using a clean rag. Other options are to use a Teflon, silicone, or graphite spray. DON’T use WD40 because it can damage your grass when it drips off the deck.
  12. Finally, you can use a rust-protection product. Fluid Film is one such product that has mixed reviews. Some people love it, but other folks report that after using it more grass than ever stuck to the deck.

Some of the better lawn mowers make this job easy by having a “quick release” type bolt.  Meaning the bolts threads are more far apart so it doesn’t take as long to take them off.  This also helps reduce cross threading.