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Can You Wash a Lawn Mower? Yes - Here’s How

Lawn mowers kick up tons of dirt, dust, and pollen, all of which can make a mess of your machine. But it’s not just a good idea to clean your mower because it looks better, it’s also a great idea because clumps of grass can get stuck in the blades and cause mechanical issues, which is not ideal.  

So yes, you can and should clean your mower regularly. While some parts of the mower benefit from a thorough cleaning and can stand to get wet, others won’t react well to lingering water. That’s why it’s important to know the right procedure for cleaning your lawn mower, whatever model it may be.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you keep your lawn equipment clean and well-maintained without risking damage to the machine’s vital components. Going through this process after every mow would be nice – but in reality, if you can get to it a few times each season, that can make a big impact on your mower’s performance and longevity.

How to Wash a Mower

Prepare the Mower for Cleaning

The first step is to make the mower safe to clean. Make sure the engine's turned off and has had some time to cool off before washing, but don’t wait too long or grass clippings may dry and become harder to dislodge from the mower deck.

Lower the deck to its lowest height setting to put the blades as close to the ground as possible. For added safety (and for keeping parts in good condition), consider removing the spark plug from the mower. This will prevent any accidental starts and ensure that the spark plug doesn’t get wet during the cleaning process.

Remove Debris and Clean Top

Once the mower’s cooled down, use a brush or leaf blower to remove lose debris from the top of the mower. DO NOT use a hose on this part of the process. The top of the mower houses many parts that aren’t watertight, including the air filter, oil filter, and spark plug housing. Any of these getting wet can cause damage to the parts.

Once larger debris is removed, you can wipe down the mower with a rag and some cleaning product to pick up any leftover dust and dirt.

Cleaning the Mower Deck

If your mower has a washing port, simply attach a hose to the port, run the water, then start the mower to engage the blades. The water will run through the underside of the mower and, with the blades’ help, dislodge grass clippings.

If your mower doesn’t have a washing port and is a walk-behind mower, gently tilt it on its side (right side for most walk-behind mowers) to expose the blades. You can then clean the blades manually with a brush or sponge. 

Another option is to run your mower while spraying a hose against the ground next to a rear corner of the mower deck so it splashes underneath the mower. This sends water underneath the deck without splashing water in any parts that are sensitive to moisture.

The important thing, as always, is to avoid hitting key components with water. Some of the most important parts of the mower to avoid are:
  • Mower ignition, spark plug, and other switches or electrical components
  • Air filter
  • Oil filter
  • Inside the engine housing or vents

Cleaning the mower thoroughly while avoiding those areas will keep your mower running great and extend the life of the machine.