How to Clean a Lawn Mower with Maintenance Tips for Beginners?

One of the hardest things for large garden owners is learning how to clean a lawn mower.

Everyone knows that grass needs constant mowing to keep it short, good-looking, and free of unwanted vegetation. But you’ll need to use your mower for this.

Each time you use the mower, most of the grass and vegetation you cut off the floor will end up inside and on top of the machine.

Sometimes it’s not even vegetation but dirt, sand, and many other things in your lawn that will dirty the mower up. And that may eventually make the machine to work faultily.

That’s why we want to teach you all you need to know about cleaning your mower and doing proper keep up. Want to learn all about this subject and probably a lot more? Then scroll down and find out!

Why Clean and Maintain a Lawn Mower 

It doesn’t matter what kind, brand, or design of lawn mower you have – it is always critical to keep it in check. And this means cleaning it consistently and maintaining it with proper keep up.

This happens because all the vegetation and dirt that get stuck inside the machine may eventually hurt how it works. And of course, just as any other mechanical machine, keeping all its parts working is essential for its functioning – or else you’ll have to buy a new one.

Here we will explain the most common issues that can stem from not cleaning or maintaining your lawn mower:

Improper Blade Functioning

One of the first factors to think about is proper blade management. They are vital because they cut the grass, and when there’s too much vegetation around them, likely, they won’t work as expected.

When you clean the blades, you immediately improve how they work, especially if they were filled with lots of vegetation such as clippings and small branches. If you do not, then the performance of the machine will be massively reduced.

In the worst scenario, you may experience blades just pulling your grass off directly from the floor and leaving dark soil patches all throughout your lawn. And that can be pretty disheartening. Especially if you like to take care of your yard, this can set you off to a bad experience.

Diseases and Bad Vegetation

Another advantage of keeping your mower clean is that you’ll prevent spreading weeds and infections all around your lawn.

It’s common for bad grass to start growing in the least expected places such as the deck of your mower if you don’t clean it. Then, when you start using it again, all the weeds will leave its seeds in your lawn. And surely, it will start growing sooner than later, which ends up making your yard look ugly.

Motor Wearing Off

Another reason to clean and maintain your mower is to ensure the proper functioning of its motor. The engine tends to be a fragile part of the machine, so any unusual vibration or sound can be a sign that it needs maintenance.

This mostly happens when you need to renew the oil of the mower and clean the fuel tank. Your machine will start working faster, more effectively, and with no issues, once you do this.

So, what are you waiting for? Would you let any of this happen to your lawn or mower? If no, then come further and find out how to avoid all that.

Beginner Steps for Cleaning the Lawn Mower

Doing a simple lawn mowing service is no hard job in any way. You just need to follow some easy steps, and you’ll clean your mower entirely. Here’s how to start:

Step 1: Disconnect and Empty 

If you want to clean your lawn mower, you’ll have to start by disconnecting the spark plug and emptying the gas tank.

Just look for a hard-plastic bin where you can pour the gas, so you don’t lose it. This will help you handle the mower more efficiently and prevent any issue while cleaning. And on top of that, it keeps the carburetor from creating an unwanted build-up that could prevent the mower from starting.

On the other hand, disconnecting the spark plug helps to make the machine more manageable and easily take the tank off to empty. After doing this and emptying the container, you’ll have half the job done.

Step 2: Tilt the Machine

Now it’s time to tilt the machine. The side where the spark-wire is located, that’s the side that should be facing the ground.

The other side where you can find the oil filler should be pointing up. This will help to prevent oil from leaking out.

Once you have the machine inclined, it is time to start cleaning.

Step 3: Get Rid of Grass 

Start by using your hands with gloves to get rid of all the grass clippings and leaves in the mower deck. Whatever that’s stuck inside, on the sides, or underside the machine can be pretty harmful – take them all off.

If any clippings or residues don’t want to get off, you can use a garden hose. Anything that’s too stubborn will start falling down. You can take the rest of the annoying residues and clippings with a putty knife, wire brush or gasket scraper if needed.

Step 4: Clean Deeply

Now it’s the time to clean deeply, and it all comes down to using your most effective lubricant (preferably silicone or cooking spray), so you can keep the deck from getting stuck. Then, blast all of it with a high-pressure water compressor.

This will help you loosen up all the clippings, dirt, and stuck vegetation that doesn’t fall down in any other way.

Finish off by scrubbing the rest of the machine with soap and water, using either a brush or a sponge. Make sure even the top of the machine, handle, and tube are all clean. Let the mower rest and dry out for about 30 minutes to 1 hour and follow with the next step.

Step 5: Reconnect and Fill

Your mower is clean now. So, it is time to get rid ready to start working again. And for that, you’ll have to reconnect it again using the spark plug. But also remember to refill the gas tank with the one you poured on the plastic bin.

Once you do so, you can try to start the machine. If it doesn’t, then you’ll have to clean the carburetor. Just take it off and get rid of any buildup or residues inside. Then you should be able to start the machine without problems.

Otherwise, it may be something else. Check it all out once again, and you’ll probably find the reason. Then try to start the machine. Repeat if needed until it starts running as normally.

Step 6: Keep it Clean 

The final step is all about keeping your mower clean. There’s no rule for this, but it’s advisable to do maintenance at least once after every mowing season. This means, to do so at least once every three to four months.

A piece of valuable advice to follow is to clean your mower every time you’re storing it for long. For example, before winter, it’s always better to keep it clean, so nothing grows or rots inside. And empty its fuel tank too, that could create some issues over time.

After some time, cleaning and maintain your mower, you’ll find out that it didn’t take much. You just need to take enough care of your mower, so it works like a gem every time you need it.

This will increase its lifetime and provide more effective performance while preventing common issues.

Beginners Tips for Maintaining Your Lawn Mower

Keeping your lawnmower on the perfect state is not an easy job. But as long as you follow the right precautions and steps, you can do proper lawn mower repair without making much of an effort. Here’s how:

Clean the Motor

The first step is to separate the spark plug using a socket wrench. This will prevent the machine from starting when you’re doing maintenance.

Then you can add engine degreaser with a water hose or sprayer. Use some water along to make the process even faster and clean the engine more effectively.

It’s important to avoid spraying degreaser or water on the air filter, as this could damage it. But if it’s just a little, there’s no issue.

Once the whole cleaning process of the engine is ready, you can connect the spark plug again and check that the mower is working correctly. After some time, you’ll see how it works cooler and with less noise. Remember to get the spark plug out again before following with the next process.

Replace the Oil Filter

To replace the oil filter, you’ll have first to find out whether it is a paper or a sponge filter. Each one has its own sets of replacement processes.

For paper filters, you’ll just need to get the paper filter off and place a new one. Just make sure the edges of the filter face outward, so there’s no interference when oil passes through.

For sponge filters, you won’t have to buy a new filter unless the old one looks cracked or ripped. Typically, you’ll just need to take it off the mower and wash it with soapy water, and that’s it.

Then just let the sponge dry for a few hours. Before placing it inside the machine again, you can pour some oil over the sponge and let it soak. This way, it won’t block oil from passing through if you allow it too much time without use.

Empty the Tank

Here you can follow the same process on how to drain gas from lawn mower as you did with cleaning it. If you already emptied the fuel, then there’s nothing to worry about.

Now try to use primer inside the tank, so you can clean it and get rid of any buildup inside. Tilt the tank down and let anything inside get out.

Once you’ve used the primer, it is time to refill. Here, just add some new fuel to the tank. Make sure it’s clean and exactly the kind your mower uses.

Sharpen the Blades

Sharpen the Blades

In this step, you’ll have to wear thick work gloves. Anything that protects your fingers from sharp objects will be enough.

Follow up by detaching the mower blade from the machine. Here you’ll need to unscrew the bolts in the middle.

Then you can clean the blades from any dirt, clippings, or any kind of vegetation on the blades. It’s important that it ends up as clean as possible for the next step.

In this step, just look for a hand grinder and try to use it on the blades. You should wear eye protection to keep any sparkles or metal particles from flying to your eye and cause damage. Clean the remaining metal debris on the blades and screw them again to the machine.

Check and Clean the Belt

Not all mowers have a belt, only the self-propelled mowers. If you have one of this, you’ll have to look for the belt cover and remove it. Then you’ll have direct access to it.

Make sure not to break or rip the belt. Check the pulley assembly as well, making sure everything is in proper condition. If they are clean enough and with no damage, grab a brush and remove any debris, dirt, or vegetation inside if there’s any.

But if the belts look worn or cracked, you’ll have to take them out and place new ones. This could be rather difficult, so try to do it carefully. Otherwise, call an expert mower mechanic.

Check and Replace the Spark Plug

In this step, you’ll have to learn how to remove the spark plug from lawn mower first. Here, we recommend using a socket wrench. The spark plug looks like a hex bolt, so you place the wrench there and unbolt it accordingly.

If you don’t have a wrench to do this, you’ll have to look or buy one. Otherwise, you may not be able to do so.

Once you take the spark plug out, you can check it to see its physical state. If it looks old, burned, or cracked, it’s time to get a new one. Usually, they last about 2 years. But some may last less than that; others may last a lot more. Generally, it’s recommended to replace once a year for proper functioning.

Get a new spark plug if the old one looks too old or worn out. Then attach it to its place using the socket wrench again.

Finish by attaching the plug wire in the back, and you’ll be ready to start it up and leave it like that for about 20 minutes before continuing with the next step.

Change the Oil

The final step to finishing proper lawn mower maintenance is to change the oil. First, you’ll have to make sure the engine is warm. Let the engine work for at least 10 minutes before changing the oil. If you did this already, then you can keep going.

Turning the engine on will make sure that contaminants and buildup inside loosen up. So, once you start getting the old oil out, all the sludge and impurities will begin getting out along.

Some mowers come with a dipstick tube. You’ll have to tilt the machine to the side and let the oil drain out through the hose. But most mowers only have a drain plug below. Open this plug and let the oil pour into a plastic bucket or drain pan.

Once all the oil is out, you can pour a new one inside. No need to do any cleaning or further trying. Make sure you add enough oil inside, so the machine works well eventually and doesn’t overheat.

Keep your Lawn Mower Working!

Now you’re familiar with how to clean a lawn mower; then it’s time to make sure you do this every now and then to keep your mower working neatly.

Remember that mowers take a little work and may be complicated to work around when doing maintenance or simple cleaning. But with patience and following the previous steps, you’ll be able to clean and do proper keep-up to your unit without problems.

Always repeat these steps every time you need to clean or do maintenance, and you’ll keep your mower working better than any other.

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