Clean mower deck = pristine lawn
If you’re tired of mowing over the same spot on your lawn again and again, it’s time to take a closer look at the mower deck. There may be a buildup of grass clippings, which can leave behind clumps of grass after mowing.
Plus, stuck grass clippings can corrode the mower deck and reduce airflow, causing less efficient mowing or requiring you to invest in the cost of a new mower. To keep your mower—and your lawn—in good shape, you’ll need to know about cleaning under a mower deck and how to keep grass from sticking to the mower deck.
1. Mow Dry Grass
It’s tempting to mow first thing in the morning when the harsh summer heat has not yet dried up the dew drops that formed overnight. But your early-morning mowing sessions can be one of the main reasons grass clippings stick to the mower deck.
Moisture makes the grass clippings cling to one another and, ultimately, to the mower deck. Wait until the grass is dry to start mowing.
2. Cut Grass Frequently
When you think about any materials in strands, like yarn or hair, you may realize that the longer strands are more likely to tangle together, while shorter pieces do not. The same goes for grass clippings.
Each time you mow, you should only be cutting about the top 1/3 of the grass blades. If you are waiting weeks between mowing sessions, the grass clippings will be long and likely to clump and tangle together, then become stuck to the mower deck.
To keep grass from sticking to the mower deck, mow more frequently, about once per week. This will produce shorter grass clippings, which are less likely to stick together and build up on the mower deck.
3. Apply a Coating
Non-stick cooking spray works great for keeping chocolate chip cookies from sticking to your metal baking pans, and it can also work just as well to prevent grass buildup on the mower deck. Vegetable oil is another kitchen staple that you can apply to the mower deck to prevent grass clippings from sticking.
But you don’t have to raid the pantry if you’d prefer designated lubricants for your prized mower. Head to your local home improvement store and look for corrosion preventatives, lubricants, or graphite coating made for mower decks.
4. Keep Up With Mower Maintenance
A rusted mower deck, clogged air filters, and old blades can all contribute to grass buildup. With regular lawn mower maintenance, you can prevent grass from sticking to the mower deck and prolong the life of your mower.
Air filters on mowers help direct debris outward rather than sticking inside the mower, particularly the engine. Reduced airflow can contribute to grass buildup and make mowing less efficient.
While you should plan to clean or change the air filter once per season, you may want to check it about once per month. If it looks clogged, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing or cleaning the filter.
Mower Deck Paint
Mower decks often have an enamel paint coating that helps prevent grass clippings from sticking. But over time, this paint can wear out. You can refresh the coating with other lubricants, like non-stick cooking spray, or use a lawn mower paint available at your local hardware or home improvement store.
Grass buildup can cause rust, and a corroded mower deck is easier for grass to stick to, creating a cycle that is terrible for the longevity of your mower. Aside from applying lubricant, you should also take care to prevent scratching up the metal mower deck, which can lead to rust.
When cleaning under a mower deck, try using softer cleaning brushes before relying on a putty knife or wire brush. These tools can help quickly clear off caked-on grass, but use them gently, if at all, to avoid scratching the mower deck.
Grass clippings may be sticking to your mower deck because of the type of blades. Opt for high-lift blades, which help boost airflow and push away grass clippings with higher force. If you already have high-lift blades, make sure you sharpen the mower blades.
5. Clean Under the Mower Deck
At a minimum, you should be cleaning your mower deck twice per season. But if you want to keep grass from sticking to the mower deck, minimize the risk of corrosion, and keep your mower in great condition for as long as possible, you can clean under the mower deck about once per week.
Disconnect the spark plug. You may also want to disconnect the blade as an added precaution.
Carefully flip the mower onto one side. Position the gas and oil reservoirs on the upper side or empty them before cleaning to avoid spillage.
Spray the deck to moisten and soften the grass.
Gently use a soft-bristled brush, putty knife, or wire brush to loosen and remove grass clippings. Take care not to scratch the mower deck.
Use an air hose or pressure washer to remove any remaining grass clippings.
Dry the mower deck with an air hose or dry cleaning cloth.
Follow up cleanings by applying a protective coating.
If your lawn mower is still not operating efficiently, take it to a lawn mower repair shop near you.