how to clean a lawn mower

It doesn’t really matter if your lawn mower looks dirty, does it? It’s not like a car that causes embarrassment if you drive it around with a layer of crud on it. There are no roving “lawn mower inspectors” scouring neighborhoods for dirty mowers.

Well, there are benefits of regularly cleaning your lawn mower. A clean lawn mower will work better, last longer, and cut more evenly. It’s also pretty easy compared to something like finding matches to socks after doing the laundry.


No guide on how to clean a lawn mower would be complete without a discussion of blade maintenance. A gunky blade will require more power to spin, putting stress on the engine, and it will suck more gas because of this.

To get the blade clean, carefully remove it from the mower. Scrub with soap and water and/or a garden hose with a spray nozzle to work the crud off the blade. Once the blade is clean, sharpening is a must. If you are comfortable doing this, go for it. Otherwise, use a professional sharpening service.

The Undercarriage

With the blade off, it’s a good time to clean the underside of the mower. This can be done much the same way as cleaning the blade. Soap, water, and a lot of scrubbing will get layers of dirt and grass off.

Tippity Top

The outer carriage of the mover needs cleaning, since dirty metal will rust faster than clean metal. Again, simple soap and water will do the trick. If you own a pressure washer, this is a quick way to get the job done too. Make sure to pay special attention to areas around the wheels, especially on self-propelled mowers.

The Innards

The inside of a lawn mower gets dirty too, so a little cleaning will help prolong engine life. Let’s start with spark plugs. These are easily removed with a wrench. Clean the area around the plug, brush the plug itself, and then finish up with brake cleaner.

Cleaning the air filter is next. Foam filters can be removed and cleaned using hot water and a little detergent. Then wait until it’s dry, and smear some clean engine oil on it before replacing. Paper filters cannot be cleaned and must be replaced.

A High Carb Diet

Perhaps the most important part of knowing how to clean a lawn mower is keeping the carburetor clean. Small engine pros can disassemble one and clean it part by part, but you don’t need to do that to keep it clean.

The simplest way is to use an aerosol carburetor cleaner. Cleaners with no spray nozzle will not work with this method. Start by removing the air filter cover and filter. You should be able to see the carburetor now.

Make sure the mover has been off for a while and has completely cooled down. Restart the mower and spray the carb cleaner directly into the carburetor for several seconds. This will remove any gunk that has built up. Let the mower run for a couple of minutes so that the fluid can do it’s job, then turn it off.

Once finished, replace the air filter cover and air filter. If your mower had a dirty engine, the increase in start up and performance should be noticeable.

While lawn mowers can be inexpensive, that’s no reason to let them die because of poor maintenance and cleaning. Keeping your mower clean and well maintained means having to buy a new one less frequently.