The mower deck is the steel, plastic, or aluminum cover that shields and protects the operator from the mower blades and any grass or dirt they might kick up. Grass buildup retains moisture and can cause the metal mowing deck to corrode, rendering the lawn mower useless.
Have you ever felt like your lawn mower wasn't getting the job done as quickly or as easily as usual? Have you noticed that there are more dirt clumps and lawn clippings being left behind than usual, creating a sloppy and unfinished looking lawn? Chances are, your mower deck is simply dirty and in need of a deep cleaning.
The following steps will show you how to thoroughly clean your mower's deck, maintaining your mower's durability while keeping it in proper working order.
Step 1 - Remove Spark Plugs
In order to prevent the engine from accidentally starting, be sure to drain all gasoline from the tank and remove any spark plugs before cleaning. Most people don't realize that turning the mowing blade manually can actually ignite the engine, even with the fuel valve in the off position.
Step 2 - Protect Your Garage Floor
Spread an old blanket or sheet on a flat surface to allow for easy cleanup. Stand the deck up on the back edge of the blanket in a way that permits easy access to the underside of the deck.
Step 3 - Prepare Water
Fill a bucket with warm water and a mild detergent such as car shampoo. Make sure that whatever soap you choose is not too harsh for use on metal surfaces as this can cause the paint to chip, flake, or rust.
Step 4 - Clean Deck
Lawn mowers are built to withstand heavy rains, so it is safe to use a garden hose full force when cleaning your lawn mower. However, never aim the water hose at the side of the deck as water might enter the air filter. Instead, wet the mower deck from above thoroughly, and then wash the entire outside with a sponge and sudsy water.
Step 5 - Scrape Away Buildup
If you have severe dirt and grass buildup that has set in over many seasons, you may need to scrape it away with a putty knife or a hard wired brush. Scrub the upper part of the deck and its assemblies thoroughly, then wash the underside of the mower deck with soapy water, and gently rinse. Allow the mower to air dry for about an hour.
Step 6 - Inspect and Protect
Finally, inspect the mower blade. If the blade is still in relatively good condition, spray the blade and under side of the mowing deck with liquid graphite or a similar lubricant to reduce future buildup. Vegetable oil can also be used as a temporary quick fix, however consistent reapplication will be necessary.
Regular maintenance and cleaning is important for the safety and performance of your outdoor power equipment. Lawn mower owners who clean and maintain their equipment will see definite benefits over time, as their mowers last years longer while yielding a cleaner and more efficient result.