How to clean a lawn mower: 5 essential tips and tutorials

Keep your lawn (and mower) in top shape with this easy lawn mower cleaning tutorial

How to clean a lawn mower
(Image credit: SkitterPhotos / Pexels)

With summer fast approaching, it’s time to get your lawn under control, trimmed and neat for your upcoming barbecues and garden parties. The best way to tame your grass is to use your lawn mower, but if you haven’t cleaned it in a while, you could be causing more damage to your lawn than you realise.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or are completely new to the world of the best cordless lawn mowers, cleaning yours might seem totally alien to you. But forgetting to clean your lawn mower is actually one of the most common mistakes everyone makes with lawn mowers.

It’s extremely important to give your mower some TLC to keep it in top condition, and to ensure it doesn’t tear up your lawn if the blades are too blunt. Here’s how to clean your lawn mower, including an easy-to-follow tutorial and essential cleaning tips.

Things to remember when cleaning a lawn mower

Before you start cleaning, remember to turn off your lawn mower. Depending on the type you have, you’ll want to completely unplug it from the mains if it’s corded, remove the battery if it’s cordless and take out the spark plug if it’s one of the best petrol lawn mowers.

When cleaning your mower, make sure to wear gloves to avoid any injuries – the blades are deceivingly sharp, even if they’re looking a little blunt! And most importantly, always read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your mower, so you don’t damage it accidentally.

1. Empty the grass collection bin

When cleaning your lawn mower, the first thing you need to do is empty the grass collection bin. This is a job that should be done regularly, as it prevents your mower from getting too full and stops it from spitting out mulched grass if it’s too overloaded. To empty your grass collection bin, remove it from the body of the mower and put the grass in a compost bin or reserved area in your garden. Next, clean the inside with a brush to remove grass, dirt and other debris.

2. Clean the underside

Depending on your mower of choice, you should be able to tip it on its side to get to its underside. But you’ll want to check this before doing so, as your mower could leak, especially if it’s a petrol-powered device. If you can tip your mower, turn it on its side to clean underneath.

Using a stiff brush or scraper, remove any grass, plant matter or dirt that has adhered itself to the underside of your mower. It should be relatively easy to do, but if you have any stubborn stains that just won’t budge, you can find special mower cleaning agents at your local gardening store or online.

How to clean a lawn mower

(Image credit: Gustavo Fring / Pexels)

3. Tend to the blades

After you’ve removed the dirt around the blades, you can tend to the blades themselves. Due to general use and wear and tear, your mowers’ blades can dull very easily so you’ll want to keep this in mind when cutting the grass. Try to avoid going over branches and any other sharp objects as these are key culprits that can blunt your blades.

Before cleaning, inspect the blades carefully to see if there are any cracks or dents. Remove the blades and wipe them down with a brush to get rid of any grass and plant residue. Rinse them with a little bit of water and dry them with a cloth before reattaching them to the mower. If your blades need sharpening, we’d recommend taking them to a specialist to avoid any injuries or buying a new set of blades for your mower.

4. Wipe down the exterior

Once the underside of your lawn mower is cleaning, you can start on the outside. The handles, motors, air vents and main body of the mower can get very dirty, mainly due to mud and grass flying around and sticking to the outside. So, wipe down your mower’s exterior with a damp cloth to remove all this gunk. Make sure to carefully wipe the air vents so you don’t block them as these need constant air flow to work properly.

5. Store it properly

The last thing you want when you go to use your lawn mower next season is to find that it’s gotten even dirtier overtime, so once you’ve deep cleaned your lawn mower, it’s time to store it away properly. Using a thick tarp, cover up your mower in your shed or garage so it’s not exposed to the elements and other dirt, dust or bugs can’t get to it.

How to clean a lawn mower

(Image credit: Magda Ehlers / Pexels)

How often should you clean a lawn mower?

In general, you should be deep cleaning your lawn mower once a year. The best time to do this is after the summer season and before you store it away for winter. That way, it’s not stewing in its own filth and getting rusty, and it’s ready to go next year.

Having said that, you should clean out the grass bin after each use to avoid overflowing and clogging. If you notice that the underside or exterior of your mower is looking overly dirty, then give it a good clean. It's as simple as that!

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!