Can I Wash My Lawn Mower?

The warm sun is out, and the grass is finally growing. You’ve pulled your trusty lawn mower out of storage, ready to tackle the green jungle in your backyard. But as you admire its slightly dusty exterior, a thought pops into your head: “Can I wash my lawn mower?”

You know it’s been sitting in the shed for a while, and a little cleaning couldn’t hurt, right? This article will explore the ins and outs of cleaning your lawn mower, addressing the pros and cons of washing, the best practices, and what to avoid. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to keep your mower in top shape, both inside and out.

In a nutshell, yes, you can wash your lawn mower, but it’s not always necessary and requires careful attention to avoid damaging delicate components.

The Pros and Cons of Washing Your Lawn Mower

Before diving into the specifics of cleaning, it’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of washing your lawn mower.

The Advantages:

  • Improved Appearance: A clean mower simply looks better, and a well-maintained machine reflects a pride of ownership.
  • Reduced Rust and Corrosion: Regularly cleaning away debris and grass clippings can help prevent rust and corrosion, extending the lifespan of your mower.
  • Better Performance: A clean mower, especially the air filter, can contribute to smoother and more efficient operation.

The Disadvantages:

  • Potential for Damage: Water can damage electrical components, bearings, and other sensitive parts.
  • Increased Risk of Rust: If not dried thoroughly, water can lead to rust formation, even on supposedly waterproof parts.
  • Time Consuming: Properly cleaning your mower takes time and effort, especially if you want to do a thorough job.

When Should You Wash Your Lawn Mower?

While a quick wipe-down after every use is beneficial, a full wash is generally not required after each mowing session. Here are some instances where a thorough wash might be necessary:

  • Excessive Debris Accumulation: If your mower is covered in thick layers of grass, leaves, or other debris, a wash can help remove these substances before they cause problems.
  • After Winter Storage: When bringing your mower out of winter storage, a good wash can help remove dirt, dust, and any potential rust buildup.
  • Before Long-Term Storage: A clean mower is less likely to attract pests or develop rust during prolonged storage.

How to Wash Your Lawn Mower Safely and Effectively

Now that you understand the pros and cons and when a wash is necessary, let’s explore the safe and effective way to clean your lawn mower:

1. Preparation:

  • Disconnect the Spark Plug: This is crucial for safety, as it prevents accidental starts during the cleaning process.
  • Remove the Battery (Optional): If you’re concerned about water getting into the battery compartment, removing the battery is recommended.
  • Gather Cleaning Supplies: You’ll need a garden hose, a soft-bristled brush, mild soap (dish soap works well), and a clean cloth.

2. Washing:

  • Rinse the Mower: Start by gently rinsing the mower with water from your hose, focusing on areas with heavy debris accumulation.
  • Apply Soap: Using a soft brush, apply a mild soap solution to the exterior of the mower, including the deck, wheels, and engine housing. Avoid getting soap into the engine’s air intake or other sensitive components.
  • Scrub and Rinse: Carefully scrub the mower with the brush, paying attention to stubborn dirt and debris. Once cleaned, rinse the mower thoroughly with water.

3. Drying and Final Touches:

  • Dry Thoroughly: The key to preventing rust is to dry your mower completely. Use a clean cloth to wipe down all surfaces, including the engine housing, deck, and wheels. Pay extra attention to areas that might retain moisture.
  • Inspect and Lubricate: After drying, carefully inspect your mower for any remaining debris or signs of rust. Lubricate moving parts like the wheels, blades, and any exposed metal parts with appropriate lubricant.

4. Reassemble and Store:

  • Reconnect the Spark Plug: Once everything is dry, reconnect the spark plug.
  • Reinstall the Battery (Optional): If you removed the battery, reinstall it securely.
  • Store Properly: Store your mower in a dry, well-ventilated area.

What NOT to Do When Washing Your Lawn Mower

While a wash can be beneficial, certain actions can damage your lawn mower. Avoid these pitfalls:

  • Using a Pressure Washer: The high pressure from a pressure washer can force water into sensitive areas like bearings, seals, and electrical components, potentially causing damage.
  • Soaking the Mower in Water: Soaking the entire mower in water can lead to rust and damage to internal parts.
  • Using Harsh Chemicals: Harsh chemicals can strip protective coatings, damage the paint, and irritate your skin. Stick to mild soap and water.
  • Ignoring the Air Filter: Don’t forget to clean or replace the air filter after washing. This ensures proper airflow and protects the engine.

Additional Cleaning Tips

  • Clean the Blades: While you’re cleaning the mower, it’s also a good time to sharpen the blades. Dull blades can lead to uneven cuts and damage your lawn.
  • Check the Fuel Lines and Tank: Inspect the fuel lines and tank for any leaks or signs of damage.
  • Clean the Spark Plug: If your mower is old or you haven’t cleaned the spark plug recently, it’s a good idea to inspect and clean it. A dirty spark plug can affect engine performance.


Washing your lawn mower can help keep it clean, looking good, and operating at its best. However, a thorough understanding of the pros and cons, safe cleaning practices, and what to avoid is essential. By following these tips, you can keep your lawn mower in top shape for years to come. Remember, regular maintenance, including washing and inspection, is key to extending the life of your equipment and ensuring a beautiful, healthy lawn.


Q1: Is it safe to wash my lawn mower?

A: It’s generally safe to wash your lawn mower, but you need to be careful. Water and electricity don’t mix well, so you need to disconnect the spark plug and battery before you start washing. You should also avoid using high-pressure water, as this can damage sensitive components. A gentle spray with a hose or a bucket of soapy water should be sufficient.

Q2: What are the benefits of washing my lawn mower?

A: Washing your lawn mower offers a few benefits. It can help remove grass clippings, dirt, and debris that can build up over time and hinder performance. A clean lawn mower also looks better and is easier to maintain. It can also help prevent rust and corrosion from forming on metal parts.

Q3: How do I wash my lawn mower?

A: First, disconnect the spark plug and battery to avoid any electrical shocks. Then, use a gentle spray of water or a bucket of soapy water to wash the exterior. Avoid using high-pressure water. Focus on areas where dirt and debris tend to collect, such as the deck, wheels, and engine housing. After washing, thoroughly dry the lawn mower with a cloth or towel.

Q4: What parts of the lawn mower should I avoid washing?

A: Avoid getting water inside the engine, carburetor, or air filter. These components are sensitive to water damage and could be damaged if they get wet. Also, avoid using harsh detergents or chemicals on the plastic or rubber parts of the lawn mower, as these can cause damage.

Q5: How often should I wash my lawn mower?

A: There’s no hard and fast rule, but it’s generally a good idea to wash your lawn mower after every few uses. If you’re using your lawn mower frequently in dirty or wet conditions, you may need to wash it more often.

Q6: Can I use a pressure washer to clean my lawn mower?

A: It’s not recommended to use a pressure washer on your lawn mower. The high-pressure water can damage sensitive components, such as the carburetor, air filter, and electrical parts. It can also force water into the engine, causing damage.

Q7: What should I do if water gets into my lawn mower?

A: If you accidentally get water into your lawn mower, you should try to dry it as soon as possible. Remove the spark plug and allow the engine to air dry. If water has entered the carburetor or air filter, you may need to replace these parts. You might also consider having your lawn mower serviced by a professional.

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