You can’t avoid your lawn mower getting dirty, but you can make a habit of keeping it clean for top performance that lasts.
Your lawn mower is a hardworking tool: from spring to autumn it regularly gets put to work cutting the grass, and may be in use for hours at a time. It’s inevitable that your mower will accrue dirt and plant residue on the cutting blade and other parts, and this will soon impair its cutting ability if ignored. Giving your mower a quick clean after every use helps maintain a consistently good cutting result, while an occasional deep clean will contribute to keeping your lawn mower in service for a long time.
Safety should always come first when cleaning your lawn mower: make sure you wear sturdy gloves at all times. It is particularly important to wear gloves made from robust material when cleaning the cutting blade, so you are protected from cuts or other injuries.
Once the lawn has been mowed and the cuttings are on the compost heap, it’s important to do a quick clean before you put the lawn mower away. Dirt has a negative effect on materials and gets more stubborn the longer you leave it – not to mention that a dirty cutting blade will never work as well as a clean one. We show you the best way to tackle this kind of regular cleaning.
You will need:
Remove the grass collection box and clean the inside with a hand brush. You can also brush the lawn mower housing down to remove coarse dirt and grass. Next, use a damp cloth to wipe the lawn mower exterior clean, ensuring you take off caked-on dirt. It is possible to use a garden hose to clean the lawn mower, but we recommend you keep the water pressure low. High-pressure cleaners are not suitable for cleaning lawn mowers.
Next, move your lawn mower into the cleaning position; the instruction manual for your lawn mower will tell you how to do this. If you have a petrol lawn mower, make sure that the spark plug is pointing upwards, otherwise oil may run out and cause serious damage to the engine and carburettor.
Clean the underside of the lawn mower with a scraper and a brush. The scraper is great for removing rough and bulky plant residue from the blade area. Note that it is less effort to clean this part of the mower thoroughly if you do so straight after using it, as fresh dirt and plant matter comes off more easily. Carefully remove dirt from the cutting blade using a scraper or hand brush. If necessary, you can also use a specialised cleaning agent to tackle stubborn dirt.
Your quick clean is done and you can put your mower away, ready for its next use! Deeper cleaning takes a little more effort, and is an important maintenance step which should be performed after every 25 hours of use as well as following a prolonged period of storage. We take you through the steps below.
After around 25 hours of use, you should give your lawn mower a deep clean. This may be necessary earlier or later in the mowing season, depending on the intensity of the work and how you use your mower. It is important to remember that regular cleaning makes maintenance easier – and regular maintenance will extend the service life of your lawn mower.
Cutting blades wear at varying rates depending on where and for how long they are used, so it’s important that you inspect it when you deep clean your mower, to check if it is cracked anywhere or needs sharpening. If it has previously been sharpened, you should check if the blade has reached its wear limit according to the operating instructions – you need to replace the part entirely when this limit is reached, if not before.
You can also remove the blade as directed in the operating instructions and take it to a STIHL dealer for inspection. Your dealer will be able to sharpen the blade professionally and balance it correctly. Though a blade could last for a number of years, it is a wearing part that needs to be replaced from time to time. Regular sharpening and balancing will extend its lifetime and effectiveness. Your STIHL dealer can also replace the blade for you.
It’s easy to forget, but it really makes a big difference: remove the grass collection box and just wash it clean with a garden hose. This is important so that dirt and plant residues don’t harden or even go mouldy in storage. A specialised cleaning agent such as STIHL Multiclean will help if you need to remove stubborn dirt. We can also recommend our Care & clean kit for iMOW® robot mowers and STIHL lawn mowers.
Air filters purify the air from the carburettor, so they become contaminated with use. You should tap the air filter or use a paintbrush to remove dirt from it regularly; or for a more thorough clean, you can use compressed air. If the filter still looks dirty and discoloured, you should replace it to ensure consistently good performance.
You can clean the spark plug using a lint-free cloth. Do you notice any signs of wear or have you been having any problems starting your mower? If so, it's time to replace your spark plug with a new one. This generally needs doing every three years or so, though the exact frequency depends on how often and how intensively you use your mower.
Deep cleaning and maintenance often gets tackled just before your lawn mower is put away for winter storage. We’ve put together a detailed guide telling you how to winterise your lawn mower.
|Cleaning a petrol lawn mower
|The combustion engine causes dirt to make its way into the air filter and spark plug. Petrol models need a little more cleaning than other types of lawn mowers.
|Cleaning an electric lawn mower
|It is best to dry clean your electric lawn mower: if you use too much water, moisture could get inside the electric motor and damage it.
|Cleaning a cordless lawn mower
|When you clean a cordless lawn mower, battery care is also important. Make sure it is stored correctly, in a dry location at cool, but not freezing, temperatures.