Cleaning your mower deck is an incredibly important method of maintenance that provides for the best performance of your lawn mower. Over time, grass can build up on the underside of the mower deck, above the blades, and create major problems for the operator, including long-term structural and performance issues.
Prevent Rusting of Your Deck and Blades
Wet grass will trap moisture against your mower deck, blade, and blade shaft, creating conditions that are ripe for rust build-up. If you discover rust, you’ll want to remove all of the flakes immediately, then paint and seal the area to prevent the rust from spreading.
Avoid Reduced Performance
Grass build-up can reduce the effectiveness of your mower and how it is set up to function. If you have a side-discharge mower, the build-up can impede the discharge hole, causing clumps of grass to gather instead of being spread evenly. If you have a bagger, the build-up can limit the amount of grass that can be pulled up to the bagger, again leaving clumps of grass on the lawn. Finally, a mulching mower is dependent on having space above the blades for the grass to circulate to be cut up further. A build-up will reduce this space, meaning that the grass may not be cut as fine.
The Longer You Fail to Clean, the Harder it is to Clean
The longer you go without cleaning the underside of your mower deck, the harder the build-up of grass will become. The continual wetting and drying of the grass will create a matted mess that is rock-hard, and will not come off easily. Failing to recognize the problem and address it will only make it worse as time goes by.
Best Ways to Clean Your Mower Deck
If you’ve got a build-up, break out the wire brushes and stiff, sharp blades – putty knives are handy – and start scraping away. Make sure to remove the spark plug first to prevent accidental starting. Wetting the underside of the deck first will help to loosen the grass and make it easier to remove.
Ways to Prevent Grass Build-Up
Cleaning your mower deck after every use will prevent build-up over the long run. If you have a new mower deck, or a freshly cleaned deck, applying a non-stick cooking spray or some of the commercially available deck liners – particularly those that are graphite-based – will help to prevent grass from ever getting a hold on your mower deck, and make it easier to clean.