How to Clean a Lawn Mower Deck

Lawnmower with hose plugged into it's deck

There’s a right way and a “not-so-good” way of keeping your lawn mower looking great. Learn how to clean a lawn mower deck — including how to remove dried grass from a lawn mower — and how to remove a mower deck.

Cleaning A Mower Deck: The Basics

Whether you use a new Toro walk-behind mower or an older model, one thing’s for sure – keeping the underside of the mower deck clean helps to keep your lawn mower properly maintained and performing for years to come. 

Begin by cleaning out clippings that cling to the underside of the mower. Doing this allows for proper airflow under the deck, therefore allowing the mower blade to cut properly. Cleaning out the clippings also helps prevent corrosion to your mower over time. It’s important to clean your mower as soon as you’re done mowing. If you wait and the clippings dry, they’ll be difficult to remove.

How to Clean a Lawn Mower Deck the Right Way

  1. If your mower has a washout port, begin by moving the mower to a flat, paved surface, such as your driveway or garage floor. Ensure the engine has stopped and all moving parts have stopped for safety.
  2. Lower the cutting height to the lowest setting and remove the bag.
  3. Attach a garden hose to the port and turn the water on.
  4. Start the engine, but be sure to stay behind the handle, engage the blade and run it until no more clippings come out from under the machine.
  5. Stop the engine, then shut off the water and disconnect the hose.
  6. Start the engine again, being sure to stand behind the handle and engage the blade for a few minutes to dry off the underside of the mower.

Don’t Clean Your Lawn Mower with a Pressure Washer. It’s Not Safe. 

While the quickness and efficiency of a power washer might be tempting, it can force water into vital areas of the mower that just shouldn’t get wet. With the engine off and all moving parts stopped, scraping under the mower deck is another excellent method for keeping things clean and smooth running too. For cleaning the top sides, just use a leaf blower or compressed air once the engine is cool.

And while having a Toro mower with a built-in washout port is amazing, not all mowers have them – but never fear. The procedure is similar no matter what kind of mower you have. Move the mower to a flat surface. Stop the engine and lower the deck. Now turn on the hose and aim it in front of the right rear wheel right on the pavement. Start the mower and again, staying behind the handle, engage the blade and run it until no more clippings appear. Of course, once you’re done with the water, run the mower again for a few minutes to dry the underside of the mower deck.

So there you go, some easy tips to clean the underside of your mower. Make it part of your mowing routine and it’ll pay off big time. If you haven’t cleaned your mower in a while, some disassembly of your mower deck might be needed in order to get a good clean and start fresh. But don’t worry! Toro’s got you covered.

How To Remove A Mower Deck

Removing a mower deck can seem daunting, but don’t worry. Read our step-by-step guide to removing your mower deck (and then how to replace a mower deck again) and you’ll be a pro. For this example, we’re using a Toro model, but the process is similar for nearly all mowers. 

  1. Start on a level surface, like your driveway or garage floor, and after engaging the parking brace, disengage the blade control switch.
  2. Stop the engine and remove the key. Then, lower the height of the cut lever to its lowest position.
  3. Next, remove the cotter pin from the front support rod and the rod from the deck bracket. Carefully lower the front of the deck to the ground.
  4. Lift the mower deck and hanger brackets so they’re clear of the rear left rod and lower the rear of the deck carefully to the ground.
  5. Slide the deck towards the back of the machine to remove the mower belt from the engine pulley. Then, slide the deck out from underneath the machine.
  6. Now that you have the deck removed you can easily perform maintenance on the blades, clean the deck and even add a recycler kit. 

Replacing the Mower Deck

Now that your mower deck is removed, it’s time to replace it. Luckily, replacing the mower deck is just as easy.

  1. Make sure the height of the cut lever is in its lowest position.
  2. Slide the deck under the machine and push it rearward to replace the belt on the engine pulley.
  3. Then move the deck forward until it’s in position to lift the back end and re-hang it on the rear support bracket.
  4. Next, attach the front support rod to the mower deck with the clevis pin and secure it with the cotter pin.
  5. Reinstall the belt onto the engine pulley and double-check to make sure that it’s securely routed around all pulleys and idlers before you operate the machine.

And you’re done! Once this is completed, you’re ready to get out there and mow. Remember, proper maintenance can help you avoid unnecessary parts replacement and keep your mower performing at its best for years to come. Keep in mind, for this example, we had a Toro TimeCutter Zero-Turn mower in mind, but the process is similar for all mowers. When in doubt, check your owner’s manual for best practices on maintaining your mower. And, of course, check back with us at Toro for more lawn care tips and tricks. 

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