Tip of the Day: Clean the deck on your lawn mower

Consumer Reports News: March 11, 2010 03:47 PM

Our Tip of the Day posts tend to come from our in-house experts and other pros. But in this era of user-generated content and crowdsourcing, many of you might have some useful nuggets worth sharing with fellow readers. So if you've got a great idea for any home-related job, send us an e-mail. Add Tip of the Day to the subject line and be as detailed as possible in describing your tip. Please include your contact information so we can reach you with any follow-up questions. (As per our privacy policy, we won't share your contact information with anyone.) We'll pick the top tips and publish them here at a future date. Thanks in advance. Now, with lawn-case season right around the corner, learn how to keep your mower deck clean:

Cleaning the clippings and other yard debris from the underside of the deck on your lawn mower after each use is critical for smooth, even mowing. Accumulated clippings beneath the deck can decrease the airflow needed for the mower to properly mulch, bag, or side-discharge. Built-up clippings also hold moisture and corrosive fertilizer against the underside of the deck, causing rust.

You can clean the underside of the deck using your garden hose—some mowers have a washout port that you can attach the hose to. It's easiest to do just after mowing and the clippings are still moist.

You can also remove clippings with a hard-plastic ice scraper, which reduces the risk of scratching (and eventual rusting) that a metal scraper or other tool might cause. Turn the mower on its side with the carburetor and air filter facing upward to keep oil from getting into the fuel system, and then use the scraper. This will work even if the mower deck is covered with dry, hardened clippings water might not remove.

After you've finished, spray silicone lubricant on the underside of the deck to reduce clipping build-up next time you mow and to make cleanup easier.

Essential information: If you're in the market for a new lawn mower or tractors, use our free buyer's guide and check out our ratings of push mowers, self-propelled mowers, and lawn tractors (available to subscribers). And read our review of the Easun NaturCut Classic, Fiskars Momentum 317736, and Scotts 2000-20 reel mowers.

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