If you’ve been an adult for longer than six minutes, then you’ll know this whole being a “grown-up” thing isn’t the freedom you hoped it would be. You quickly learn that three takeaways a day is not feasible, mobile phone games aren’t that fun and having a bedroom floordrobe is a nightmare. Yup, eventually, we all have to succumb to the world of chores. “Urgh!”.
But not all chores are rubbish. Some are, like scrubbing the dishes, cleaning the mildew stains off your shower door, making the bed each morning, tackling the laundry basket and watering those plants your partner insists on buying. But some chores step into the realm of pride-inducing, like polishing your car on a Sunday morning and cleaning the deck of your mower. These little tasks can make adulthood feel kind of awesome.
Anyway, there are no points for guessing which one we’re going to talk about because, well, as lawn care superheroes, that should be pretty obvious. Yeah. You got it in one. This week is all about cleaning your mower deck.
The reason we’re addressing this is simple: spring is knock-knock-knocking on your garden gate and that means a whole bunch of not-so-neat-freakish gardeners are about to get stuck into all things mowing without knowing:
- Why they need to clean their mower decks.
- How often they should be doing it.
- What this pride-swelling chore entails.
But before we get into all that cleanliness stuff, we’re going to teach you how to tune up your mower in 3 simple steps so that a) you don’t pull a muscle yanking on that starter cord a hundred times and b) it’s ready to run smoothly all season long:
- Essential Oils: The first thing you gotta do is change the oil. But don’t just throw in any old oil, like that extra virgin stuff in the kitchen. Replace it with right type, which is easily done by checking the owner’s manual at the back of your ‘man drawer’.
- Starts With A Spark: Before you put that owner’s manual away for another dust-collecting amount of time, just quickly flick to the part about changing the spark plug. That way you’ll know how to disconnect yours properly, how to clean the housing, remove the old one, fit the new one with the correct gap and screw it tight (but not too tight).
- #NewFilter: First things first, don’t try and change your filter until you know what sort of filter you are working with; paper or foam air. Why is this important? Because one is cleaned and one is replaced. Now, your owner’s manual will be able to clarify all the steps (or, if you’ve lost that, you can rely on good-old YouTube) but, to get you started on the right foot, paper ones should be replaced and air foam ones need to be cleaned.
That’s all there is to it. How cool is that? That’s all it takes to have your mower purring from the start of spring until the end of summer, which is great news because you now have plenty of time to spend cleaning the deck. So, without further ado, here is everything you need to know about:
- “What Exactly Is This Deck Thingy?”
Good question, imaginary person. The deck is that cover-slash-housing bit around your cutting blade. Yeah, that’s it, the bit at the bottom of your mower, on the underside. That’s the deck.
- “How Many Times Am I Going To Have To Do This?”
This is what makes this chore so freakin’ awesome. Twice. That’s the answer. You only need to clean your deck about twice a season, three-times max. Our advice: give it a good old scrub halfway through spring and then give it another deep cleanse halfway through summer. Come on, how good is that, especially when compared to doing the dishes twice a day.
- “Okay, But Is There Actually A Point To This?”
Of course there is. I mean, if we were going to play a prank on you, we would do it with a lot more flair than a deck clean. We’d do something like duct tape a harmonica to the grill of your car so that you would hear a cheery whistling sound whenever you hit 35 mph. That sort of thing. Alas, we digress.
So, first things first, pride. That’s why you should clean your mower deck; to make it look so neat you’ll get Keen Kevin’s nod of approval next time he stops by to collect those handy gardening tools you borrowed a while back. But that’s only reason. Cleaning your deck will also improve the performance of your mower, and stop the chance of disease spreading about your lawn. “How is this possible?” Well, when you mow your lawn, you’re cutting the grass blades, and that opens up little wounds that put your lawn at risk of some serious nasties; lots and lots of serious nasties.
- “Let’s Say You’re Right,” (Which We Are) “How Do I Actually Go About Cleaning The Deck?”
And so we have arrived at the all-important question of how, and one we can answer in six short steps:
- Google how to syphon fuel, empty the fuel tank as much as you can and then disconnect the wire on your spark plug.
- Stretch your muscles, take three deep breaths and then engage your muscles so that your mower is standing up on its side.
- Pull on your marigolds or gardening gloves and scrape off all the grass clippings you can.
- Go and get your garden hose, carefully position your thumb over the end to create that DIY-power mode and then spray the deck with everything you can. Full-blast it. This should loosen all that dry dirt and grass that is so stuck it seems to have been glued to your deck or something.
- Using a brush and some warm soapy water, put in some elbow grease and scrub off any leftover gloopiness.
- And, last but not least, rinse it and dry it.
And that’s all there is to it, which means, as far as chores go, this is well up there with the best of them. Of course, if you’re still not impressed by the amount of work that has to go into this whole hoopla, then try spraying some veggie oil onto the deck once you’ve done the cleaning. It’s a little gardening hack that will stop so many grass clippings from sticking to the underside of your mower. It’s life-changing.