Gardening tools

Get Your Lawn Mower Ready for Winter

It’s always wise to give your lawn mower a thorough cleaning before winter. Photo:

When you’re done with your lawn mower for the season, even a laidback gardener really ought to take an hour or to give it a thorough cleaning and to prepare it for a winter of idleness. Here’s what to do:

1. Clean the body to remove stuck-on grass clippings and dirt. Wash it with a strong jet of water, then use a scraper or brush to remove what remains. Finish by drying it with a cloth, then lightly coat metal surfaces to prevent rust.

2. Grease the wheel axles.

Dull blades won’t get any sharper over the winter! Photo:

3. Clean, sharpen and oil the blade.

Replace the gas with fresh stabilized fuel. Photo:

4. To prevent condensation and damage to the carburetor, empty the fuel tank completely. You can siphon the gas off or use a turkey baster. The gasoline you remove can go into the car … or the snow blower. Now, run the mower until the motor quits in order to burn off the remaining gasoline in the tank and fuel lines. Next, refill the tank with fresh gasoline containing a stabilizer (available from hardware stores). Finally, run the engine for a minute or two so the lines refill with stabilized fuel and your tank and lines will be ready for winter.

5. Remove the spark plug and spray a bit of oil into the cylinder. Clean the spark plug with a small metal brush … or replace it. Most lawn mower guides recommend you change the spark plug every 2 or 3 years.

6. If the oil is dirty (black), empty the oil tank and replace the oil with the type of oil recommended by the mower manufacturer. Check with your municipality to find out where to take the used oil for disposal.

Clean or replace the air filter. Photo:

7. Many people choose to clean or replace the air filter before winter. Refer to your model’s instruction manual for the recommended frequency for this procedure, as well as how to clean or replace it.

8. Store the mower in a dry place (garage, shed, cellar, etc.) until spring.

Electric and Battery Mowers

These mowers require less maintenance. Especially follow steps 1, 2, 3 and 8.

Finally, for a battery-operated model, bring the battery indoors for the winter, as extreme temperatures may shorten its life.

And there you go! One short hour of effort at the end of the season will help keep your mower in good shape for many years to come!

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

2 comments on “Get Your Lawn Mower Ready for Winter

  1. It’s a really great article, thanks for sharing such informative knowledge with us. We also provide lawn care services. Visit our site for more information:

  2. Ours get no idle time, but they still need to be cleaned. They tend to collect more crud up underneath from grass that is wet in wintertime, so get cleaned a bit later.

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