Mower deck clogs with grass? Try this.

If your mower deck keeps clogging, you’re not alone. It’s a common problem, especially in the spring. I wish I could tell you there’s one weird trick to fix everything. That’s not quite the case, but there are several things you can do when your mower deck clogs with grass that will help.

Raise the cutting height

Mower deck clogs with grass
This deck isn’t too bad, but you can see grass is sticking to it even though it’s plastic. To prevent future clogs, I cleaned off the clippings and sprayed the deck with cooking spray.

The first trick to prevent a mower deck from clogging up is to raise the cutting height. Electric mowers in particular can struggle at the lowest cutting height. (Here’s why I like them anyway.) So cutting your grass a bit taller can help both the mower and your grass. As tempting as it is to try to cut short in the spring when the grass is thick and tall and grows fast, it’s a bit self defeating.

If your height adjustments are stuck, here’s how I fixed that, back when I still had a gas mower.

Try mulching instead of bagging

Bagging grass requires a lot of airflow, and if you don’t have enough airflow, the clippings stick to the deck instead of going into the bag. Cutting short compounds that problem, as the lower the deck is, the less airflow you have. Mulching requires much less airflow, so even though it seems like mulching should cause more grass to stick to your mower deck, it actually causes less. It saves time too, because then you don’t have to mess with emptying the bag.

If you fell behind in cutting and you’re having to cut really tall grass, you may find you need to use side discharge on that first cut before you get caught back up.

Prevent mower deck clogging up with cooking spray

Finally, lubricating your mower deck makes it much harder for grass to stick to it. There are dedicated graphite and PTFE products for that, and one spray should last all season. But a quick fix is to use cooking spray. It doesn’t last quite as long but it’s cheap and won’t harm your grass.

Don’t use a petroleum-based oil, as it can drip down on the lawn and damage it. Vegetable oils won’t.

Clean under the deck more often

I’m just as guilty of this as anyone, but one thing that helps is cleaning under the mower deck more often. You don’t have to do it after every cut, but a few times per season, take the battery out or unplug the spark plug, and clean out the grass clippings from the deck.

And yes, even though grass doesn’t stick to plastic as well as it does to metal, and plastic decks don’t rust, you do still need to clean under plastic decks from time to time.

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