Are Lawn Mowers Waterproof?

Blog/ July 16, 2019

This may seem like the most obvious question in the world, but you will be surprised at the number of homeowners that carry this question in their minds. In the event you might be thinking about sprucing your lawn, you might wonder whether it will still function even after being rained on for a short time, for instance – even if you do not have plans of mowing your lawn while it rains.

The main concern here is whether wet grass clippings can harm the internal components of the mower, especially for people that mow their grass frequently. The good news is you can find a way of working around the problem, through purchasing a water resistant mower – especially because grass tends to retain moisture.

Are they waterproof?

Before answering the question, you should note that there is no lawnmower that is entirely waterproof, just as with any machinery. Any machines that you see as waterproof can still suffer damage after being exposed to large quantities of water, even if they have the waterproof label.

You do not need to worry too much about your mower though, as many of the modern models will have special covers that protect them from a wide variety of hazards (unless stated otherwise). The only thing you need to keep in mind is the separate purchase of these protective covers, in addition to knowing that just because it can fit one mower, does not mean it can fit all the units you can think of.

In addition, just because the mower might not be waterproof does not mean you cannot clean it using water, because it is still possible. You need to let the engine cool down completely though before cleaning the mower using water. Lawn mowers will not have operation issues generally, unless you are mowing soaked grass (like immediately after a thunderstorm), which is not advisable.

What to do if your mower gets soaked

Sometimes, accidents will happen – including your lawnmower being stuck in a sudden rainstorm, or you forgot to remove it once you were done. If this happens, do not panic and assume your lawnmower is forever damaged – there are some useful steps you can take to rectify the situation.

  • Avoid laying the mower on its side, as this can cause the oil to spill out instead. Rather than that, you should start by spraying starter fluid into the carburetor, and then attempt running the engine to help with the drying process (this will also help to prevent rust from forming).
  • If the engine starts, allow it to run for some minutes, even if it makes some strange, unpleasant noises.
  • Switch the engine off after some time, and remove the air filter. Make sure to clean it, and allow it to dry out before replacing.
  • If starting the engine is difficult, you can try draining the oil and gas, since you want the mower to dry out completely before restarting it. In some cases, the spark plug is damaged due to the moisture, so you will need to replace it. In addition, examine the coil, as it might have rust on it from the moisture – if it does, remove the coil and clean it using a wire brush and sandpaper.
  • Because rust might form in the process of using the mower, guard the components against it through buying some rust protection, and this will prevent it from forming.

Is it a good idea to mow in the rain?

The answer to this is not as straightforward as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, because it requires careful inspection of your grass. When the grass is extremely wet, it is not a good idea because the blades tend to lie down. Because the ground under them is soaked, there are high chances of the mower moving sideways due to skidding, and the grass also ends up moving – therefore creating long term ruts.

It also hinders the process of cutting the grass correctly – either you cut it too much or too little, and the end result will not be neat. You also risk spreading plant diseases (if they are present) and also compacting the soil.

If you decide to mow the lawn, make sure the grass blades are upright to avoid these issues, and always clean the underside of the mower before and after the mowing process.

Final thoughts

If your lawnmower is wet, chances are high that it will not function correctly. However, that does not mean it is ruined because it was rained on – you can still rectify the problem through taking a few measures and help it to withstand these conditions.