How to Clean Garden Lattices and Lawnmowers

Lattices and lawnmowers have one thing in common. Both help to keep your garden looking great and both need to be cleaned with care and maintained regularly.

How to Clean Garden Lattices and Lawnmowers

1. To clean a lattice

  • Lattice makes an attractive screen on a patio or in the garden, but those cracks and crevices create lots of places for dirt and grime to hide.
  • To clean lattice with no plants attached to it, use a hose with a nozzle that sends the water out in a tightly focused stream.
  • Use a stiff-bristled nylon or fibre brush to scrub dirty spots. If the lattice is wood, use the brush sparingly; you can use a freer hand on lattice of plastic, fibreglass or metal.
  • You may also use a power washer, available wherever tools can be rented, if your local water restrictions allow it.

2. To attack green mould

  • To get rid of that mould or mossy stuff that grows in shady spots, mix a solution of 4 litres (4 quarts) of water and 350 ml (1 1/2 cups) of chlorine bleach in a bucket.
  • Scrub the solution on with a stiff-bristled brush
  • Rinse with plain water.

3. Plants in your way?

  • To clean lattice that is supporting plants, wash it in the early spring.
  • Prune the plants back to about 15 cm (6 in) — most vines can easily take it — and remove the rest of the plant material from the lattice so that you can get to all of the crevices.

4. To clean a lawnmower

  • Take good care of your lawnmower, and it will take good care of your lawn.
  • Good care means keeping the mower clean and maintaining it in good working order.

5. To clean the underside

  • Make sure the engine is off and can't accidentally start. Remove the spark plug wire (or in the case of an electric mower, make sure it is unplugged).
  • Turn the mower on its side or prop one side on blocks if that's easier, but don't turn it completely over.
  • Use a garden hose to wash off loose grass and dirt.
  • Remove the remainder with a putty knife, followed by a stiff-bristled brush. If you do this every time you use the mower, you'll never get that caked, cruddy grass build-up.

6. On the mower's exterior

  • Keep the engine free of dead grass, leaves and grease, which presents a fire hazard.
  • To keep the mower running well, brush off the air-intake screen and the cooling fins on the engine with a stiff brush to keep them free of debris.

7. Check the mower's air filter

  • Do this after every 25 hours of use.
  • Replace a disposable paper filter (available where lawnmowers are sold). A foam-type filter has a removable sponge that should be soaked in warm water and then dried.
  • Follow up by putting a few drops of clean engine oil into the sponge and squeezing it to distribute the oil.
  • Then reinstall the sponge.

8. Take it to a pro

  • An annual professional tune-up for your lawnmower will save you a lot of trouble.
  • It should include a carburettor adjustment and a cleaning of belts, cables and switches.
  • It can also include sharpening the blade and changing the oil, spark plug and air filter if you prefer not to do those things yourself.

9. Kitchen solution to a garden problem

  • To prevent grass and dirt build-up under the deck of your lawnmower, use spray-on vegetable cooking oil.
  • Clean the underside and then apply the oil on the metal after it dries.
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