Lawn mower cutting grass

Can You Mow Wet Grass Without Damaging Your Lawnmower?

If we take the question, “can you mow wet grass?” literally, it is obvious that you can mow wet grass. Simply take your lawnmower out and run it over your soggy lawn, and some grass will be cut.

But that does not mean you should mow wet grass.

There are many reasons to wait until your lawn is dry before cranking up the lawnmower. Read on to find out why you should not cut your grass when it is wet.

Cutting Dry Grass Vs. Wet Grass

When dry grass is cut, some will become stuck on the bottom of your mower, but it generally won’t be enough to clog up the blades or any other any moving parts. Wet grass is a different thing entirely.

Mower clogged with wet grass

Wet grass is heavier and stickier than dry grass. It is thrown upward with more force, and when it hits a surface, it clumps together more efficiently. Not only can wet grass clog up your blades, but it can get into the motor and even the fuel tank (in the case of a gas-powered mower).

Contaminating the fuel can stop a lawnmower in its tracks, and the only way to resolve it is to clean out the fuel tank and replace the gas. With electric mowers, you still run the risk of overheating: As the wet grass clumps onto the blades or the area around them, the motor has to work harder to spin them. This overworking results in the motor overheating, and if it’s not turned off in time, the motor can become damaged or completely irreparable.

Related: How Long Should Your Lawn Mower Last & How To Make It Last Longer?

Mower underside clogged with wet grass
Mower underside clogged with wet grass

On top of all this, collecting wet grass in a basket at the back of the mower will be messier and heavier. If you don’t have a basket on the mower, you will be left with large clumps of wet grass on your lawn that are hard to clean up. Yet, if you don’t clean them up, you risk mold and fungus growing in the clumps – they love damp and warm areas.

Do You Have an Electric Mower?

If you have an electric mower, it is a very bad idea to mow your grass when wet. We all know that electricity and water don’t mix, and as you cut, the moisture will be thrown into the inner workings of your lawnmower.

It’s only a matter of time before the worst-case scenario happens and you no longer have a working lawnmower.

Some gas-powered lawnmowers have electrical components, and even if they don’t, you don’t want to risk mixing water into your fuel, which could happen very easily if you try to mow while it’s raining. Lawn mowers are not built for wet weather use.

Lawn during heavy rain
Lawn during heavy rain

In any case, you don’t want to cut your grass in the rain – damaging your lawnmower is one thing, but putting yourself at risk is unacceptable, and should be avoided at all costs. Cut your grass when it is dry, and avoid a nasty electric shock.

If you do choose to cut wet grass, you might get lucky and not run into any problems, but you would only be tempting fate.

The Risk of Injury When Cutting Wet Grass

Wet grass does not only pose a risk to your mower; it also poses a risk to you. If you have ever walked on wet grass, you know that it is a slipping hazard. Holding onto a mower can stabilize you to some extent, but it can put you off balance, too. The spinning blades could shift your center of balance, and if there is wet grass underfoot, you could easily slip.

And we’ve not even started to talk about wet grass on inclines and declines. Pushing a mower uphill could cause your foot to slip back quickly, and going down a hill could pull you forward. It is highly recommended that you let the grass dry first to prevent slipping and tripping.

What About the Grass Itself?

We’ve talked about the hazards to the lawnmower and you, but perhaps the most under-stated reason not to cut the grass when wet is that you will not be able to do as good a job.

Lawnmowers rely on blades of grass standing upright when the spinning blades pass over top. They move too quickly for the grass to be knocked down, either by the blades or the air movement generated, and lop off the top section of the grass before it can get out of the way.

Bent over blades of wet grass

Moisture adds weight to the grass and naturally drags it downward. Some blades of grass are not going to be cut at all, and the ones that are cut are going to be cut to different lengths. What you are going to be left with is an uneven finish that is a waste of your time.

Do You Have to Wait Until the Grass Is Completely Dry to Mow It?

You should mow your grass when it is completely dry for the best results.

But that is only sometimes possible. During the rainy season, your grass might need more time to dry thoroughly, and you have your schedule to think about, too. So, the best answer is to allow the grass to dry for as long as possible before mowing it.

How long you wait will depend on the climate and how heavy the rainfall is. You might only have to wait a few hours after a light shower. If you have heavier rain, let the grass dry overnight before mowing, or for eight hours.

Lawn mower mowing wet grass

Tip: Whether your grass is completely dry or only slightly damp, having sharp blades will always result in the best cut.

Closing The Debate

I am sure you know the answer by now, but to restate: it is always better to cut dry grass than wet. It can damage your lawnmower or injure you if you cut your grass while it is wet. The general rule of thumb is that the wetter the grass, the more risk of damage and injury there is.

Allow your grass to dry completely before cutting, and if you cannot, let it dry for as long as possible. If you must cut wet grass, stay safe – wear shoes with good grip and take your time. Slow and steady wins the race.

Steven Doyle

Steven Doyle is a freelance writer specializing in high-quality information-driven content. Not only does he write about durable and buy-it-for-life (BIFL) products, he gets hands-on to find the very best.

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