How to Clean Your Lawn Mower Carburetor


Jeffrey Tung on Jan 1, 2024

Dirty tractor with tools next to it

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When you have a lawn, whether big or small, you’re bound to take care of them regularly if you want to have a healthy yard. One way of keeping it clean and green is to use a lawn mower. However, the more that you use it, just like in most things, the more it will wear down and get dirty. Especially with an appliance like a lawn mower, expect that you’ll have to clean parts with at least a week’s worth of soil and grime to clean up. One of which is your lawn mower’s carburetor.

A carburetor is one of the most essential parts of a lawn mower; it’s responsible for controlling and mixing the gasoline and air before it continues through the engine. All of these can easily dry out in the carburetor. Given that, it’s most likely that you’ll find a lot of ingrained sludge or debris around your carburetor (or even inside it). If left uncleaned for long periods of time, the accumulating dirt would make your lawn mower dysfunctional to some extent.

With that, it’s extremely crucial to regularly take care and clean your lawn mower from the inside out.

What can I use to clean a carburetor?

Cleaning the carburetor would require certain products and tools. Some of which include the following:

Carburetor Cleaner

You should aim for this particular type of cleaning solvent in order to clean. It is designed to clean the accumulated sludge and dirt on your carburetor. Usually, this comes in the form a can the size of a gallon along with a soaking basket. You can use the basket in order to soak your lawn mower carburetor in it for a couple of minutes. This cleaner is best suited for carburetors with larger parts.

Spray Carburetor Cleaner

This cleaning solvent is mostly used for a quick clean of the carburetor. It does not come in a size as big as the standard carburetor cleaner but it still does its job effectively and efficiently. The best way to use this is to simply spray it on the carburetor thoroughly in order to dissolve the dirt and grime.

Brake Cleaner

This type of cleaning solvent is not particularly designed for carburetors but it still gets the job done. It’s an alternative that is safe and effective to use as it helps dissolve dirt buildup, much like how a carburetor cleaner works as well.

How do I make my carburetor look new?

No matter how old your lawn mower may be, its performance still highly depends on how well you maintain it. This includes cleaning every part of it, which may require you to disassemble your unit. However, in this how-to, you will have two options in how to clean lawn mower carburetor: with and without taking it out.

A quick and essential tip is to take a picture of every part before you do anything to it. Disassembling it or not, photographing your process will make it easier for you to go back to previous steps should you get lost.

Step 1: Assess the problem

Before proceeding to anything else, remember to make sure that you’re solving the right problem. You may think that a lot is happening to your lawn mower when in reality, it may just be something simple. To ensure that your problem is really a case of a dirty lawn mower carburetor, follow these series of steps:

  • Check if your lawn mower has fuel.
  • Check if your air filter does not have debris.
  • Put a bit of carburetor cleaner into the carburetor and start the lawn mower.
  • If the lawn mower starts, it’s a sign that you need to give your lawn mower carburetor a good cleaning.

Step 2: Uncover the carburetor’s inside parts

After figuring out what the underlying problem is, start by uncovering your lawn mower in order to reveal the inner parts of its carburetor. Using a screwdriver, open the air filter’s cover to expose the carburetor giving you easy access.

From this point on, you can divert into the two options. If you want to remove the carburetor, proceed to steps 3 and 4. If you want to clean your lawn mower carburetor without taking it out from the engine, proceed to step 5.

Step 3: Remove the carburetor from the fuel line

Although this step depends on the type of model that you have, generally, it just takes some unscrewing and removing of the outer panels. Once you find the air filter, take it out and you will see that the carburetor is bolted. Simply unbolt it and take it out of the fuel line carefully. Prepare a rag before taking it out. You might see some fuel spilling out of the carburetor so the rag will prevent it from going everywhere. However, if you don’t see fuel spilling out, it may indicate a different problem, which is a blockage in the fuel line. Check that out first before proceeding to the next step.

Once you’re sure about your carburetor, take out all the parts and clean it with several sprays of your carburetor cleaner. The carburetor would have many holes and other crevices you would need to attend to as well. Make sure that you’re cleaning where you need to spray the carburetor and that they’re free of debris.

Step 4: Reassemble the lawn mower

This is where the photographs will be extremely useful especially if you’re not a seasoned lawn mower user or expert. Reattach each part of the carburetor properly before slotting it back intp the engine. This will definitely take some time so be patient during this step. After reassembling your lawn mower, add fuel and try starting it up. If there aren’t any more problems that arise, then it will start up normally and voila! Your lawn mower is up and ready to clean more yards!

Step 5: Spray with the lawn mower carburetor cleaner

For this step, you would not need to take out the lawn mower carburetor for you to clean it. Fortunately, the majority of carburetor cleaners in the market are designed as spray cans which makes for an easier cleaning both inside and out. After exposing your lawn mower carburetor’s inside parts, point the tip of your carburetor cleaner to the middle of the carburetor. Keep your engine and carburetor running as you spray it clean.

What is the best carburetor cleaner?

There are tons of carburetor cleaners out there that it can be difficult to pick out which ones are good. Listed below are some of the key features you should be looking for in a lawn mower carburetor:


A good carburetor cleaner should work fast but effectively. The reason why these products are produced in the first place is for cleaning to take less effort and time. Instead of scrubbing your carburetor and its parts for hours on end, you would just need a good lawn mower carburetor to do most of the job for you.


Some carburetor cleaners may act fast, but may not be as effective as it is quick. To find out its effectiveness, take note of how it removes and dissolves the grime off your carburetor the first time. Although it still depends on the condition of your carburetor, i.e. how dirty it is, it should still take less product from the can in order for it to be potent.

Easy to store

If you’re a person with a tight schedule, you might not have the time to really get in deep with your lawn mower. That’s why good carburetor cleaners are made to be storable and accessible. You can store it easily at home or your garage where you can reach for it without much effort. Given that, it should also have a good storage in terms of caps. This would mean you can use it more than once and it would still be just as effective.

Safe to use

Aside from being safe to use by people, it should also be safe for other components of your lawn mower as well. When you’re cleaning your carburetor, it will no doubt be in contact with other parts. There are some carburetor cleaners that wash off the paint off your lawn mower or have an adverse effect on its metal parts. However, there are the best ones that are designed to be safe for other material types. Look for these ones so that cleaning would be much more efficient and easier for you.

Tools Official’s Top Picks for lawn mower carburetor cleaner:

  • Berryman 0996 Carb Cleaner
  • WD-40 Specialist Fast-Acting Carb and Throttle Body & Parts Cleaner
  • CDC Carb & Choke Cleaner

##Alternatives on how to clean lawn mower carburetor There may be instances when you won’t have the necessary carburetor cleaners at your disposal. Luckily, there are other ways for you to effectively clean your lawn mower carburetor without the use of such products. Can you clean a carburetor with water? Will vinegar clean it as well? Read the following alternative process below to know more:

Boil Cleaning

This is a process where you soak your carburetor to rid them off of its dirt and grime. In order to speed up the process, you would need to boil it first. Liquids that are safe and effective to use in this type of alternative include water, vinegar, and even lemon water. Take note, however, that it may not work as well as a carburetor cleaner which will require more time and effort. This particular alternative works best for those with no right tools and products at all.

Ultrasonic Cleaners

These are essentially used in many other applications in order to remove any contamination. It makes use of the process called cavitation, which refers to the process of the implosion of minute bubbles as it comes into contact with the tool and its parts. This process usually takes longer and would require you to take it to a place that has this device. Although this would require more time and money, you would have the freedom to do other tasks while your carburetor is getting cleaned. This alternative would suit those who have a busy schedule best.

Wrapping Up

It’s a given that mowing your lawn regularly is crucial to a healthy and green yard. However, keeping our lawn mowers clean is just as important in order for it to remain functional. We won’t be able to prevent our lawn mowers from having issues completely, but having a regular cleaning session would make the chances lower. Moreover, doing so would not only keep your lawn mower working properly, but it would also help you diagnose the possible issues it may have easier.