A well-maintained lawn mower is essential for keeping your lawn pristine and green. One crucial component of a lawn mower is the carburetor, responsible for mixing air with a fine mist of fuel for combustion. Over time, the carburetor can become clogged with debris and varnish, affecting the engine’s performance. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of cleaning a lawn mower carburetor, ensuring your machine runs smoothly and efficiently.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before diving into the carburetor cleaning process, gather the necessary tools and materials. You’ll need a socket or wrench set, screwdrivers, carburetor cleaner, compressed air, and safety equipment such as gloves and safety glasses.

Step 2: Disconnect the Spark Plug

For safety reasons, always disconnect the spark plug before performing any maintenance on your lawn mower. This prevents accidental starts, ensuring your safety during the cleaning process.

Step 3: Locate the Carburetor

The carburetor is typically located near the air filter, and its appearance varies based on the mower’s make and model. Refer to your mower’s manual if you’re unsure about the carburetor’s location.

Step 4: Remove the Carburetor Cover and Air Filter

Using the appropriate tools, remove the cover that shields the carburetor and the air filter. This step provides easy access to the carburetor for cleaning.

Step 5: Document Carburetor Connections

Before disassembling the carburetor, take pictures or make a note of its connections. This ensures you can reassemble it correctly later on.

Step 6: Disassemble the Carburetor

Carefully disassemble the carburetor, taking note of the order and orientation of each part. Pay close attention to small components such as gaskets, O-rings, and springs.

Step 7: Clean the Carburetor Components

Using a carburetor cleaner and a small brush, gently clean each component of the carburetor. Pay special attention to clogged jets, passages, and the float bowl. Compressed air can be used to blow out any remaining debris.

Step 8: Inspect for Wear and Tear

While cleaning, inspect each part for signs of wear and tear. Replace any damaged or worn components to ensure optimal performance.

Step 9: Reassemble the Carburetor

Carefully reassemble the carburetor in the reverse order of disassembly. Use your reference photos or notes to ensure proper reconnection of all components.

Step 10: Reinstall the Carburetor and Air Filter

Once the carburetor is reassembled, reinstall it along with the air filter and carburetor cover. Tighten any screws or bolts securely.

Step 11: Reconnect the Spark Plug

With the carburetor reinstalled, reconnect the spark plug to restore power to the lawn mower.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about How to Clean a Lawn Mower Carburetor

How do you clean a lawn mower carburetor without removing it?

Cleaning a lawn mower carburetor without removing it involves using a carburetor cleaner. First, locate the air filter and remove it. Start the engine and spray the carburetor cleaner directly into the air intake. Allow the engine to run for a few minutes to let the cleaner penetrate and dissolve deposits. This method is not as thorough as a complete carburetor disassembly, but it can help improve performance without removing the carburetor.

Is there a way to clean a carburetor without taking it apart?

While not as effective as a complete disassembly, you can clean a carburetor without taking it apart by using a carburetor cleaner. Remove the air filter, start the engine, and spray the cleaner directly into the air intake. This method helps remove some deposits, but for a more thorough cleaning, disassembling the carburetor is recommended.

Can I use WD-40 to clean a carburetor?

While WD-40 is a useful lubricant and penetrant, it is not designed specifically for cleaning carburetors. It may help to displace moisture and loosen some deposits, but it lacks the solvents found in carburetor cleaners. It is advisable to use a dedicated carburetor cleaner for more effective results.

What are the symptoms of a dirty carburetor?

Symptoms of a dirty carburetor include:
Hard starting: Difficulty starting the engine or needing to pull the starter cord multiple times.
Poor performance: Reduced power, sluggish acceleration, or stalling during operation.
Idling issues: Rough idling, irregular engine speed, or idling too high or too low.
Black smoke: Excessive black exhaust smoke, indicating a rich fuel mixture.
Fuel efficiency: Reduced fuel efficiency due to an improper air-fuel mixture.

How do I know if my carburetor needs cleaning?

If you observe any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s an indication that your carburetor may need cleaning. Additionally, if your lawn mower has been sitting unused for an extended period, the likelihood of carburetor issues increases. Regular maintenance and periodic inspection can help identify when cleaning is necessary.

How do you clean gunk out of a carburetor?

To clean gunk out of a carburetor, follow these steps:
Remove the carburetor: Disconnect the spark plug and carefully remove the carburetor from the engine.
Disassemble the carburetor: Take apart the carburetor, noting the position of each component.
Clean with carburetor cleaner: Use a specialized carburetor cleaner and a small brush to clean all parts thoroughly. Pay attention to jets, passages, and the float bowl.
Use compressed air: Blow out remaining debris using compressed air, ensuring all passages are clear.
Inspect for damage: Check for wear or damage on components and replace any necessary parts.
Reassemble and reinstall: Put the carburetor back together in the reverse order of disassembly and reinstall it on the lawn mower.
Regular carburetor maintenance will help prevent gunk buildup and ensure optimal engine performance.


Regular maintenance, including cleaning the carburetor, is essential for the longevity and efficiency of your lawn mower. By following this step-by-step guide, you can keep your mower running smoothly and ensure a well-manicured lawn season after season. Remember to consult your mower’s manual for specific instructions and recommendations regarding carburetor maintenance.