Should you sanitize your lawn mower between jobs?

Sanitizing your lawn care equipment between mowing jobs tends to be something you don’t normally do unless you are specifically asked by a client to do so or you decide to use it as a way to stand out from competitors. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear a few different viewpoints on the benefit to sanitizing your lawn care equipment and if it is something you should do.

One lawn care business owner wrote “most all of the large companies in my area advertise that they sanitize lawn care equipment and shoes between every job. I haven’t been able to find out what type of chemical that they would be applying to equipment to sanitize it and not harm the lawn at the same time and if it is really necessary. Any input would be greatly appreciated.”

A second lawn care business owner said “this truly is a brilliant marketing scare. It reminds me of a story from years back. I can not for the life of me remember which company it was, but in the past when tuna was first being canned and sold in the US it was white tuna (Albacore). Well this other company was canning and selling pink tuna.

Sanitize lawn mower.

Sanitize lawn mower.

What was their gimmick? ‘Canned before it has a chance to turn white!’ People started to think that the white tuna was turning bad, so they quit buying it started only buying the pink stuff. It took the other tuna companies millions of dollars in advertising to convince people that pink tuna and white tuna were in fact two different things, not that white tuna was tuna going bad.

With all that said should we sanitize our mowers between jobs? Well I guess the answer to it all comes down to time and money.

To stop the spread of weeds, you would have to remove the seeds from your mower. They attach themselves all over your mower with probably the largest amount on the underside of your mowing deck. All that grass that is caked up in your mowing deck would have to be scraped out and removes then all sprayed off to be clean.

To prevent the spread of fungal lawn diseases, you would have to clean out the deck completely, and use 10% bleach to water cleaning solution on the entire mower and blades top and bottom to do any good. Then the bleach would kill the ground if you did not clean that off, so you would have to wash all of that off or let it dry.

You are looking to add at least two hours to cleanup of every job which most lawn care companies would find it to be not really cost effective. My guess is these lawn care companies who are marketing this concept are just saying they do something that you can not prove to make their customers think they have more value than their competitors.

Sure you can do this, but it all comes down to time and money. Risk versus reward. If a customer demands this of you, figure out how to make it work and bid the job accordingly, then see what they think of the added price.”

A third shared “believe it or not, the commercial lawn care bid proposal package I just picked up for a local school district requires sanitation of all mowing equipment before use on school property.

Now who is to say how ’sanitized’ the mowing equipment must be before use. Instead of scraping the deck of grass and power washing the entire mower, you could just carry a spray bottle with a 10% bleach to water mixture and simply spray it on the underside of the mower and call it ’sanitized.’ Unless it is all spelled out further. That also might be what these other mowing companies are doing when they advertise their mowers are ’sanitized’ between jobs.”

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