A closeup of wet grass.

Can You Mow Wet Grass?

8 minutes

Key Takeaways

  1. You can mow wet grass, but it’s not a good idea because it’s dangerous for you, your lawn, and your lawn mower.
  2. You’ll know your grass is dry enough to mow when you can walk over it without your shoes getting wet.
  3. If you need to mow wet grass, use a gas lawn mower, wear water-proof clothes, boots, and ensure your lawn mower’s blades are sharp.

There’s nothing more annoying than having to wait to mow the grass. Sometimes, it rains for weeks, and my lawn gets out of control, but I know mowing a wet lawn isn’t worth the risk. However, people often ask if you can mow wet grass. So, can you?

Can You Mow Wet Grass?

Rain falling on grass.

It is not a good idea to mow wet grass. I know it’s frustrating when you’ve set aside a Saturday morning to get the job done but can’t because it rained the night before. However, I can’t stress enough that you should wait.

I’m going to go into more detail on why cutting wet grass is not a good idea later in this article, but let me first tell you that not only could the moisture in the grass cause damage to your lawn mower, but also cutting wet grass with your lawn mower could affect your lawn’s health. 

Whichever way you look at it, mowing wet grass is not a good thing!

What Are The Risks Of Mowing Grass When It’s Wet?

A lawn mower's wheel covered in wet grass while it mows a wet lawn.

Waiting for the lawn to dry will seem like a minor inconvenience when you understand the adverse effects of mowing the grass while it’s still wet. 

Let’s start with the dangers of using an electric lawn mower on wet grass.

Using An Electric Lawn Mower On Wet Grass Is Dangerous

Many people have an electric (corded or cordless) lawn mower, which is great because they’re so convenient. But using an electric lawn mower on wet grass is just not a good idea. In fact, doing so is dangerous.

For starters, if water gets into a hole and then into the workings of the mower, this could cause a spark. This spark can then transfer as an electric shock via the metal handles, which is very dangerous for you as the user. 

If that wasn’t enough to put you off, consider the damage that moisture will do to your lawn mower. Electric lawn mowers can cost quite a lot of money (although there are a lot of affordable models out there). Regardless of what you spend, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to throw that investment down the drain.

This begs the question of whether using a gas lawn mower on wet grass is safe. While gas-powered models are generally safer when mowing a wet lawn, it’s still not advisable. This is because of the potential safety risks and risks to your lawn that I’ll discuss below. 

The Lawn Will Be Slippery

Imagine walking over wet grass; it’s much more slippery than dry grass, right?

So now imagine trying to maneuver a heavy lawn mower over this slippery surface; there’s a good chance you’ll lose your footing. This is even more risky when you’re mowing on a slope. If your foot gets in the way of the blade, the resulting injury could be devastating. 

You Could Damage Your Lawn Mower

Earlier, I talked about how using an electric lawn mower on wet grass was risky in terms of your machine’s health. 

Manufacturers designed lawn mowers to cut dry grass. They do this more efficiently, and dry grass doesn’t put the same stress on your lawn mower. 

When you bring water into the mix, there’s a risk of it getting into your lawn mower’s mechanical and electrical components and causing irreparable damage. 

And it’s not just that. Repeated exposure to moisture could cause the metal parts of your lawn mower (like the blades) to rust. Again, this results in costly repairs and unnecessary maintenance. 

It’s just not worth it. 

If you’re running a gas-powered lawn mower, there is also a risk of moisture getting into the fuel tank, contaminating the fuel. When this happens, that moisture can again cause rust and corrosion, leading to further problems, such as engine overheating and damage to the fuel lines. 

Mowing Wet Grass Can Damage The Health Of Your Lawn

I don’t know about you, but one thing that really irritates me is an unhealthy-looking lawn. I love the appearance of a lush, green lawn, which I strive to achieve with my own. 

While you can do many things to promote better lawn health, if you mow when it’s wet, you’ll undo all of your hard work. 

Your heavy lawn mower will compact the soil more when it’s wet. This happens on dry soil, too, so it’s always a good idea to mow in different directions. However, when it’s wet, the effects are worse. 

Heavily compacted soil cannot absorb water as readily. Without water, your grass will not thrive.

Finally, when you cut wet grass, the lawn mower blades don’t move as smoothly through it. This often results in the grass being torn instead of neatly trimmed, which can put too much stress on the plant. When this happens, the grass is more susceptible to disease and can even cause it to die. 

Wet Grass Doesn’t Cut As Evenly

When your grass is wet, the weight of the water can cause some of the blades to fold over. Compared to mowing when it’s dry, you’ll find that not all blades are cut evenly. 

While it may look as though everything is uniform directly after mowing, once those folded blades of grass dry and pop back up, you’ll likely notice your lawn doesn’t look as even as you thought. 

Because of this, you’ll have to get the lawn mower out of the shed and mow again. It’s far better to wait until the lawn is dry and save yourself the hassle of mowing it twice!

Mowing Wet Grass Is More Difficult

Pushing your lawn mower over wet ground requires much more physical effort. I know mowing the lawn can sometimes be tiring, but why make it more exhausting than it needs to be?

Moreover, your lawn mower will have a much harder time vacuuming the clippings into the grass catcher. This means you’ll likely find clumps of grass stuck to the lawn mower deck, which you’ll have to remove by hand. 

Even emptying the clippings from the grass catcher will be more demanding, and many will stick to the inside. 

If You Have To Cut Wet Grass, Follow These Tips

A man mowing his lawn.

Having read the above information, I hope you’ll wait until the grass is dry. But I understand that, in some cases, there may be some urgency. So, if you must cut the grass while wet, follow these tips for the best results. 

Ensure Your Lawn Mower Blades Are Sharp

Dull lawn mower blades make cutting the grass difficult at the best of times, not to mention when it’s wet. So, you first want to ensure that your lawn mower blades are as sharp as possible. 

Not only will this make cutting the grass easier, but it will also be gentler on your lawn. Earlier, I mentioned cutting wet grass can cause it to rip or tear, but sharper blades mean less chance of this happening. 

Use The Side Discharge Chute (If Your Lawn Mower Has One)

It’s difficult using a grass catcher when mowing a wet lawn. So, if you have to cut the lawn while it’s wet, use your lawn mower’s side discharge chute instead. 

Not all lawn mowers have this feature, but if you know you’ll have to regularly cut the grass while it’s wet, it might be worth considering an upgrade. 

A rear discharge chute is more common, and you can still use it similarly. The only downside is that the clean-up is more difficult, and there’s a high chance you’ll walk away covered in wet grass clippings.

Clean Your Lawn Mower Properly

Wet grass gets stuck to the lawn mower deck. If you don’t take the time to remove it, the moisture can damage your machine. 

Moisture and metal don’t mix well. Uncleaned lawn mowers can get rusty. If the blades get rusty, they won’t cut as efficiently and can be incredibly dangerous. 

It might mean dedicating more time to the job but removing wet grass clippings is essential.

Wear The Correct Attire

If you cut the grass while wet, you’ll want to avoid getting covered in annoying soggy grass clippings. The best way to do this is by wearing waterproof overalls (men, women) and ensuring you cover your arms and legs with long sleeves. 

While I wouldn’t recommend mowing while it’s raining, if you do, then I would advise wearing a good pair of waterproof gloves. These will give you a better grip on the lawn mower handle and help prevent slipping. 

Since the ground will be more slippery, rubber boots (men, women) with excellent traction are a must. 

I would avoid wearing eye goggles because, when it’s raining, there is a risk of them steaming up, which could affect your ability to see clearly. If there’s something on the lawn, such as a large stone or garden toy, you might miss it and mow over it, which could damage your lawn mower. 

How Soon After It Rains Can I Cut My Grass?

I’ve felt the pain of having to wait for the grass to be dry enough to get the lawn mower out of the shed, and I know it’s frustrating. But waiting for the conditions to improve is the best thing you can do to ensure the health of your lawn, lawn mower, and safety.

A little light rain shouldn’t take more than a few hours to evaporate, but heavier showers could take days. 

The best rule to follow is that the grass is only dry enough to be cut once you can walk over it without getting your shoes wet. 

Lawn Mowers Enthusiast
Karen Bradshaw is a lawn mower geek and gardening enthusiast. She enjoys writing about both and spending much of her free time tending to her garden. Karen also enjoys walking in nature, reading, and spending time with her three children. She’s also a huge foodie, checking out as many cuisines as possible when exploring new cities.