Who doesn’t want a healthy-looking lawn? To get a healthy-looking and vigorous lawn, you need to feed the grass with fertilizer. Here the job of a spreader starts. A fertilizer spreader evenly distributes the fertilizers you want to spray over the lawn in almost a constant amount and within a very short period. Which by hand is very hard and time-consuming to get. Moreover, you don’t need to calculate every time of fertilizer application. Such an important device is to be maintained and cleaned properly.
Fertilizer granules become more acidic as they absorb moisture from the air. If the fertilizer is not immediately removed after application, the fertilizer residues will damage the metallic parts like gears, zerk fittings, etc., and may make the machine stop working. Besides, they will aggregate and make it harder to remove that lump and create a problem at distribution. Moreover, the fertilizer residue will stain plastic and metallic parts which will make the machine disgusting in appearance.
Wondering How To Clean Fertilizer Spreaders?
No problem. Because in this article we will provide you the right method in detail by which you can keep the machine clean and operate the machine as a new one over a long time. So, let’s dive into the job.
1. Water cleaning or simple rinsing:
First of all, you need to clean with simple cold water. Water will remove most of the bigger debris from the hopper to the downside of the spreader and make it easier to perform deep cleaning. To perform the purpose, you need a hose and a paved area (don’t attempt to do it on the lawn otherwise fertilizer will accumulate on the soil and damage the part of the lawn). Now hold the hose and spray water inside the hopper. First, wash with the pressurized setting thoroughly and then use the spray setting.
The high-pressure water will remove most of the fertilizer debris and the spray setting will smoothly accumulate them at the downside of the hopper. Spray outside of the hopper with both settings. Apply on the steel body, tires, and tire joint. Spray with the pressurized setting on the impeller to remove properly. Use only the spray setting on the zerk fittings and the gear part and if possible, don’t wash with water. Because pressurized water will help tiny fertilizer residues get inside of the zerk fittings and gear, causing rust formation to jam bearings and gears even gear teeth break may occur. Once you are done with the water cleaning, proceed to the next step, the deep cleaning and drying.
2. Deep cleaning and drying:
Take a bucket, some detergent, a soft and clean piece of cloth or washing sponge, and water. Mix the detergent with water properly in the bucket. This step is important to keep the outer side of the spreader clean and free from any fertilizer reaction. Fertilizer granules are acidic and detergent is basic, performing this step will fully neutralize the acidic reaction on metals. Once you mix detergent with water, drench the washing object in the mixture for a couple of seconds.
Take some of the detergent water in the washing material and start mopping inside the hopper with strength. You can’t see the tiny fertilizer residues but they will be attached to parts of the machine if not mopped with strength. Once you are done, wash away the foam with water. Mop the lower parts like impeller, wheel, joint of wheel and jerk fittings, etc. with detergent water and clean with strength. Once you are done with the parts, wash the foam with water. You need to mop the other steel body parts and handles. You can repeat the process if you like. You can also wait some moments after mopping and before washing away the foam to complete the chemical reaction.
Once you are done with soap and water, take a blower and apply it to the whole body. It will remove much of the water adhere to different parts of the machine. Next, take a dry and clean piece of cloth and start mopping the parts with strength. Remember to remove as much water and make the machine dry as possible for the next step. Joints may be hard to clean so make a thin rope of dried cloth and start rubbing the joints roughly. It will remove fertilizer and dirt and clean nicely as well. Once you are done, keep it in the sunlight for a moment for better drying.
3. Lubricating and layering:
One of the crucial tasks is to lubricate the zerk fittings and gears frequently. Water and soap may clean outside but not inside parts like bearings and gears. Besides, lubricating will keep the machine as movable as a new one and protect the parts from moisture and rust. To lube the parts, you will need a grease gun to apply grease or lubricant inside. You can use a manual grease gun or an electric grease gun. Operating both of them are almost all the same.
In the case of a manual gun, you need to fill the tube first and then connect the nozzle to a zerk fitting opening and pump to get the lubricant inside of the zerk fitting. In the case of an electric gun, you need to just connect the nozzle and turn on the switch. In both cases, you will see water drops coming from the joints and after some time, dirty grease will come out of the joints. Mop the grease with tissue paper or cloth. Continue feeding till clean grease comes out. Once come out, stop feeding and mop the grease. You should lubricate other moving joints of the machine so that all of the parts work properly.
Greasing the interior and joints will keep the parts movable for a long time. But what is going to prevent other exterior metallic portions from rust and moisture? Yes, a silicon lubricant layer will perform the task for you. What you need to do is to grab a rag or piece of cloth and add some lubricant to that. Next, mop the steel parts, gear protector, and handle parts with the lubricant. some joints are impossible to reach by the rag. So, add some lubricant to a small brush and rinse thoroughly. Not only does the lubricant make the machine shiny, but also protects from moisture and prevents rust formation, ensuring the longevity of the spreader.
If you have pneumatic tires, make sure to pump and keep the air pressure between 18 to 20 psi. do not overpressure the tires.
How frequently do you need to clean the spreader? It depends on what material the machine is made of. If it is fully made of plastic, then cleaning with soap and lubricating is enough. But it is made of steel and plastic, follow the steps carefully. Another reason is how frequently you fertilize your lawn or use the machine. always wash after a fertilizer application (normally every 3 months as common fertilizers provide nutrients up to 3 months). It is recommended to check whether the machine is working well every 10-15 days and if possible, and apply lubricant every 25-30 days. Check the air pressure in the tires too.
Follow the practice and you will find the spreader is working for a long time. Otherwise, after some usages, you may need to change some parts or even purchase a new one, which costs a lot. Why should you waste your money? Just give 20-30 minutes every 10-15 days and save your money and time.