How to Clean a Chainsaw | Safer, Better and Longer-lasting Operation of Your Power Tool

Last Updated on

Like any power tools, if you want your chainsaw to last through years of heavy use, you are going to have to take good care of it. Learning how to clean a chainsaw is crucial properly caring for your chainsaw, and ensuring that you will get the best use out of it.

While an electric chainsaw, like the ones in this article, looks a little different, it still gets just as dirty and will break down if it is not properly cleaned.

A pole chainsaw also needs proper maintenance and cleaning. You can take a look at some of the best pole chainsaws and how to care for them here.


This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about cleaning different parts of a chainsaw. 

How to clean a chainsaw - The Ultimate Guide

chainsaws are constantly being used outdoors, with a lot of dirt and debris around

Cleaning your chainsaw is not too hard, and doing it regularly will save you the headache and cost of having to repair it later on down the road.

One of the main reasons chainsaws break down over time is because of a buildup of dust, sap, twigs and other things that can get caught in the saw’s parts. Remember, chainsaws are constantly being used outdoors, with a lot of dirt and debris around.

It would be impossible to design a chainsaw that always stays clean on the inside. To prevent your saw from breaking down due to these build-ups, follow these easy steps to clean it out regularly.

Cleaning the chain and guide bar

The chain and bar are one of the most important parts to keep clean. Because the chain does all of the actual cutting, it is exposed to tons of sticky sap and dirt. You may not be able to see the buildup of grime on your chain, but it will be affecting the chainsaw’s performance. Knowing how to clean a chainsaw chain will help.

To clean the chain and guide bar, start by securing the chainsaw on a workbench, and make sure that everything is completely shut off. Remove the wire in the sparkplug to be sure that the saw will not accidentally start while you are using it.

Then, remove the chain from the guide bar and clean out large chunks of debris from the bar groove (the slot where it attaches). After that, you can soak the whole chain in a mixture of water and ammonia. The best ratio for this is about 1 gallon of water to 1 cup of ammonia – make sure you use a safe, household cleaning brand.

After soaking, rinse the chain well in plain water and allow it to dry. Lubricate both the guide bar and chain with your bar and chain oil before replacing the chain.

remove the chain from the guide bar and clean out large chunks of debris from the bar groove

Those are all the steps you need to know how to clean a chainsaw blade. Doing this every few months or so, if you are using your chainsaw regularly, will ensure that your chain stays sharp and help to prevent it from breaking during use. 

Cleaning stuff you will need

You don’t need tons of supplies to clean your chainsaw. To clean the chain, a large bucket for soaking, some household ammonia, and a heavy brush or air compressor to clean out the bar groove is all you need.

If you don’t know how to clean a chainsaw carburetor, you will need pretty much the same supplies: a bucket, water, ammonia and scrub brush – plus an ordinary household cleaner. You will also need tools to take the chainsaw apart.

It should go without saying that you also need a proper work bench or other safe work station to do all this. Chainsaws are dangerous, even when they are off – make sure you have a flat, stable area to rest the chainsaw while you work, so there is no risk of you dropping the blade or engine.

Unclogging the carburetor and air filter

to unclog the carburetor, you can start by using compressed air

A big part of understanding how to clean a chainsaw after use is knowing how to unclog the carburetor and the air filter. Both of these parts can get clogged up with dust and debris. If they become too clogged, it could result in some pretty serious damage to the chainsaw.

To unclog the carburetor, you can start by using compressed air – blow it through the carburetor to get any larger twigs and debris unstuck.

To clean out the smaller, gummy build up, you will need to remove the needle valves, diaphragm and cover plate from the chainsaw. 

Soak those parts in water and ammonia, just like you did with the chain. After they have soaked for about 20 minutes, you can scrub them with a tough brush to get off the last of the built-up grime. Rinse them with clean water and let them dry before you reattach them.

Here’s how to clean a chainsaw air filter: remove it and wash it in warm, soapy water. You should use a gentle brush, then rinse it and allow it to dry completely before you reattach it to the chainsaw.

Do not try to use an air compressor to unclog or clean the air filter – you could tear a hole in the fabric, and then it will not be useful. Only use an air compressor to clean out the carburetor.

Air filter, spark plug and spark arrester cleaning

The air filter is best cleaned gently and with warm water.

The spark plug, on the other hand, is electrical equipment and needs to be handled more carefully. Remove your spark plug and take a look at the electrodes – if you see black spots, you can try to clean them off with a file, or simply order a new spark plug. They are fairly cheap and easy to replace.

A pole chainsaw also needs proper maintenance and cleaning. You can take a look at some of the best pole chainsaws and how to care for them .
don’t use soap and water on the electrical parts of your chainsaw

Deposits on the spark arrester can be scrubbed off with a dry toothbrush. Again, don’t use soap and water on the electrical parts of your chainsaw.

As a final note, these instructions can be applied for pretty much any type of chainsaw.

Leave a Reply 0comments