How to Clean Chainsaw Blades in 2019

Whether you are a seasonal chainsaw user or a frequent one, your chainsaw blade is bound to get sticky with frequent or infrequent oiling.

And over time, it will get clogged with sawdust and debris, and extremely messy, with secretions from trees, at times, solidifying on it.

A chainsaw is considered ones of the world’s most dangerous tools (even in its most modern avatar), so it wouldn’t be an exaggeration that your safety may depend upon how you learn to clean your chainsaw blades properly.

In general, it is important that you keep your power tools in working order and a chainsaw more so. This is mostly observed in new chainsaw users who store away their tools as is after usage, letting them collect dirt and gunk.

You would not want to be in a position if the chainsaw suddenly stops dead in its tracks in the middle of a job.

A lot of chainsaw-related accidents happen due to negligence, and besides, you would want to keep your chainsaw clean, just as you would do with your other tools.

Cleaning the chainsaw blades will not only extend their life but also give you tension-free service for years to come.

You will know that your chainsaw needs a thorough cleaning if:

  • When your chainsaw is not cutting properly and producing fine sawdust instead.
  • There is a lot of chattering and bouncing when you switch on the chainsaw.
  • You have to put pressure on the chain while cutting and the chain is not pulling itself in as it should.

If you have come across one or any of these symptoms, it means that the chain on that chainsaw needs immediate care and should, under no circumstances, be avoided.


Cleaning the Chainsaw Systematically

In this section, we will look at how to clean the main parts of a chainsaw and then putting it back on in a safe manner.

1. Cleaning the Chain in the Chainsaw

This can easily be labeled as the most important aspect of cleaning a chainsaw. A chain in perfect working order will keep the chainsaw running as it was originally intended to be.

A clean chain will also ensure that your cutting experience is smooth and that there are no unpleasant experiences such as an accidental kickback.

Before you do anything else, make sure your chainsaw is turned off. If you have an electric chainsaw, make sure it is unplugged from a power source, ditto for a battery-operated chainsaw.

  • Make sure you have a clean environment such as a workshop, or an empty space. Place a piece of clean canvas or thick cloth on the floor so you can put your disassembled chainsaw and other parts on it to avoid it from getting dirty on the bare floor.
  • The chain will need to be removed from the chainsaw before you start cleaning it. Remove the chain by turning the knobs that loosen or tighten it, and then slide it off the guide bar. Consult the manual of your particular model as it may have some additional features tethering the chain.
  • Once it is off, the chain will have to be soaked for a little bit to remove the grease off it. For effective cleaning, you will need household ammonia, a bucket of water and a hard brush. Mix about a cup of ammonia in the bucket of water and put your chain in this mixture and let it soak for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Wear protective splash eyewear and gloves.
  • Remove the chain from the mixture, and use the brush to remove all the grease and dirt from the chain until you are sure it looks clean. Take your time with it and clean thoroughly.
  • If you feel the chain needs more cleaning, make a new mixture of ammonia and water and let it soak for some more time before giving it another thorough scrub if you feel it needs a second round of cleaning.
  • Once this is done, rinse the chain thoroughly under a tap because you do not want any lingering residue of this mixture on your chain.
  • Dry the chain immediately after the thorough rinse to avoid allowing any rust to set in. Before lubricating, the chain should be totally dry.
  • Some users apply a coat of penetrating oils such as WD-40 prior to lubricating the chain. This is an optional step and is not a replacement for lubricating.
  • The chain is now ready to be lubricated. In order to do this properly, you will need to lubricate both the chain and the guide bar. This will reduce the friction between the guide bar and the chain and reduce the amount of heat produced, allowing the chain to move and cut evenly and freely.
  • Leave this chain around on a clean and dry surface to let it soak in the oil for a little bit before re-attaching it.

Other Tips for Maintaining the Chainsaw

Here are some other tips that will help you ensure that the chainsaw works perfectly and smoothly every time you need it:

  • Re-Check the Safety Features: Modern chainsaws come with safety features, but it won’t hurt to check if they are working properly from time to time. Components such as the chain catcher may need to be replaced if you detect a crack. Other features such as the chain break and the trigger lockout mechanism also need periodic checks.
  • Clean the Air Filter: If your chainsaw’s air filter is dirty, clean it before use. If you notice cracks or holes or if the filter is beyond cleaning, replace it.
  • Check for Loose Parts: If your chainsaw rattles without even starting it up, some parts may have loosened or may be coming off. Check for the source and tighten them, or if you are not confident, take it to a service center. Loose parts may cause accidents. This also includes loose wiring.
  • Check the Carburetor: An unclean carburetor may clog the flow of fuel to the engine, so cleaning it regularly is advisable. Also, clean or replace your fuel filter as necessary.
  • Check the Guide Bar: While you have the chain off, run your fingers on the bar’s edges. If you feel any burrs or prickles, file them until the edges are smooth again.

Once you have ensured that all parts are working and moving smoothly as they should, reattach the chains to the guide bar, and see if it is moving freely like it is supposed to.



Cleaning the chainsaw blade once in a while is an important task and should be done in a clean and distraction-free environment.

It is also imperative that you store the chainsaw in a dust-free environment after use/cleaning, such as a lockable cabinet.

The cleaning makes sure that your chainsaw works perfectly when it is required to, and for many years to come.

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