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How To Clean A Chainsaw and Why Regular Cleaning Is Important

Last Updated: 24 December 2020

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Cutting jobs are not as clean as some people believe. On the other hand, how hard it can be to clean a chainsaw: rinse, wipe, let be. Right? Well, not exactly. These devices look very simple, but homeowners should still take them apart for regular cleaning. Smaller wood chips get between chain links, into bar oil, thus affecting chain lubrication. So, it’s not really a question of how to clean an electric chainsaw or gas-powered one. Both types require cleaning if you want them to work. So, let’s see how anyone can do it without too much hassle.

Getting Started: How To Clean A Chain

How To Clean A Chain

Before cleaning out a chain, you will need to remove it, along with its bar. Work on flat, stable surfaces while taking any chainsaw apart. Mind your safety, especially when dealing with corded electric models that is, always disconnect them from power sources. For cordless saws, remove their batteries. With a gas chainsaw, drain it first. Then, check for any oil. Drained those, too? Good! Now, you can safely take any device apart for proper chainsaw cleaning.

Using knob controls will loosen the chain. Set it aside and take a good look at your groove. If it’s not too dirty, use any rag soaked in soapy water to remove all gunk. A screwdriver can help remove debris. Any chainsaw cleaning solvent can also help with this task, but if you use the tool professionally, only an air compressor will help get rid of the mess.

Now, how to clean a chain? Ammonia-based solutions work best. Mix a gallon of water and a cup of household ammonia in any plastic bucket. Then, let the chain soak in there for about 10-20 minutes (depending on how dirty it is). When cleaning the chainsaw chain in ammonia-based solutions, it’s safer to work outside or in properly ventilated areas. Always wear rubber gloves and eye protection — neither your hands nor your skin should have any contact with this solvent.

One more tip: if your favorite, best circular saw got really dirty, this same homemade solution should help. Even if nothing else does the trick, ammonia will.

Don’t forget to rinse the chain with water, wipe off, and let it dry. Always lubricate chains afterward to prevent rust.

How To Clean Chainsaw Air Filter: Two Options

How To Clean Chainsaw Air Filter

The next question is how to clean a chainsaw air filter. Once again, remove this filter first. Take off the top cover of your saw to gain access — you’ll see air filter and spark plug. Removing air filter is easy, and there are two cleaning options after — air compressor or good old-fashioned soapy water. Most people would advise against using compressors for air filters, but we at Homemakerguide know for a fact that it’s absolutely safe. As long as the pressure is low, of course.

If you do not have any air compressor yet, water is fine. Still, we suggest getting one eventually, especially if you consider buying the best miter saw somewhere along the road. Maintaining that handy device is also easier when there is an air compressor at hand.

Cleaning Chainsaw Carburetor: How-To’s

Cleaning Chainsaw Carburetor

How to clean a chainsaw carburetor is the next task on our to-do list. If you see any residue or clogging, you can once again remove that dirt with air. If you don’t have any air compressors at hand, simply remove all valves, air plate, and diaphragm. Let them soak in the ammonia solution described above — it’s a very safe and effective chainsaw carburetor cleaner. Then, rinse and let these parts dry off.

How To Clean A Powerhead Without Damaging It

For this, you’ll need soft brushes (paint type will do) and some caution. Proceed slowly, not to damage any electronics. You can also scrape any dirt away with screwdrivers, but once again — be careful. By the way, powerhead is the part where we strongly do not recommend using air compressors for cleaning. The old-fashioned way, with soft paintbrushes, is better.

How To Clean A Powerhead

Do You Need To Clean Spark Arrestors and Fuel Filters?

You don’t. But timely inspection for any signs of degradation is essential. Spark plugs that do not require replacement yet have original, brown-color electrodes. Besides, gap sizes between all cables are the same as they were in a box. If any gap became smaller or bigger than before, it’s time to replace the plug.

Also, many people wonder: “Can you clean a fuel filter?” Technically yes, but cleaning these filters doesn’t make any sense. Why? Well, it will be a dirty and time-consuming job. Given that chainsaw fuel filters are cheap spare parts, simply replace them and forget all about it.

Wrap Up And Put It Back Together

Wrap Up And Put It Back Together

Most people think that ‘how to clean a chainsaw’ is the question, and their curiosity stops at that point. In reality, cleaning a chainsaw and putting it back together is the real issue. Reassembly starts with an engine and starter. Then, you can mount the chain back, but make sure your chain position is correct. Next, put the bar back and see if it’s not sagging. If it’s not, tighten bar nuts — and you’re done!

These are major chainsaw tricks which we, at HandyHomeMaster.com, have tested ourselves. Hopefully, you’ll use them for proper cleaning. But then again, every homemaker has maintenance hacks of his own. Share yours — let’s learn together!

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