How to Clean a Chainsaw Quickly | Even if You’re On Budget

According to a recent study by a group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, people who take risks are more likely to succeed. If you’re one of those who enjoy thrilling camping and outdoor fun, chainsaws will be a part of your tool arsenal. And, definitely, to maintain these tools you want to know” how to clean a chainsaw”?

Cleaning a chainsaw is essential in maintaining the tool’s longevity and effectiveness. Still, it also can save you from any potential risk if your saw is clogged and causing kickbacks. Blocked filters, overheating, and poor performance may also be a consequence if you do not deal with your tool correctly. 

Here comes our guide to solve all your worries and return your rusty, dull tool to its sharp, sparkling condition.

What are you waiting for?

Let’s come with us to explore the easy process of cleaning your tool without any significant investment.

Reasons to Clean a Chainsaw 

Before we start our stepwise guide, we must understand the importance of the whole process we will discuss. There are several reasons why it is essential to clean a chainsaw regularly; some of them are:

Safety: A dirty chainsaw can be dangerous to operate as debris and sawdust can impede the movement of the chain and cause it to bind or stall.

Efficiency: A clean chainsaw will cut more efficiently and smoothly, allowing you to get the job done faster and with less effort.

Longevity: Regular cleaning and maintenance can help extend the life of your chainsaw by preventing wear and tear on the internal components. Congested and dirty tool air filters interfere with air passage, and less air drawn into the engine can cause failure to start.

Performance: Removing debris and sawdust from the chain and bar can help improve the cutting performance of your chainsaw.

Compliance: Some states and municipalities require that chainsaws be kept clean and in good condition by law.

Environment: Cleaning chainsaws can also help protect the environment by reducing emissions and also help to reduce the spread of invasive species.

Overall, cleaning a chainsaw is an essential step in maintaining the tool’s safety, efficiency, longevity, and performance. It also helps to comply with regulations and protect the environment.

Precautions Before Cleaning a Chainsaw  

Before cleaning a chainsaw, it is essential to take certain safety precautions to protect yourself and others. These precautions include:

  • Detach the spark plug wire to prevent accidental start-up.
  • Make sure the chain is not moving before cleaning or performing maintenance.
  • Wear protective gear, including gloves, eye protection, and hearing protection.
  • Clean the chainsaw in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.
  • Use a cleaning solution designed explicitly for chainsaws and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Please do not use a pressure washer to clean the chainsaw, as it can damage the engine and other components.
  • Always keep the chainsaw unplugged when cleaning and performing maintenance.
  • Keep the chainsaw away from children and pets to avoid accidents.
  • It is always recommended to check the manufacturer-provided user manual for specific cleaning instructions for your chainsaw model.

Tools you will need to clean a chainsaw 

Cleaning a chainsaw is not very technical; you can do it with just a few items. To clean a chainsaw, you will need the following things:

  • A cleaning solution designed explicitly for chainsaws.
  • A stiff-bristled brush or a wire brush
  • A rag or shop towel
  • A chain lubricant or oil
  • A lubrication guide or oiling tool
  • A wrench or pliers, depending on the model of the chainsaw.
  • A flathead screwdriver
  • An air compressor

Additional tools for Professionals with multiple saws 

Professionals and passionate woodworkers usually have more than one saw in their tool arsenal. Therefore they need more tools to clean and maintain the saws properly. To keep your device in top condition all around the year, the additional tool you may require :

  • Air compressor 
  • Shop vac 
  • Pressure washer

How to Clean a Chainsaw Properly- Easy Stepwise Guide

Here we are with our quick and easy stepwise methodology of cleaning a chainsaw to make it spotless and look like a brand-new one. Following are the steps we will take with our tool to get the desired results.

Prepare the Tool for Cleaning 

First of all, prepare your tool for the cleaning process. If you own a gas chainsaw, ensure you have drained out the fuel entirely and disconnected the spark connector from the plug. Removing the battery is necessary in the case of a battery chainsaw. Otherwise, water will ruin it. For corded electrical saws, detach the power cord.

Position the Chainsaw on a Workbench 

Your tool is now prepared; it’s time to take care of the workplace. The workplace should be solid and stable, like a workbench. Clean the area of dirt or anything that can get mixed with your saw components.

 Removing the Bar and the Chain 

 To clean the tool properly and to gain access to all hidden dirt and debris, first of all, we need to separate the components of the chainsaw. They may stubbornly stick between the grooves and beneath the nuts, so to get them out of these tricky places, you need to unscrew the nuts from the bar studs utilizing the hexagonal wrench part of the scrench.


  •  Ensure you have liberated the anti-kickback chain brake before removing the clutch cover.
  • While removing the bar & chain, remember to wear gloves.

How to Clean a Chainsaw Bar 

The bar and chain are disassembled and easy to access for cleaning. Now we are heading towards cleaning the bar. Place the chain aside and thoroughly clean the bar with the brush. Take a deep look at how intensely dirt and grease have settled on your tool. Then decide what degreaser you need to clean it. 

 It does not require harsh cleaning if you have not used your tool frequently and have cut down trees occasionally. Just warm soapy water and rag cloth can take care of it.

To clean all the dirt and grime off the bar, take the wire brush and scrub the grease and sawdust away from the bar. For deep cleaning the bar rails, a putty knife or a bar groove cleaner can take out the stuck greasy dirt.

After cleaning the bar rails, take care of the debris in the oiler holes(two in each bar) with a screwdriver. An air compressor can help you further clean out the hardened debris.

For professionals and woodworkers who use their tools daily in rough dead hardwoods and debris, the process is more complex than it seems. Compressed air and high-pressure air are perfect for cleaning a professional’s chainsaw, but what if you don’t have any?

Don’t panic.

We are here to take care of all the hurdles of the cleaning process.

The best replacement you may have for this combo(Steam cleaner and air compressor) is Simple Green Pro HD Heavy Duty cleaner. This solvent and degreaser are both best for cleaning and are environment-friendly (biodegradable) and safe(non-corrosive) for your tool.

Mix the solvent with water in a 1: 3 ratio in a bucket, dip the bar for about 10 minutes and remove the dirt with the wire brush. Let it dry, coat it with WD-40 spray, leave it for 30 minutes, and wipe it with the rag.

Now check the bar to see if it has a metal burr, and reset the rail with a redresser tool to make it sharp and smooth. For further information, you can check this video. 

How to Clean a Chainsaw Chain

You will need a few essential tools and supplies to clean a chainsaw chain. Here are the steps to follow:

  • First, ensure the chainsaw is turned off, and the chain stops moving.
  • Use a wire brush or a chain cleaning tool to remove any dirt, debris, or sap stuck to the chain.
  • Next, use a rag or a shop towel to wipe down the chain, removing any remaining debris.
  • If the chain is filthy or has a lot of sap, you can use a degreaser or a solvent to help loosen and remove the buildup.
  • In a bucket, take a mixture of one gallon of water and one cup of household ammonia( make sure the area is well-ventilated).
  • Soak the chain in this mixture for 15 minutes. 
  • Scrub with a soft-bristled brush to remove the debris.
  • Rinse with plain water to remove the ammonia solution( Don’t forget to wear gloves).
  • Use a lubricant (WD-40)to oil the chain after cleaning it. 
  • Remember to check the chain lubrication hole; if it has debris or dust, clean it with a pipe cleaner or wire to make the lubrication possible.
  • Finally, re-tension the chain to the proper tension, as per the manual instructions.

Cleaning the Powerhead 

For cleaning the powerhead:

  1. Take a cloth, and wet the cloth with warm water and some dish soap.
  2. Clean the outer of the saw with this rag until it gets clean.
  3. For stubborn stains and oil, use a degreaser to break the grime.

An air compressor can also help you to clean the powerhead.

Cleaning the Air Filter & Cooling fins (Gas Models Only)

The next step is to take care of other parts like the air filter, spark plug, etc. To access the air filter and spark plug, remove the top cover. Scan the air filter for dirt and buildup; if it is light to moderate, use a soft brush to remove dirt from the air filter. If it is filthy, you can clean it under running water to dislodge stuck material, let it dry, and reattach it.

For cleaning the spaces between the cooling fins, take a screwdriver or a bar cleaner tool to take all the debris out of the tight spaces. Moreover, clean the dirt around the crankcase and take out the grill cover for the starter rope for proper cleaning. If you need further assistance, check this video for further explanation.

How to Clean the Spark plug 

Remove the top cover, and use a T-wrench to unscrew the spark plug. If the electrodes are brown, then there is no need to replace them, but if it has turned black and the gap between the electrodes is too large or small, it is time to get a replacement. Check the user manual to find the right fit for your chainsaw.

How to Clean the Carburetor 

  • Locate the carburetor, which is typically located near the base of the chainsaw’s engine
  • Use a small brush, such as a toothbrush, to gently scrub away any dirt or debris that has built up on the carburetor. Pay special attention to the jet, the small opening where fuel enters the carburetor.
  • Use carburetor cleaner or brake cleaner to remove any remaining dirt or debris. 
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water, and let it dry to avoid corrosion.
  • Reassemble the chainsaw and add fresh fuel
  • Start the chainsaw and let it run for a few minutes to allow the carburetor to adjust to the new fuel.

How to Clean the Fuel tank of the Gas Chainsaws 

Fuel tanks are so important, so remember to take care of them. If you leave the fuel in your saw, it will start to deteriorate, and a dense, sticky material will go. This thick leftover dust can ruin the tank, so don’t let it ruin your equipment. Empty the fuel tank, remove the filter, and soak it in a strong solvent like sodium hydroxide.

How to clean the Muffler 

Mufflers are also an essential part of chainsaws anatomy, they help you reduce the noise level, and if it’s not cleaned correctly, the user will inhale exhaust. So to keep the emissions and noise at a lower level, you need to clean it for cleaning the Muffler on a chainsaw, use a cloth soaked in petrol, or a high-quality degreaser. To soften the encrusted Muffler, you need to heat it first. It will help in loosening the grease and dirt and will make the cleaning process easy. By heating, you can burn the built-up and scrape it off with a screwdriver.


Finally, reassemble all parts of your chainsaw in reverse order when you have cleaned them. It is ready to tackle all sorts of jobs now better than before.

How To Clean An Electric Chainsaw 

  • To clean an electric chainsaw, ensure it is unplugged, and the battery is removed. 
  • Use a brush to remove debris and sawdust from the chain and bar. 
  • Clean the exterior of the saw with a damp cloth. 
  • Use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas like the sprocket and drive spindle. 
  •  Then lubricate the chain and guide bar with oil. 
  • Finally, wipe down the saw again to remove any excess oil.

Tips for Battery and Gas Saws Cleaning 

For battery-operated chainsaws,

  • Clean the battery with a wet cloth 
  • A charge level of 2 lit LEDs is necessary to keep
  • Clean the charger with a damp cloth 

For gas saw cleaning 

  • Empty the fuel tank 
  • Keep an eye on the air filter for debris. If it is clogged, clean it
  • Take care of the carburetor, spark plug, and cooling air extraction opening

How Often Should I Clean My Chainsaw?

It is recommended to clean your chainsaw after each use, or at least after heavy use. This includes removing sawdust, debris, and excess lubricant from the chain and bar and checking and cleaning the air filter, spark plug, and other components. Regular cleaning will help prolong the life of your chainsaw and ensure that it runs efficiently.

FAQ: How To Clean A Chainsaw 


WD-40 is a lubricant and rust preventer, so it can be used on a chainsaw chain to help keep it lubricated and rust-free. However, using it as a primary lubricant for a chainsaw chain is not recommended. It is designed for use on lighter-duty applications. A specialized chain oil, designed explicitly for chainsaws, is a better option as it will provide better lubrication and protect the chain from wear and tear.


You can clean your chainsaw chain using a wire brush, a rag, and a solvent such as gasoline or mineral spirits. When cleaning your chain, wear protective gear, such as gloves and goggles. Also, properly lubricate the chain before using the chainsaw again.

It’s also important to note that you should consult your chain saw manual for cleaning and lubrication instructions, as different models may have specific requirements.


Thomas Goodman, a property and construction expert, says,

” Whenever you use your chainsaw, sap, plant remnants, dirt, and resin will inevitably get stuck to the chain, The cutting teeth will also get blunter, and dust will accumulate in the different engine components. Without cleaning it, these start to inhibit the functionality of the chainsaw and reduce its lifespan.”

And whether you’re a professional chainsaw user or a newbie, it is necessary to know how to clean a chainsaw properly. Here we have comprehensively discussed all the trade tips and tricks for you. Go through it to master the art of cleaning the chainsaw like a pro with just a few easy and quick steps. And don’t be shy to share it with your fellow woodworkers to spread the word.

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