How to Clean a Chainsaw? 6 Easy Maintenance & Cleaning Tips

Whether you know it or not, the sawdust, debris, and lube oil on the bar of your chainsaw surely reduce its effectiveness. Meanwhile, knowing how to clean a chainsaw appears to be the most suitable solution to this problem – once you know the whole procedure, you will be able to thoroughly clean your chainsaw when you find it less effective than usual.

I have been using chainsaws for years, and I have come to know that every time you use your chainsaw, saw-dust, plant remnants and resins adversely affect the sharpness of blades, and get stuck in components of the engine. Over time, if you do not clean it, you will need to compromise on the effectiveness of your chainsaw.

So, it is an inevitable thing to take time to clean your chainsaw, and ensure that it always delivers the best performance – it does not only help you to reacquire its maximum efficiency, rather you can increase the life of your chainsaw up to a huge extent.

If you haven’t cleaned your chainsaw up till now, you must learn to clean your chainsaw, and following the given guide, you can easily clean your chainsaw. However, make sure that you comply with safety instructions.

How to Clean a Chainsaw

Preparing to Clean a Chainsaw

Before I tell you about the cleaning of your chainsaw, it is important to ensure that there is no supply of power. Make given preparations prior to cleaning your chainsaw;

For Corded Electric Chainsaw: Detach the cord from the power source.

For Battery-Powered Chainsaw: It is recommended to remove the battery from your chainsaw.

For a Gas Chainsaw: Get the spark plug out, and drain the fuel tank full.

Once you are on it, you have a cut-off supply of power to your chainsaw, and now you can proceed with the remaining process.

How to Clean a Chainsaw in 6 Simple Steps?

It does not matter if your chainsaw is a complete mess or a bit dirty, these simple steps will help you have a spotless chainsaw. So, let us see into it;

1. Clean the Bar of the Chainsaw 

To clean the bar of your chainsaw, you need to remove the guide bar from the powerhead, and for this, you need to disengage the chain brake.

In some of the models, you can simply go into unscrewing nuts and remove the bar from the powerhead, but in some of the models, you might need to disengage the brakes.

After disengaging the chain brake, remove the cover nuts, and separate the guide bar from the powerhead.

Now, if the guide bar is moderately dirty, you can clean it using soap in water – and if it is heavily dirty, you may need to use degreaser solvent to weaken the grip of gunk on the bar.

While cleaning the grooves of your guide bar, you may also use a groove cleaning tool that will help you extract the gunk from the depth of grooves.

Then here come chain oiler holes in the bar – there is also a significant amount of gunk, and it is necessary to extract it. For this, you can use a small flattened screwdriver or you can use compressed air.

In some models of chainsaw, there is also a hole near the tip of the blade for oiling the sprocket, clean that hole also using compressed air or a flattened small-screwdriver.

2. Clean the Chain Thoroughly 

Cleaning the chain of your chainsaw is an important part of the process.

Take a bucket, and prepare a solution of one cup of ammonia in one gallon of water.

Put on your rubber gloves, and place the chain in this solution for 15 to 20 minutes.

Then take a soft but sturdy toothbrush and use it to clean all the debris from the chain. Then take the chain out from the bucket, rinse it under the water, and then dry it with some dry cloth.

Then take another tray, fill it in its half with bar oil, and dip the chain into that oil for 2 to 3 hours.

Then turn the chain, and again put it into the bar oil for another 2 to 3 hours.

After that, take the chain out, and dab it with a paper towel to soak all dripping oil from the chain.

3. Clean the Powerhead 

First of all, take a clean cloth to remove any kind of dust from the exterior of your chainsaw head. Then use a soft paintbrush to eliminate the dust from the clutch drum, bar studs, and crankcase. You can also use a small flattened screwdriver to pull out gunk from those areas.


If you are using a corded-electric chainsaw or battery-powered chainsaw, you are done with the cleaning of your chainsaw, and you can reassemble it to use. However, if you have a gas-powered chainsaw, you need to perform some more steps to completely clean your chainsaw.

4. Clean Air Filter ( Only for Gas-Powered Chainsaws ) 

Get the air filter out by removing the top cover of the chainsaw.

Rub it gently with a clean cloth to remove the dust – however, to get the entangled dust articles out, you can use compressed air, or you can wash the filter under water.

Remember to dry the filter completely before you reattach it.

5. Clean Spark Plug ( Only for Gas-Powered Chainsaws )

Again, if you are using a gas-powered chainsaw, you need to clean the spark plugs of your chainsaw.

Remove the spark plug using a suitable tool, and check if it will be fine to use a similar spark plug or not.

If the plug has turned black and looks damaged, it is better to replace it – otherwise, you can use that sparkplug.

Before you reattach it, rub it gently with a cloth, and remove all debris from it.

6. Reassemble the Chainsaw

Having performed all the above steps, you are ready to reassemble your chainsaw and use it for cutting, pruning, and other purposes.

Put the chain on the guide bar, and attach the guide bar with the powerhead.

Check tension in the chain of your chainsaw before you start it – if there isn’t enough tension in the chain of your chainsaw, you will not be able to complete the job.

Final Words

How to clean a chainsaw? Being a machinist and handler of diverse models of chainsaws, I have heard this question a lot. So, here is the answer to your question, and I hope that these simple steps will help you let the anguish end you have built up regarding the maintenance and cleaning of your chainsaw.

I am here to answer all your questions regarding the topic, you can ask me, and I will surely answer your questions.

Thank You!

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Q1. What can I use to clean chainsaw?

The best way to clean your chainsaw is to take a bucket and fill it one gallon of water. Add 1 cup of household ammonia in water and then submerge chain in the solution. The solution will start breaking the adhesives of grease and other contaminants making the chainsaw more functional again.

Q2. How often should I clean my chainsaw?

Cleaning of your chainsaw depends upon its use. If you use it frequently, you need to clean it sooner than those who do not use it regularly. It is more beneficial to clean your chainsaw every time you finish your work with it.

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