Sumo Gardener

How to Clean a Chainsaw

From professional contractors to homeowners, chainsaws have been an essential tool for cutting down any wood. Whether you regularly use a chainsaw or just on occasion, it needs to be properly cleaned to keep it as sharp and effective as possible.

Not only does this maintain the quality of the product but it also reduces the chances of accidental injuries due to poor maintenance. If you know how to clean a chainsaw, you will save money in the long run. 

After all, excellent chainsaw maintenance can easily remove the need to pay for repairs and replacement parts. With that in mind, check out our handy guide on cleaning the various parts of a chainsaw below.


Cleaning a Chainsaw by Parts

How to Clean a Chainsaw

1. How to Clean a Chainsaw Chain

This is arguably the most crucial part of the cleaning process. If you do not clean this well, the chainsaw can have accidental kickbacks that can cause some serious injuries during operations.

Prepare the chainsaw

To clean the chain, you have to put it in a stable position. If the chainsaw you have is an electric type, you also have to be certain that it isn’t currently connected to any power outlet.

Remove the chainsaw's chain 

Next, you should separate the chain from the saw. Find the knob that’s responsible for tightening the slack and loosen it enough for you to slowly but surely pull the chain away from the bar.

(If you think you're chain needs to be replaced, check out our guide on the best chainsaw chains for 2023 to help you choose which would be compatible with your chainsaw.)  

Soak the chain 

Once the chain has been completely removed, it has to be soaked for about half an hour in a mix of water and cleaner. If you have any household ammonia, you can apply a cup of it for each gallon of water in the mixture.

Brush and scrub the chain

After it has been sufficiently soaked, you should get a bristle brush and scrub the chain. This can take a lot of time and effort, but you need to do this calmly so that every section of the chain is cleaned.

Remember to check the entire chain if there are any remaining spots that need cleaning.

Rinse the saw chain

The next procedure is to rinse the saw chain with water. Ensure that there is no dirt or other undesirable debris left on the chain. The chain must also be immediately dried to prevent any moisture from coming into contact with it and creating rust.

Note: Don't forget to check if your need to sharpen your chainsaw

Apply chainsaw oil

If the chain has been completely dried, you should then apply oil to it. After all, lubrication is an essential part is maintaining the cutting performance of a chainsaw. With enough oil, friction between the bar and the chain is reduced. 

This will then enable the blade to spin as fast as it could without generating too much heat.

2. Cleaning a Chainsaw Gas Tank

A man cleaning a chainsaw

The next part you need to clean is the fuel tank. First, use your fingers to pull the fuel filter away from the tank. This filter should then be soaked in a solvent potent enough to dissolve the build-ups of unwanted solid substances.

Likewise, the fuel tank should be emptied of all its contents, especially if the chainsaw has not been utilized for two months or more. Once the tank has been fully emptied, you need to apply a solvent such as acetone, toluene, or a lacquer thinner.

Any of these solvents should be strong enough to clean away the gasoline varnish. Lastly,  rinse the solvent out from the fuel tank by applying kerosene.

3. Chainsaw Spark Plug Maintenance

To remove the spark plug, the chainsaw needs to be in an upright position. Get the spark plug away from the socket. If you see dark and dry deposits located on its electrodes, you can clean them up with a file.

Chainsaw Spark Plug Maintenance

If there are no more brittle substances, you can place it back into the socket. However, you should consider replacing it with a new spark plug if the electrodes have been swamped with these dirty deposits.

4. Cleaning the Spark Arrester

Cleaning the spark arrester is important because it prevents exhaust fumes from reaching the muffler. If the muffler becomes clogged with so much exhaust, the chainsaw engine could stop working or overheat.

To clean the spark arrester, you must have a screwdriver to remove the bolts on the muffler containing the spark arrester. Once you see it, apply a brake cleaner to get rid of any deposits.

If not all of the deposits are removed, you can pull the spark arrester out and directly clean it with a toothbrush. In case there are still deposits, you must replace it with a new spark arrester.

This video discusses how to clean a chainsaw:

Now You Know How to Clean a Chainsaw

In conclusion, cleaning a chainsaw will keep not only your saw chains but also your engines in their best condition. The materials needed to clean, such as brushes and screwdrivers, are cheap and easy to find.

What matters most is that you follow the instructions above on how to clean a chainsaw and that you do not hasten the process.

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How To Clean A Chainsaw?

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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