How to Clean a Chainsaw

Our Top Pick Pro Chainsaw in 2019 (Cordless Electric)

Greenworks 40V Cordless Chainsaw

  • 12-inch steel chain and bar
  • Tool-less chain tensioning
  • Automatic oiling system
  • Up to 75 cuts per charge
  • Low kickback design

Imagine that you are into a thick forest trying to build a refuge to pass a cold night. To do it, you will need a saw for sure. But what if your saw is all dull and dirty, incapable of cutting even the thinnest twig?

Then you can go through the hardest night of your life!

Happily for you, doing maintenance can avoid this and give you the perfect edge to any saw for any moment you may need it.

But of course, it is not as easy as it seems, so we’ve decided to make a guide to help you do it. So read up and learn how to clean a chainsaw!

Things You Need to Do Maintenance Cleaning

It is not that hard to guess that anything that works will require maintenance to keep working well. A chainsaw is a tool that looks rough, but it is as a frail tool that can become useless if you take care of it.

Especially when it comes to dust, dirt, and rust – not doing the proper maintenance can destroy your saw fast.

Luckily for you, cleaning will give you the chance to give life back to any saw you have, or at least maintain it ready for use at any moment. Here’s how:

How to Clean a Chainsaw | A Complete Guide

How to Start

  • Observe your chainsaw, and check which parts are removable and dismount them.
  • Verify if the machine is out of power, stable and sure to work with.
  • Remove any part that can be cleaned, look over every element that can cause a lock; unlock it and remove it.
  • Check the air filter and remove it too.
  • Check the chain and carefully take it off the machine.
  • Get a brush to clean or remove waste or dust.
  • Memorize the place of everything you demount.
  • Get some oil, grease or gasoline to lubricate the chain and any metallic part exposed to damage and erosion.
  • Get a towel or rag and clean the device entirely.

The Air Filter

This is an essential part of a chainsaw. Almost every chainsaw has an air filter that absorbs or blocks the accumulation of waste after every use, keeping the overall chainsaw’s integrity optimized. Here’s how to clean it:

  • Verify what type of filter you have, and check how to remove it from the case.
  • Remove the filter and clean it up with a towel or brush, remove everything that may block the air entrance (dust, waste).
  • Check if your filter may be replaced or just cleaned (change it if possible).
  • Put the filter (new or cleaned) back on the slot once again.

The Chain

This part is essential for the integrity of the tool. You have a best fit chain, your chainsaw machine is awesome! Without it, you won’t have a chainsaw to enjoy, as you see, the chain is one of the roots of its name. So, here’s how to keep it clean;

  • First, check the overall shape of the chain to discard any trouble.
  • Check every cutting tooth to discard if there is physical damage or just lack of calibration.
  • Then try to demount the chain (carefully).
  • Always use gloves to work with this kind of machine.
  • After dismounting it, use a brush with stiff bristles to remove accumulated waste between each cutting tooth.
  • Use some oil or gasoline to grease every chain’s section, and remove any accumulated oxide (if there’s any).
  • Put the chain back on the blade to start with the calibration.
  • Pin up the chain’s bar as well as possible.
  • Pass a lime 2-4 times (horizontally) through the cutting teeth (each of them) to get a better cut.
  • Check the depth indicators; calibrate them depending on your necessities.
  • After greasing and calibrating the chain and cutting teeth, recheck the chain’s blade and fasten if needed.
  • Be sure that the cutting teeth are upwards, and their cutting side forwards.
  • Finish up by making sure the chain is in the right place.

General Service

After checking the air filter and the chain, we need to go over the entire structure of the chainsaw. Here’s how:

  • With a brush, remove any waste or dust trying to get to the deeper parts, those that could get obstructed.
  • Check the brake link trying to discard leaks or lack of lubricant.
  • After you remount everything you had dismounted, you can spread one more brush with gasoline over the chain and then remove any surplus of grease.
  • Check the chain’s tension to avoid any whiplash or dangerous circumstance while using.
  • Remove any grease remaining on the bar used to hold the chainsaw with your hands (there are two of them).
  • Check one more time the acceleration control before start using.
  • Check the harness. Make sure it is properly installed.
  • Now assemble everything as you encountered it, and that’s it.

Experts recommend cleaning your chainsaw before every use. This helps to prevent any incident or unpleasant situation during your work or labor. If your chainsaw is just for personal use, and non-heavy duties, make at least a superficial review of the overall chainsaw’s integrity before using it.

Do not start using the machine if you see any imperfection on the tense of the chain or instability on the bar.


Do not forget a previous revision before any use or after use. It is paramount for you to keep your security standards. If you are going to perform a heavy duty application, do not forget to clean your chainsaw.

This will give you everything you need to avoid common problems with chainsaws, and even reduce the number of accidents you can have. So start cleaning your chainsaw today, and never have a problem again!

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