How to Clean a Chain Saw – Step by Step

Do you know how to clean a chainsaw? Did you know you were supposed to? If the answer is no to either of those questions. NO worries! You have not committed some cardinal sin of saw ownership. However, if you do own one, there are a handful of things that you can do that will be good for your saw. That being said, once you know, you can’t unknow. When you are done with your saw for the day, do these things, and your saw will thank you.

Steps to Clean a Chainsaw

Cleaning a chainsaw is not hard. However, there is a bit of a process. Here is the step by step guide to keeping your chainsaw investment running and in top shape.

Step One – Get the Gunk Out

  • Take the chip cover off, remove the bar and the chain.
  • Use the flathead of your scrence, a dedicated brush, or an air compressor and get rid of all the gunk under the hood.
Gunk inside a chainsaw
Still gunked up under the hood.


Clean the Gunk Out of the Bar

  • Take a thin flat something and put it into the groves and get all the gunk out.
Cleaning out the chain grove
Cleaning out the chain grove

Remove the Clutch Drum and Lube the Needle Bearing

  • Take the Clutch drum off and get a hold of the needle bearing and lube it up
Remove the e-clip, washer, & sprocke
Remove the e-clip, washer, & sprocket
Remove the clutch drum, now you can see the clutch and needle bearing - Cleaning a chainsaw
Remove the clutch drum, now you can see the clutch and needle bearing
Lubricate the needle bearing - Cleaning a chainsaw
Lubricate the needle bearing
Cleaned and reassembled - Cleaning a chainsaw
Cleaned and reassembled
  • If there is any rust or water present, wipe dry. (a bit of WD-40 doesn’t hurt)
  • Put the chainsaw back together and sharpen the chain (there is another page detailing this). YES, this should be done as part of the cleaning process.

Check and Clean Chainsaw Air Filter

  • If you haven’t ever inspected the air filter do so now. It’s not always necessary, but if it is gunked up it’s worth giving it a once over.
  • Fully engage the choke (to prevent things from getting into the carb) and pull the air filter off.
  • Use an air compressor to blow air from the inside to the outside.
  • Feel free to give all the covers and visible pieces a once over.
Air filter still attached - How to Clean a Chainsaw
Air filter still attached

Admire Your Clean Chainsaw

Sthil 362 with 20" Bar - Cleaning Your Chainsaw
Sthil 362 with 20″ Bar

Put away in its spot and admire. There’s a lot more detail that I could go into on maintaining your chainsaw, but If you do these basic things when you are done with your saw, it will run better and be more enjoyable to use.

Related Articles About How to Clean A Chainsaw and Woodcraft

  • How to Quickly Sharpen Your Chainsaw Chain – Cleaning a chainsaw is not hard. However, there is a bit of a process. Here is the step by step guide to keeping your chainsaw investment running and in top shape.
  • How to Pick the Perfect Ax – Select the right ax for your home or camp. Choose a tool that will fit your job or situation. From lightweight short axes for camping to heavy mauls for splitting.
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