How To Clean A Chainsaw: A Step-By-Step Guide

Owning a chainsaw may cost you a large amount of money as this equipment is super tough and versatile. Therefore, you may not want to ruin its chain mechanism functioning or engine quickly. 

So, our advice here is to regularly clean your chainsaw to lengthen its longevity and reduce frequent repairs. But how to clean a chainsaw properly? Let’s find out in the article below.

9 Steps To Clean A Chainsaw

  • Place the chainsaw on a workbench 
  • Clean the bar
  • Clean the chain
  • Clean the powerhead
  • Clean the carburetor
  • The fuel tank
  • Clean the air filter
  • Clean the spark arrestor
  • Reassemble the chainsaw

How To Clean A Chainsaw

Step 1: Place The Chainsaw On A Workbench

Before you clean different pieces of the chainsaw, you should put it on a stable and solid workbench without any tools or debris. It will be great if you have an empty bucket or container. This will help you keep all parts of the chainsaw around, even the small screws. 

Step 2: Clean The Bar

First, you need to know exactly the place of the 2 nuts on the chainsaw’s cover side that mount the powerhead to the bar. Remember not to loosen them because in a few chainsaws with engaging chain brakes, you cannot remove the cover. In case you can take it off, it will be hard for you to put it back again. 

Once you disengage the brake, you can separate the chain and the guide bar from the powerhead. You can use water along with soap on a rag to make the bar clean. 

You can use a degreaser solvent if it is soiled badly. A putty knife or a special groove cleaning tool can also be helped in this situation by just running it around the groove till the gunk disappears. 

With the oiler holes, you can pick a thin screwdriver and compressed air as they can solve the very small spots. You also need to clean the hole near the blade’s tip so as to oil the sprocket. 

How To Clean A Chainsaw 1

Step 3: Clean The Chain

Prepare one cup of gallon and household ammonia with water, mix them up, pour them into a bucket and soak the chainsaw chain for around 20 minutes. 

You may need to wear rubber gloves and a toothbrush to wash away the debris. Then, rinse the chain under water thoroughly and dry it with something like an old towel before filling a shallow tray with chain and bar oil.  

Dip the chain in the oil for at least 3 hours to drip off all its worst. You can put old newspapers underneath to avoid making a mess. After that, turn it over and wait for another 3 hours. Remove the chain out of this area and dab it. 

How To Clean A Chainsaw 2

Step 4: Clean The Powerhead

Use a dry cloth to wipe the powerhead’s exterior. Wipe out the dust around the bar studs, clutch drum and crankcase with a soft paintbrush. A thin or pick screwdriver can be used to remove the stuck thick gunk.

Step 5: Clean The Carburetor

The carburetor needs to remove any sticky residue. This small device provides vaporized fuel and helps the engine to get more air to combust properly. A gummed carburetor can be cleaned super simple. You just need to take air intake, air filter, needle valves and diaphragm into consideration.

When you see a brown residue or gummy gold in the carburetor, you will need to use an air compressor and a small brush to wipe it out. When it’s done, move to the inside part.

Scrape out the cover plate, diaphragm and needle valves and soak them in a bucket of household ammonia and one gallon of water with ratio 1:1 for about 20 minutes. Then, use a stiff brush to scrub, rinse the device with warm water and do not forget to dry it to prevent rusting. 

Step 6: The Fuel Tank

If you often use the chainsaw with fresh fuel, you can move to the next step. But, when you store the chainsaw for a month or more, you need to drain, clean, and refill it. It is because gasoline can begin to deteriorate right after a month sitting in a tank, which leaves a very viscous and sticky goo. 

Now, take out the filter, clean it with a strong solvent such as sodium hydroxide, lacquer thinner, acetone or toluene to remove varnish. Then use kerosene to rinse it out. 

How To Clean A Chainsaw

Step 7: Clean The Air Filter

The air filter makes it hard for particles to reach the engine. If it is not cleaned frequently, it can restrict the flow of the air and this can lead to negative performance of the chainsaw. 

So you can start by removing the air filter and wash gently with dish soap and warm water. Remember not to clean it with compressed air, or else, you will create holes in it which makes it useless.

Then, rinse the filter and dry it well before installing again. During your cleanliness, if you find the device too dry, it’s better for you to replace it with a new one. 

Step 8: Clean The Spark Arrestor

The spark arrestor can be found behind the muffler and it is designed to prevent combustion byproducts from flying out of the chamber. Over time, the spark arrestor can be clogged and needs to be cleaned so as to maintain the right working order of the chainsaw. 

To clean this fine mesh screen, you first need to unscrew the muffler cover. When it is exposed, tap it on the workbench a few times. If it cannot help, clear the deposits with a wire brush before reinstalling and reattaching the muffler cover. 

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Step 9: Reassemble The Chainsaw

So now, after removing all parts of the chainsaw to clean them off, you need to reassemble them in reverse order to use the chainsaw well for the next time. 


It is not so difficult to clean your chainsaw from the inside out. Just follow our tips and you can totally do it by yourself. Now, we bet that the questions on how to clean a chainsaw will no longer be a hard one for you. 

If you can regularly keep your chainsaw free of debris, you can ensure its longevity as well as its performance. But if one day, you have done all these steps but your chainsaw still does not work, it’s time for you to upgrade to a new tool. 



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