How to Clean a Cordless Chainsaw

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Cordless chainsaws are convenient to use since you are not slowed down by a cord or a heavy. But just like a gas or electric model, it will get dirty through constant use and exposure to the elements. This can have a negative effect on performance so it is important that you clean the chainsaw and do it properly. In this article we will walk you through the process step by step.

To clean a cordless chainsaw, remove the bar and chain. Clean the bar, chain, air filter and other powerhead components. When you are finished, put the engine cover back on and test the chainsaw.

Required Tools and Materials

  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Owner’s manual
  • Workbench (the WEN WB4723T 48-Inch Workbench is ideal for chainsaws)
  • Warm water mixed with soap or detergent
  • Cleaning rags
  • Bucket
  • Degreaser or lubricant (the Husqvarna X-Guard bar and chain oil is our pick)
  • Ammonia mixed with water
  • Flat hand file
  • Wire brush
  • Putty knife
  • Wrench for removing the engine cover
  • Small screwdriver
  • Soft paintbrush
  • Canned air or air compressor

Step 1

Turn the chainsaw off and remove the battery. Refer to your owner’s manual on how to do this. Next, put the chainsaw on a workbench or any flat surface. If you are cleaning an electric chainsaw, turn it off and unplug the cord. If you are using a gas powered model, drain the oil first.

Now you have to remove the chain and bar. Let us start with the bar.

The bar is held in place by 2 or more nuts. Find the nuts on the cover and remove them using the wrench. Disable the anti-kickback chain brake then take the clutch covering off.

Take the bar off the chainsaw. Lift the chain and place it aside.

Step 2

How you clean the bar depends on how dirty it is. In most cases soapy water will be enough. Dip a rag into the water and wipe the bar. Wipe thoroughly. If soapy water is not enough, use a degreaser or another cleaning solution. Follow the degreaser cleaning instructions and clean the chainsaw.

A heavily used chainsaw builds up dirt. Remove them with your putty knife, screwdriver or wire brush. A putty knife will come in handy for dirt stuck in hard to reach places on the bar rails and grooves.

Step 3

Next you have to clean the oiler openings. There are two of these located in the part that joins to the powerhead. You have two options here: one, use a screwdriver to remove the dirt or two, vacuum it. You can also use an air compressor.

If you don’t have an air compressor, use a non-corrosive cleaner like a detergent or other cleaning agents to keep the metal from corroding. Add one part cleaner to 3 parts water and mix well. Make enough of the solution to fill a bucket.

When the mix is ready, put the chainsaw bar in it. Leave the chain there for 15-2 minutes. Check it every now and then and you should see the dirt disappearing from the bar.

Brush any remaining dirt off the bar and let it dry for 30-40 minutes. Get a dry clean rag and wipe the bar.

Once you are done cleaning, your chainsaw should be as good as new. You can try the same method with other models including those with pull starts. If you are having difficulty getting it to work even after cleaning, the problem could be the pull cord.

Related: How to Start a Chainsaw without a Pull Cord

Step 4

Now that the bar is clean you can put it back. Before you do, trace your fingers across the rails and check for any sharp protrusions or burring. If there are any, use a hand file or redresser utility. Either one will do as long as you are able to restore the smoothness of the bar.

A smooth bar is necessary to use the chain properly. But before that you have to clean the chain first. Follow the next steps.

Step 5

How you clean the chain depends on how much dirt has built up. If it is just a little bit, wiping it away with a clean rag will do. For regular amounts of sawdust and dirt, a wet rag or soapy water will be enough. However if the chain is caked with dirt you need another solution.

Mix ammonia with water (or you may use turpentine). Submerge the chain in this solution for 25 minutes. That should be enough time to remove the grime, grease and sawdust that have accumulated.

After 25 minutes, lift the chain up. Use a wire brush to remove any remaining dirt. Take care not to let any of the cleaning solution get into your eyes.

When you are done, wipe the chain dry with a clean cloth. Apply some bar oil and put it back on the bar. Do this on a regular basis and it will increase the lifespan of your chainsaw.

Step 6

Now onto the powerhead. First, grab a paintbrush (soft tip) and wipe the dirt on the crankcase. Use a screwdriver, pick or similar tool to remove dirt in hard to reach locations.

Clean the oil port, bar studs and clutch drum. You can use canned air or an air compressor. Remove as much of the dirt as you can.

Lift the cover (you might have to remove some screws depending on the model). You should be able to see the spark plug and air filter now. Cover the carburetor air intake with a cloth before proceeding.

In some other chainsaws this will not be necessary if you set the choke to “close”. Either way, you need to do this to keep dirt form falling into the carburetor.

The air filter blocks dirt and other particles so it is probably covered with grime. Clean the filter with the brush or replace it if necessary.

If the filters are very dirty you can use an air compressor (at the lowest setting) or soapy water. You can also use a mixture of water and non-combustible cleaner. Whichever method you use, wash the filter with clean water afterwards and let it dry.

Step 7

Clean the cooling fin area, which is on the cylindrical head. As the name suggests, the cooling fins keep the temperature down when you use the chainsaw. Dirt buildup makes it harder for cooling fins to work so cleaning it will help.

Step 8

Remove the spark plug and clean the dirt off with the paintbrush. If the electrode color has turned black, it is time to get a new spark plug. If the color is brown it is still usable.

Step 9

Once you have cleaned or replaced the spark plug, you can put everything back into place. Put the engine cover on, put the starter cord casing back into place and finally the chain.

Set the bar on the studs and fasten the nuts. Hold the bar and connect the tensioning screw. It should not droop but still be loose enough to move. Secure the nuts with the wrench.

Put the battery back into the chainsaw and turn it on. If you have an electric chainsaw, plug it into the power source and turn it on. If you have a gas powered model, fill it up with fuel following the manufacturer instructions.

Why Your Chainsaw Gets Dirty

When you use a chainsaw to cut wood for example, its filters block dust and dirt. However, some of the sawdust, wood splinters and debris end up on the bar and chain. Due to humidity and the bar oil, the dust and dirt end up sticking on the chain.

A few bits of dirt is not a problem. But if dirt and dust build up, they will cover the bar oil. The oil serves as the lubricant for the chainsaw and without lubrication, the tool will not run as smoothly.

The harder it is for the chain to cut, the more the engine has to work. This will take its toll on the components and lead to faster wear and tear. By cleaning your chainsaw, you allow the lubricant to do its work and make things easier for the engine.