If you’ve noticed your saw blade is dirty and not cutting as smoothly as it used to be, then it’s a good idea to give it a good cleaning. More often than not, a poorly performing blade is simply gunked up with pitch – which can be solved by giving it a thorough cleaning.
The more you use your blade over time, the more pitch and resin will build up around the teeth and edges. This will cause the blade to overheat, making it less efficient and causing burning and increasing the odds of kickback.
Once you start to notice this happening to your saw blade, it’s time to give it a good clean. Cleaning it will remove all of the pitch coating the blade, restoring it back to its factory cutting performance.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Scotch Brite
- Shallow Tray
- Cleaning Product
What to Clean your Saw Blade With?
Oven cleaner has been a popular blade cleaning product for some woodworkers, but there are a number of reasons why it’s not the ideal cleaning solution. Oven cleaner contains lye, which is highly caustic to the skin and can actually damage the blade’s carbide teeth as well as its protective coating and the brazing connecting the teeth to the blade.
A better option is an all-purpose citrus cleaner like 3D Orange Degreaser. You probably already have some of this stuff lying around the house, and it will do a good job cleaning the blade without any of the nasty side effects.
Another good choice is Simple Green all-around cleaner. It’s a concentrated all-around cleaner and degreaser that works well on metal surfaces and cuts through the pitch effectively.
If you don’t have either of those, then you can also simply use laundry detergent or dish soap.
As far as a scrubber goes, an old toothbrush works well for brushing the grime and pitch away. A piece of scotch brite cleaner is also good to have on hand, as it’ll allow you to remove stubborn bits of grime better than a toothbrush.
Steel wool or metal brushes are another option, but only for bare metal blades. Metal brushes will destroy Teflon coatings so it’s best to avoid using them on these blades
How to Clean a Saw Blade – Guide
Step 1: Remove Blade from Saw
Now’s a good time to examine the teeth to see if any are missing or damaged. If you find any, you may want to replace the blade, as blades with missing teeth won’t perform properly and tend to further deteriorate over time.
Step 2: Soak Blade
Next up, you’ll want to place the blade inside the tray and fill it up with water until the blade is completely covered. Then add your cleaning product to the water and swirl the tray around until the cleaning solution is well mixed with the water.
Let the blade soak for about 10 minutes, and then pour the dirty water out of the tray.
Step 3: Clean Blade with Brush
After soaking the blade, use your toothbrush to scrub the surface of the blade to remove any leftover grime. Pay particular attention to the teeth, as well as the gaps between the teeth.
If you come across any particularly difficult to remove grime, then use some scotch brite or steel wool to remove it.
Step 4: Dry Blade
Rinse off the blade, and then dry it thoroughly with a towel or rag. You don’t want to leave the blade wet, as this can cause corrosion.
Step 5: Lubricate (Optional)
This is strictly necessary, but a quick coating of silicone spray will help keep the blade free of pitch, so you won’t need to clean it as often in the future.
When you clean the blade, you not only remove the built-up pitch and resin, but you also remove any beneficial oils helping to lubricate the blade. Silicone spray will also help reduce rust from developing on the blade.
Step 6: Replace the Blade
Now all that’s left to do is replace the blade back inside your saw.