Dirt and built-up grease can quickly limit the effectiveness of your chainsaw. Knowing how to properly clean it is a key component of chainsaw care.
Every time you use your chainsaw the tool is impacted: plant remnants, sap and resin get stuck to the chain, the teeth get blunt and dust accumulates in the individual engine components. Without cleaning, over time these unavoidable impacts will accrue and inhibit the functionality of the chainsaw.
Take time to regularly clean your chainsaw, to help ensure that it always delivers perfect performance. Cordless, electric and petrol chainsaws each have specific individual requirements when it comes to cleaning.
Ensure that the chainsaw is switched off and cannot start up while you clean it. This means:
Wear work gloves made from sturdy material. Please refer to your operating instructions for further information on the appropriate protective clothing and on how to handle a chainsaw safely.
To clean the cutting attachment, you should have the following materials at hand:
Wipe the chainsaw housing clean with a damp cloth. For cordless models, you should also use the damp cloth to clean the battery and the battery slot. A paintbrush is useful for cleaning electrical contacts.
Regular cleaning helps to combat premature wear to your chainsaw guide bar and saw chain. To get them properly clean, first remove the saw chain and the guide bar. Remove oil residue and dirt from the oil outlet port and channel, then clean the oil inlet hole and the bar groove; you can use a filing gauge for this, or a high-quality resin solvent is also very effective. Remove any burrs that have developed on the guide bar using a flat file.
For optimal protection of your chainsaw, we recommend using STIHL Varioclean special detergent for long-term care. Spray the cutting attachment with care oil after cleaning.
The exact steps are presented in the following video:
Reattach the clean, dry cutting attachment to the chainsaw and replace the sprocket cover.
If you have one, an air compressor gives an even better result, as you can use it to remove even the smallest particles of dirt.
You should always store your chainsaw with its scabbard in a dry place until its next use.
You will need to give your chainsaw a more thorough clean every so often, and especially before a longer break (three months or more). Much of the process is the same for cordless, electric and petrol chainsaws:
Clean the cutting attachment and sharpen it
Remove the guide bar and saw chain from the housing. Clean both as described above. Check the condition of both components. Do the blade teeth need sharpening? Have any burrs developed on the guide bar? If so, remove them carefully using a flat file.
You will find further useful tips in our step-by-step instructions for sharpening your chainsaw, or you can alternatively visit a STIHL dealer to have it professionally sharpened.
STIHL resin solvent deals with stubborn resin deposits and also protects effectively against rust.
How to clean the housing
Remove all dirt and sawdust from the chainsaw housing. Clean the area around the sprocket (see above). Check whether the air intake slits are clear and clean them with a paintbrush or compressed air.
Refill the chain oil tank
If you use vegetable-based chain lubrication oil, you need to fill the chain oil tank completely and ensure it is full during storage. Is it time to clean the oil tank? This is a job you can do yourself or your STIHL dealer can help. You may find some damage while cleaning the tank, in which case we recommend that you consult a STIHL dealer to arrange repair.
Cleaning the oil channel
Check the fill level in the oil tank. The oil level should fall as you use your chainsaw, and if this is not happening there may be a fault with the lubrication oil conveyor system. Clean the oil channels on your chainsaw to fix this, or contact one of our dealers.
In addition to the steps outlined above, you should also perform the following cleaning measures depending on whether you have a cordless or petrol chainsaw:
For cordless chainsaws, it is important to ensure that the battery is stored correctly.
It takes a little more effort to completely clean a petrol chainsaw:
Empty the fuel tank of your chainsaw in a well-ventilated place. Any remaining fuel should be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner via specialised waste disposal facilities.
Empty the fuel tank, then start up the chainsaw and allow it to run idle for a short time until there is no more petrol in the tank and the chainsaw switches off. This will prevent the diaphragms in the carburettor from sticking together. For a deeper clean, we recommend contacting a STIHL dealer.
To ensure that the performance of your chainsaw does not diminish over time, you should clean the air filter regularly. Remove it from the housing first and then tap it to get any dirt out.
In the following video, we show you how to get a chainsaw’s HD 2 filter thoroughly clean:
In the operating instructions for every STIHL chainsaw we provide a table with an overview of all the necessary cleaning measures.