Cleaning Saw Blades

Saw blades and other tools work best when clean. Any sort of pitch build up causes more friction, which cause more heat, which causes more pitch build up. Too much build up makes cutting harder, gives poorer results and shortens the life of the tool.

The best is to use about any cleaner in a spray bottle. When you through with a tool then spray, rinse, wipe clean, oil and store. If you want to leave a blade on a saw then rinse with a wet cloth.

Industry has term called Lockout, Tag out. It is not enough to just turn a machine off. You need to unplug it and add a lock so that it cannot be plugged in and then hang a tag explaining that the machine is being worked on. If you are working inside a machine you really don’t want anyone turning that machine back on. Not all of this is necessary in a smaller shop but it is a very good idea to turn the machine off and unplug it then put the plug well away from the socket. Some machines have a start switch that can be removed and placed in your pocket.

A search of the web will reveal over sixty products to clean saw blades, all with their own champion. The best products are those designed to safely clean and degrease such as household general purpose cleaners. Here are a few that proved to be popular picks amongst saw filers: Citrus Spray, Caustic Sprays, 409, Simple Green, Orange Clean, and Brake Cleaner.

There are arguments as to whether strong caustic cleaners damage carbide and braze alloy. However everyone agrees that oven cleaner will remove painted labels and there are better cleaners.

You might want to avoid anything flammable. Also brake and carburetor cleaners are excellent products but this is not there intended use. Lye (caustic soda) is often recommended. If you wish to use this I would recommend a commercial product rather than straight lye. Straight lye can be hard to rinse off while commercial products have additives to solve this problem.

Testing has shown that all the commercial products sold specifically for tool cleaning work well with very reasonable safety risks.