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When the saw blade in your electric saw starts to burn through workpieces or cut horribly, three things should cross your mind. Either the blade is dull, dirty, or you are feeding stock too fast. Also, wet lumber, especially hardwood, can cause the blade to cut badly or cause kickback.
If the blade is dull, just sharpen or replace it, and if it is dirty, clean it or install a new blade. But if the burning is happening because you are pushing the stock too aggressively, you need to change how you do it. It is time to be soft with your saw. Start pushing the workpiece slowly through the blade and trust me your saw will thank you. You will also notice an improvement in the quality of cuts and the noise will also reduce.
In this article, I will focus on how to deal with a dirty saw blade effectively without breaking the bank. You will learn that replacing or resharpening a blade is not always the solution to a bad blade. Sometimes all you need is to deeply clean the saw blade to restore its sharpness.
There are many ways to clean a dirty saw blade but I will focus on the 5 most effective methods. Any of these methods can restore the sparkle on your filthy blade and make it look and cut like new again. So, instead of rushing to replace a blade next time, why not start by cleaning the grime and gunk on it! It might be all you needed to get cleaner cuts with minimal tear outs from the old saw blade. After all, it is good practice to keep your tools and equipment clean after use.
#1. Clean the blade using Simple Green degreaser
The Simple Green industrial cleaner & degreaser is one of the most effective saw blade cleaners. Although it is labeled as an all-purpose cleaner, Simple Solution does a perfect job cleaning blades. It contains a non-toxic, nonabrasive, and non-corrosive elements that easily remove built-up grime and crud on saw blades and other equipment. Simple green also preserves the paint on your coated blades.
How to clean a saw blade with Simple Green degreaser
To clean a dirty saw blade with Simple Green solution, follow these easy steps:
- Mix your Simple Green solution with water in the ratio of 1:3. Pour in a large aluminum pan or shallow plastic bowl 1 cup of Simple Green solution and three cups of water. Mix thoroughly.
- Remove the blade from your saw. Remove the filthy blade from your table saw, miter saw or the electric saw for which you want to clean the blade. Remember to observe safety precautions.
- Soak the gummed-up saw blade. Place the filthy blade flat in the solution bath. Submerge it fully and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
- Clean the blade. After 10 minutes of soaking, most of the gunk on the saw blade will dissolve. Use an old toothbrush or a hard bristle brush to scrub off stubborn grime. Pay close attention to the blade’s teeth. All the dirt should come off easily.
- Rinse the blade. After removing all the gunk from the blade, rinse it with clean water and pat dry with a paper towel. The blade should be spotlessly clean. You can also spray dry lubricant on the blade if you like.
Now the blade is ready to start cutting perfectly again!
#2. Clean with oven cleaner spray
Some oven cleaners are not only useful in the kitchen but also in the garage for cleaning equipment and saw blades. These oven cleaners cut through grime, pitch, resin, and carbon build-up on saw blades and other shop equipment just like they do on greasy ovens.
One of the best oven and grill cleaners you can use as blade cleaner is the Heavy-Duty Easy-Off oven cleaner. It contains a strong formula that cleans gummy surfaces within minutes.
Typically, cleaning dirty saw blades with oven cleaners involves the following steps:
- Remove the circular saw blade safely from the saw tool
- Spray the oven cleaner generously on both sides of the blade. Let it sit for about 5 – 10 minutes to dissolve away the gunk.
- Wipe off the gunk with a damp sponge or piece of cloth. However, if you still see stains on the blade, spray the grill cleaner again and scrub lightly with a soft bristle brush.
- Spray dry lubricant to protect the blade from rusting and to reduce buildup.
Note: The only downside of some oven cleaning sprays is that they produce choking fumes. So, make sure you wear a mask and if possible, work in an open area or clean intermittently to minimize exposure. Also, most oven cleaners do not have anti-rust properties.
#3. Use WD40
WD40 is not only good for penetrating stuck bolts and nuts but also for cleaning equipment parts. You can use it to remove crud from a saw blade to restore its luster and make it cut smoothly again.
To clean a saw blade with WD-40, just squirt a sufficient amount on the surface of the gunky blade and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then wipe off with a rug. However, if the gunk is very stubborn, use an old toothbrush to scrub the grimy spots then wipe off with the rug.
Water Displacement 40th formula (WD40) also has anti-rust properties. So, this industrial cleaner will not only remove residues from the blade but also protects it from rust. It also removes rusty spots on the blade.
#4. Use professional Blade and Bit cleaner formula
Another quick and easy way to deal with grime and adhesive residues on saw blades is to use a professional blade cleaning formula. These solutions are primarily concocted to help remove even the most stubborn pitch on your blades and bits. With just a few squirts on the saw blade surface and one or two minutes of waiting, you can make your filthy blade as shiny as new again. All you need is a cloth to wipe off the grime after the formula has done its job.
One of the most effective blade and bit cleaning formulas is the CMT Formula 2050 blade and bit cleaner.This blade cleaning formula removes pitch, resins, and adhesive substances on your woodworking blades and bits in seconds. You can use it on a range of saws including circular saw blade, chain saw blade, hand saws, and on all your drill and driver bits. It is also good for cleaning metallic surfaces especially because of its anti-rust property that prevents rust and corrosion. So, do not rinse it off after cleaning your tools. It leaves behind a good protective layer of lubricant that keeps your tools free from rust.
The CMT formula is available either on a spray bottle or in a gallon but the content is the same. There are also other equally good professional cleaners such as the Trend Clean and Boeshield
#5. Baking soda and water
If you do not want to buy a blade cleaner from the shop, you can make your own at home using baking soda. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a leavening agent used in baking. Surprisingly, it is also a good natural cleaning chemical compound.
Baking soda has a property that makes grime and grease dissolve in water. This makes it one of the most common ordinary household cleaning agents for porcelain and metallic surfaces. You can also use it to clean the saw blade of your table saw when it gets too dirty to cut clean edges. However, this DIY blade cleaner does not do a perfect job as the other 4 blade cleaning methods.
How to Clean a Saw Blade with Baking Soda
- Remove the saw blade from your saw machine and place it on a flat surface.
- Mix hot water and baking soda. Mix baking soda with hot water to form a thick paste.
- Apply the paste on one side of the blade. Use a sponge to smear the paste on one side of the saw blade. Ensure all grimy spots on the blade have a good coat of the paste.
- Scrub the blade surface with a brush. Use a scrub brush or a sponge to scrub off stains from the blade gently. Be careful not to scratch the paint.
- Rinse off with water. Use clean water to wash off the gunk.
- Repeat steps 2 to 5 for the other side of the blade
- Pat dry the blade with a paper towel or dry cloth
- Spray dry lubricant aerosol such as Glidecote. A thin film of dry lubricant helps to minimize pitch build-up. It also makes the saw blade cut through tough wood without leaving burn marks on cut surfaces.