How To Clean A Saw Blade

When you’re getting started woodworking with a circular saw, you can encounter some problems.

Frequently, our first cuts with the circular saw aren’t perfect.

  • The saw blade may not have gone quite straight.
  • The wood might have pinched it, causing it to smoke and burn.

Now your new saw blade has brown teeth, and it seems to burn every cut you make.

It’s time to clean your saw blade!

Don’t worry, this can be a quick and easy task.

How to Clean A Circular Saw Blade

What you will need

  • Safety glasses: Scrubbing saw blades will splash the soapy water around, so please take time to protect your eyes.
  • Rubber gloves: A soapy slippery saw blade encircled by 24 to 80 sharp carbide teeth can do a number on your soft wet hands. The rubber gloves also give you a better grip and help you hold the saw blade without dropping it.
  • Shallow pan, one that is large enough to lay your saw blade flat. Such as:
    • bucket lid
    • large Frisbee
    • disposable aluminum pan
    • plastic tub
  • Hot water—enough to cover the blade
  • A plastic scrub brush
  • Cleaning Solution
Cleaning Supplies Saw Blade

Saw Blade Cleaning Method 1 and 2

Liquid laundry soap or Simple Green (1-2 ounces of either)

Step 1.

Put on your safety glasses and rubber gloves.

Step 2.

Place your saw blade in the shallow pan.

Step 3.

Mix 1.5-2 ounces of either liquid laundry soap or Simple Green in 3 cups of hot water. (If using baking soda see “Cleaning Method 3” below)

Step 4.

Pour the mixed cleaning solution over the saw blade, making sure it is covered with the solution.

Step 5.

Wait 10 to 20 minutes.

Step 6.

Scrub around the saw blade with the plastic brush. The brown pitch and resin should come off very quickly, leaving a shiny clean surface.

Step 7.

Rinse your saw blade with clean water and dry thoroughly.

TIP: I hold onto my “empty” liquid laundry detergent bottles. 

Concentrated liquid laundry detergents are so thick that there’s always residual soap in the bottle. When it’s time to clean a saw blade, I rinse the residual laundry detergent out with the three cups of hot water and pour it over my saw blade in a shallow pan. Scrub gently with the plastic scrub brush. The pitch comes off easily, and you’re left with shining like new saw teeth.

Don’t have any empty laundry detergent bottles? The actual concentration is about 1-2 ounces of liquid detergent to 3 cups of water. The smaller your pan, the less water you need to cover your saw blade. 

Simple green: use the same process as with laundry detergent, just substitute Simple Green for the laundry detergent.

Cleaning circular saw blades

Cleaning Method 3

Baking soda

I came across this method when my sister was cleaning up an old broiler pan.

It was covered with burnt-on food, and this method cleaned it up like new.

It turns out, baking soda works wonders on saw blades as well and doesn’t have any harmful chemicals.

 

Step 1.

Put on your safety glasses and rubber gloves.

Step 2.

Place your saw blade in the shallow pan. 

Step 3.

Add BOILING water to cover your blade(about 1/4 inch above the teeth is fine).

Step 4.

Dump baking soda around the edge of the saw blade. About 1/3 to 1/2 cup is plenty. 

Step 5.

Let it sit until the water is cooled. 

Step 6.

Once the water cools (10 to 20 minutes), scrub with your plastic scrub brush.  

Step 7.

Rinse your saw blade with clean water and dry thoroughly.

NOTE: Sometimes, you will have to repeat the process on the bottom side of the blade. 

Clean Saw Blades

Why does my saw blade get dirty?

Your saw blade is most likely to get dirty when cutting softwoods.

Softwoods like pine, spruce, or fir hold a lot more pitch within their wood fibers.

As the saw blade creates friction while cutting, the pitch within the wood is heated, and some of it naturally sticks to the saw blade.

As more pitch builds-up on the saw blade, it cuts less efficiently and creates more heat from friction.

The increased temperature will also start to burn the wood while you cut.

This burning causes a dark brown or black resin from creosote to coat the saw blade teeth.

When does my circular saw blade need cleaning?

  • Saw blade cuts slowly
  • Saw blade heats up quickly and burns the wood
  • You see a brown/ black build up on the saw blade teeth

Benefits of a clean saw blade

  • Extends your saw blade life
  • Improves saw blade cutting performance

TIP: Frequent cleaning of your saw blades, especially when cutting softwoods will give you faster and cleaner cuts. Extend the life of your saw blades and give you a much better result for your projects.

A Word of Caution

Avoid using any caustic cleaning agents such as oven cleaner on any saw blades that have carbide tips.

The sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda in the oven cleaner, can weaken the brazing compound that holds the carbide tips to the steel blade.

The result could be carbide tips coming off your saw blade during use. (Yikes!) 

Conclusion

Keeping cutting tools clean and in top working condition leads to better woodworking results.

The small amount of time this takes will pay many dividends over time.

It will extend the service life of your saw blades and save you money by making the most of all your wood stock purchases

Do you have any saw blade cleaning tips or experiences to share? Please share them in our comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!

If you have any questions about woodworking, please share them in the comments or on our "Woodworking For Beginners" Facebook page.

Thank you for stopping by!

 

https://howtogetstartedwoodworking.com

8 thoughts on “3 Ways To Clean A Saw Blade”

  1. Thank you for your informative post. I know nothing about this topic. I think your information is very helpful for readers who are looking for tips to clean a saw blade. I think method 1 and 2 are both easy. Using liquid laundry soap and baking soda is convenient. Let me advise my friends to try your methods. Is there any particular plastic scrub brush that we need to buy? Or ordinary scrub wash is fine? 

    Keep going and share more information with us.   

    1. Hi Fiona,

      I appreciate your taking the time to read my post. So you know, any kind of scrub brush or scrubby pad will work. And even though you may not have saw blades of your own, remember this will work for cleaning burned on food from your bake ware or oven racks.

      Have a lovely day!

  2. Wow, this is filled with so much information on how I can clean a saw blade. I don’t own one but my dad does and he uses it alot down in the basement. I guess he usually has a problem with cleaning it but seeing your list now, it will make a world of a difference because I would be able to help him with the different methods you have. I think the baking soda method would be the most effective here. Thanks!

    1. Thank you Henderson! Please do share it with your dad. If you want to make sure he gets other woodworking tips too, send him to my Facebook page and he’ll get them.

      Have a great day!

  3. Hi, Greg,

    It’s amazing the number of things you can do with baking soda, isn’t it? I already knew about its use in cleaning blades. Regarding laundry detergent or Simple Green, I’ve never tried them. Out of the three, which one do you consider the most effective?

    I do agree with you it’s important to keep our blades clean. Not only will it avoid burning wood but it also will increase its lifespan. 

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    1. Hello Enrique,

      I think you could write a book on baking soda, someone probably has already! I’m glad to see you agree with keeping saw blades clean too! I find the laundry detergent and simple green are about equally effective. Baking soda works well but as you can assume it is not as strong of a chemical, so it takes a bit longer.

      Have a great day!

  4. This post has really come in handy for me and I am quite delighted that you have shared something like this here. My saw blade has really come rusty and dirty and I was already contemplating cleaning it. The only problem was I did not know how to until you have shared it here. Most of the ingredients are even at home with me. But I’d still have to get more. Thanks so much for sharing here!

    1. Hello Rodarrick,

      I’m so glad my post helped you! I usually have used the laundry detergent from old bottles because that is what I have the most of. Good luck to you in cleaning up your old rusty blade. I’m sure it will look and work much better.

      Cheers!

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