A saw may be one of the most resilient - and most dangerous - tools in your workshop. But after project on top of project, your circular saw, miter saw, band saw or table saw blades can become caked and clogged with pitch, glue and other materials.
This clogging buildup may make it seem as if your blades are dull, but more often than not, they are just in need of a good deep cleaning. Grimy blades can make it more difficult for you to cut edges cleanly, which can increase friction and generate higher levels of heat. This accelerates the dulling process and can cause the blades to warp or distort while you're using them.
Caustic oven cleaners are sometimes recommended for deep cleaning saw blades. Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is the main ingredient in many spray-on oven cleaners. This can cause severe respiratory irritation, nausea, dizziness, skin burns and more. Other varieties of commercial blade and bit cleaners often don't stay wet for the prescribed amount of soaking time, which doesn't do much to loosen residue from the blade.
In addition to toxic effects on the body, oven cleaner and saw blade cleaning products with caustic ingredients can potentially damage saw blades. They attack the binder in the carbide and the brazing used to secure the teeth to the blade.
Simple Green Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner is a readily biodegradable, non-corrosive, professional grade cleaner and degreaser ideal for use on tools, equipment and vehicles. It quickly eliminates tough grease and grime, removes oily stains, and is safe on metal surfaces. The concentrated formula can be diluted to suit your cleaning needs, whether you're soaking your saw blades or wiping down your work area.
Check your saw blades often and keep them clean. It is recommended that you deep clean them two or three times a year.
Before you begin cleaning, it's a good idea to put a pair of gloves on to protect your hands from the saw's sharp blades.
- Prepare your Simple Green solution. Mix 1 cup of Simple Green Pro HD with 3 cups of water in an aluminum pan or a wide, shallow plastic bowl or container.
- Remove the blade. Unplug your saw and remove the dirty blade, being careful of the sharp teeth.
- Soak the blade. Lay the blade flat in your pan or container so it is completely submerged in the cleaning solution. Leave it to soak for about 10 minutes.
- Clean. After 10 minutes, scrub the blade's teeth and any gunky areas with an old toothbrush, small brass brush, hard bristle brush or steel wool.
- Rinse. Rinse with clean water and pat dry with paper towels. It's important to fully dry the blade, as leftover water could lead to rust. You may even want to use a blow dryer or air compressor to ensure the areas around the teeth and in the gullets are completely dry.
- Replace the blade.
TIP: After the blades are clean, give them a coat of silicone spray. This will help slow down the buildup of tars, resins and rust on the carbide teeth.
TIP: If a lot of teeth are damaged or getting dull, consider sharpening or buying a new saw. While plain steel saw blades can be sharpened with a triangular metal file, blades with carbide-tipped teeth must be professionally sharpened.