Cleaning the Air Filter on Chainsaws

A man uses a chainsaw.
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-30
What You'll Need
Screwdriver with a Phillips or flat head
2 buckets
Mild soap
Hot water
Cold water
Soft toothbrush

A chainsaw is a heavy duty piece of equipment that is as efficient as it is dangerous. The chainsaw is very versatile and is designed to take a beating and to maintain running at peak performance for hours in the worst conditions imaginable. Many chainsaws require you to replace the air filter once a year but it a good idea to clean it after about five hours of combined usage. A dirty air filter can cause the chainsaw to lose power and potentially stall. This article will show you how to properly clean your air filter.

Step 1 - Get to the Air Filter

Every chainsaw design is slightly different. Most manufacturers place the air filter behind the engine and near the top. A good rule of thumb is to look for a raised circular area on the body of the chainsaw. This area will also have slits in it to allow for proper circulation of air during its operation. Use the screwdriver and remove the screws on the cover and set them to the side. Gently lift the cover off of the chainsaw and set it aside.

Step 2 - Remove the Air Filter

Under this first cover will most likely be another near the rear of the engine. This is the air filter cover. You may have to remove more screws. When you are ready, remove the air filter cover and set it aside. The air filter should just be able to be lifted out of its seat.

Step 3 - Clean the Air Filter

Fill one of the buckets with soap and hot water. Make sure the water is sudsy. Take the air filter and gently tap it on a hard surface. Tap the hard plastic edge and not the filter itself. This will loosen dust and cause debris to fall off the filter. When ready, you can immerse the filter in the bucket of hot water and soap. Swish the filter around the water prior to gently scrubbing the filter with the toothbrush. Let the filter settle to the bottom of the bucket and rest for several minutes before swishing it around the water.

Fill the second bucket with cold water. When you are finished cleaning the filter in the bucket of hot water place it in this bucket. Move the filter around the cold water to remove the soap and soap residue. When you are finished you can remove the filter and set it aside to air dry.

Step 4 - Clean the Cover

To avoid latent dirt and debris to contaminate the clean air filter you should clean the filter and chainsaw covers. Place the covers in the hot water and scrub them down. Once the insides are clean you can rinse them off in the cold water.

Step 5 - Replace the Air Filter

When the filter and covers are dry you can replace the air filter. Replace the filter cover followed by the chainsaw body. Do not overly tighten the screws.