How to Clean Power Tools in 5 Easy Steps

Cleaning and maintenance are supposedly the determining factors during power tool purchase and ownership.

Knowing how to clean power tools properly and effectively helps you prolong their life as well as allows you to save money.

We know how much these power tools usually cost, and to be able to keep them around for longer, the better.

However, regularly cleaning and maintaining your power tools can be challenging.

That is because most of these tools are not only heavy to move but also dangerously sharp.

So, allow us to discuss in detail the best ways to clean your power tools at home.

Table of Contents

    How to Clean Power Tools: The Five General Steps

    The safest way to clean your power tools is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions.

    That said, here are the five general steps you can follow to leave your miter saws, jigsaws, and other power tools clean:

    Step 1: Remove the Dust

    Start by cleaning out the dust in your tools. Regardless if your cordless drill and impact driver looks shiny, they definitely still have dust in them.

    Using compressed air, take your vacuum or air compressor to suck all the dust and clean the vents.

    Running the tool is also a great way to ensure all parts are covered. Prioritize all the moving parts, such as the blades, drill chucks, and arbors.

    For molded plastics and PVC parts, you can use a damp cloth to clean them off.

    Using a brush might not be a practical idea as it will only push the dirt further, encourage dust buildup, and may cause damage in the future.

    Step 2: Remove the Rust

    Rust is inevitable, especially to power tools you have had for a long time. Regular cleaning of these tools, even if unused, will help you lessen rust and save you for a thorough cleaning task in the future.

    A stiff brush and steel wool are recommended in cleaning metal parts, especially for power tools like Benchtop Drill Press that are very susceptible to rust.

    Make sure that you do not scrub the surface too hard to prevent scratches, or you can make use of a degreaser to remove the rust easily.

    You must spray your tools with a corrosion protector after removing the rust.

    Most power tool enthusiasts prefer to use T9 as it works as both a protectant and lubricant.

    However, you can just use your preferred protectant and ensure to follow the given instructions that it comes with. 

    Step 3: Inspect the Tool

    You must also inspect the entire tool, especially the moving parts, to see if everything is still intact.

    Doing so will allow you to prevent any accidents in the future.

    Unplug the tool and try to spin the moving parts. See if these parts still look sturdy or if there are worn-out wires and power cords, especially for grinder tools that may have loose parts.

    Also, after plugging it back in, listen for any unusual noises it may produce and try checking what caused them.

    You can usually resolve odd sounds your tools produce by adding an extra lubricant.

    Also, do not forget to adjust bolts and screws to ensure safety upon using your power tools.

    Step 4: Replace Loose and Disposable Parts

    Make sure that the abrasives and blades of your tools are still in good condition, especially for power tools such as jigsaws.

    Ensure that the blades do not have any chips or are still sharp enough to perform well. It is important to immediately replace blades and belts.

    Also, monitor the batteries of your tools. Ensure that the heat is managed and stored in an area where the temperature can easily be managed or controlled.

    Never let it completely drain before recharging it, as it will greatly impact its performance.

    Step 5: Recalibrate Your Tool

    Since most power tools work with precision and sharpness, make sure you calibrate them regularly.

    Doing so will allow these power tools to maintain alignment and perform the task at hand easily and smoothly.

    You can always refer to the provided user manual for the maintenance and recalibration schedule.

    That said, the recalibration schedule usually comes after reaching the maximum recommended hours of use.

    Some companies offer calibration services for most power tools, so take advantage of this.

    learn how to clean power tools

    Cleaning Power Tools FAQs

    1. What are the most important steps in cleaning and maintaining power tools?

    The most important thing in cleaning and maintaining power tools are lubricating, recalibrating, and replacing.

    You can easily remove the dust and rust, but without these three essential steps, you cannot guarantee to maintain the quality of your power tools.

    2. What should you do before cleaning a power tool?

    Safety must always be top of your mind when cleaning sharp and heavy power tools.

    Make sure that you have unplugged them from the power source before cleaning them to prevent them from turning on and accidentally hurting you.

    It’s also best to remove the battery of your cordless tool before starting the cleaning process.

    You can also use safety gear, such as protective gloves.

    Setting up your cleaning materials and tools in an open and flat space is also highly advisable.

    Doing so will allow you to see everything and keep your focus while cleaning.

    It can also prevent you from misplacing screws and bolts, so you’re assured that everything stays intact.

    3. Will vinegar damage tools?

    When it comes to how to clean power tools, some of us prefer using household or kitchen items, as they’re cheaper and easily accessible.

    Vinegar is a common product used to clean items like bathtubs and sinks.

    But is it also a practical solution for rust? Yes, it is an effective rust remover and cleaning solution.

    It has a known safe effect on most tools. Plus, it works pretty fast.

    To use, you can soak your tools, such as your sanders, in vinegar for 24 hours and expect to have the heavy rust in them removed.

    For tools that are too large to be soaked in small pans, you can use buckets or spray vinegar on the tools and wrap them in a towel soaked in vinegar.

    You can also use a combination of vinegar and salt or plain white vinegar to clean your tools.

    All you have to do is pour enough vinegar to cover the entire metal part of the tool.

    Cleaning Power Tools Effectively

    Dirt, rust, and other elements will eventually affect the proper functioning of your tool and the quality of your work. Cleaning your power tools effectively is necessary to ensure you can do your job efficiently.

    Aside from that, you save a lot of money by keeping them around for a long period.

    This way, you won’t have to spend again to replace them or have them fixed by professionals.

    Cleaning your tools goes way beyond just removing the dust and rust in them. It also includes making sure that they are well-lubricated and well-calibrated.

    Also, replacing the parts that may affect your tool’s overall performance is necessary.

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