A Complete Guide to Cleaning Your Chainsaw Air Filter

Date Posted: 4 November 2022 

Chainsaws are made to handle a lot of wear and tear, and you can expect them to last at least ten years minimum. However, that all depends on the kind of work you put it through and how well you maintain it. 

One part of the chainsaw that can go unnoticed and unchecked is its air filter. Failure to clean and replace this part can cause excess debris and dirt to get into your motor and can result in your engine failing in the middle of a job. 

Here's everything you need to know about your chainsaw air filter and how to keep it clean. 

When to Clean a Chainsaw Air Filter

When does cleaning a chainsaw air filter become a priority? After all, you aren't expected to clean it out every time you use it. 

The first sign you need to clean or replace your air filter is if it lacks power. The only real way to monitor this is through normal use. If it feels weaker than usual or takes longer to cut through something, there may be an issue.

Secondly, your chainsaw might be more difficult to start up. Assuming that it has fresh fuel and isn't flooded, the air filter may be the reason. 

Finally, the air filter could be why your chainsaw dies out more quickly. If the filter is clogged, it can cause the engine to overheat during use.

To avoid these issues, you should always clean your chainsaw air filter after ten hours of use. It may depend on the type of work you're doing. On average, you can limit yourself to twice a year. 

Steps to Cleaning Your Chainsaw's Air Filter

Maintaining your chainsaw is the only way to get the most money out of it. You'll get better performance and a longer lifespan as a result.

That involves sharpening the blade, cleaning grime off the chain, and using quality fuel. Chainsaw maintenance also includes clearing out its air filter. 

Locate the Air Filter

Before you can learn how to clean a chainsaw air filter, you need to find it. Every chainsaw has its unique structure, so it won't always be in the same place as other models. 

For the most part, you can find them near the top and blow the engine. It may look like a raised circular area. In addition, it should have slits that allow air to flow through it. 

Keep in mind that all branded chainsaws use their own branded replacement parts

Remove the Air Filter

Once you've located the air filter, you have to take it out. 

Use a screwdriver to remove the screw from the cover. Once removed, place the screws somewhere they won't get lost or roll away. Then, remove the cover and put it with the screws. 

The top cover should reveal another interior cover. Unscrew the lid and place them to the side with the interior cover. 

Finally, the air filter should slide out of its housing unit. Make sure not to try to remove it until the interior cover is unscrewed. 

Start Cleaning the Air Filter

There are four main ways to clean your air filter. Which one you use will depend on how dirty it is and what equipment you have on hand.

The best way to clean a chainsaw air filter is with static fluid spray. It's stronger than soapy water, but it can take a while for it to take effect. Select a spray that works with your chainsaw filter material. 

Another way to clean your filter is with an air compressor. This involves pushing away all the dust particles, but you must use air pressure below 20 psi. 

The third way is by tapping the air filter on a hard surface. This allows you to loosen out any debris and dust without any special equipment or chemicals.

Finally, you can use soapy water. Most manufacturers actually recommend it by default. This involves washing the filter in a hot, soapy water bucket and then rinsing it off in a separate bucket of cold water. 

Regardless of what method you use, always make sure to dry out the filter completely before replacing it. You also never want to clean it while it's still inside the chainsaw. 

Clean the Filter Cover

It's also essential to clean the chainsaw covers, as air still needs to pass through them. You can place them both in hot water and scrub them clean of dust. After they're rinsed and dried, you can replace the covers on the chainsaw.

Steps to Cleaning Stihl Chainsaw Air Filter

Stihl chainsaws are unique in that they have a long-life air filter with three components. These consist of cyclone routing, a paper filter, and a fine dust filter. The cyclone routing system provides a much longer filter service life. 

Cleaning a Stihl chainsaw air filter starts with brushing off loose dust particles. You'll then want to rinse the filter before spraying it with a cleaning agent with a pH value higher than 12. 

Let the cleaning agent sit for about ten minutes before rinsing it off again. Then, air dry the filter and replace it on your chainsaw. 

Steps to Cleaning Husqvarna Chainsaw Air Filter

A Husqvarna chainsaw air filter replacement is more squarish rather than circular. You can clean them by washing and brushing them in warm soapy water. Rinse the air filter until the water is clear, and dry it before reassembling it. 

Try to avoid using pressurized air with this type of filter. It's possible for you to damage it or drive dirt deeper into the unit. 

Get Replacement Air Filters Only at Jono & Johno

It's important to clean your chainsaw air filter, as a clogged one can cause problems for your chainsaw. However, there may come a time when you need to replace broken or torn ones. Aftermarket chainsaw air filters are a more affordable alternative to brand replacements, and they can work just as well. 

Jono & Johno is one of Australia's largest online suppliers of chainsaw parts, including air filters. You can buy filters for brands such as Husqvarna, Perla Barb, and more. Check out our stock online, and contact us with any questions.