Works for me #6: Blade Cleaning

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Blog entry by Dave Owen posted 03-08-2010 07:06 PM 2847 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Adjustable Bandsaw Sled Part 6 of Works for me series Part 7: Tool Manuals and Parts Lists »

This morning I cleaned one of my table saw blades, so I decided to write a little blog about it.

For any of you who don’t have a favorite blade cleaner – and for those who want to try something different, here’s a suggestion. The product I’ve used for years is “Lestoil Grease & Stain Remover” (a product of the Clorox Company). Some of you old-timers like me may remember their advertising jingle from years ago – “It’s so easy when you use Lestoil”. Incidentally, this is not my idea. I read about it years ago when one of the magazines (I think it was “Fine Woodworking”) evaluated a number of proprietary products made for blade cleaning, together with other common products used for that purpose. One of the most interesting things in the article was that some commonly used products aren’t all that good for blades and/or teeth.

Anyway, Lestoil doesn’t harm blades or teeth, is much milder than some of the products, can be flushed down the drain, and is inexpensive (on line, I’ve seen it listed for $4.99 for 28 ounces). I pay a bit more buy it from one of the local chain hardware stores. You may or may not be able to find it in your locale, but you can always order it online. Incidentally, speaking of inexpensive, if you’re really frugal you can even strain Lestoil and return it to the bottle for re-use.

I use a shallow, flat-bottomed, plastic pan I got at an automotive store, and a round, nylon-bristle brush with a handle. Several times I’ve immersed the blade in Lestoil, let it soak for a few minutes, then used the brush to get off the residue. More recently, though, I simply put the dry blade in the pan, pour a small amount of Lestoil on the top surface, spread it around with the brush, let it soak a minute or so, and then go to work with the brush. Lestoil that gets pushed off the top by the brush works on the bottom of the blade while I work on the top. I clean the top, flip the blade over, wash and dry it, and in a few minutes I’m finished. If there’s printing on the blade, some or all of it may come off during the cleaning process, but otherwise, the blade will look like new.

I don’t wear gloves when using Lestoil, but it is a concentrated cleaner and some of you may have more sensitive skin than me. If you try it, use your own judgment about that. If you do, let me know how it works for you.

-- Dave O.

8 comments so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3040 days

#1 posted 03-08-2010 07:21 PM

Interesting coincidence – The subject of blade cleaning was a hot topic at our last woodworkers club meeting. The consensus there was for Easy-Off oven cleaner. Personally, I always thought that was too harsh, especially for one who has their own septic tank (like me). I had not thought of Lestoil. Thanks for the post.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View araldite's profile


188 posts in 3369 days

#2 posted 03-08-2010 07:52 PM

It’s one of those things so easy to try, why not?

-- Failure is the road to success if you learn to learn from your mistakes - Vince, Greenville, SC

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3139 days

#3 posted 03-08-2010 08:07 PM

Another “OhByTheWay….”

When swapping out for my dado set, yesterday, I was looking for a convenient spot to set my regular blade.

Turns out … the lid to my 5gal bucket … is a perfect fit.

Makes me think it might be another option (besides Frisbees!) for blade cleaning. It’s a little shallow, but … I’m sure it would work.

And … we all have ‘em … if only we can find ‘em :-)

-- -- Neil

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3235 days

#4 posted 03-08-2010 08:14 PM

Interesting, I will certainly consider Lestoil when I need to purchase some more cleaner. Right now I have some stuff that came with my saw top protectant and it seems to work ok. I have seen the use of oven cleaner…but feel it is too corrosive for my tastes…and the fumes are dangerous also. I have used a lemon cleaner with medium success….it is not aggressive enough. I have also heard of folks using simple green with some success….I feel that those are only as good as the brush and amount of elbow grease you use.

Thanks for the idea though, will watch this blog with interest to see what the consensus is.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View HallTree's profile


5664 posts in 3733 days

#5 posted 03-08-2010 10:52 PM

Good tip Dave.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3299 days

#6 posted 03-08-2010 11:42 PM

Just send a few gallons to Norway.Lol

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View blackcherry's profile


3337 posts in 3788 days

#7 posted 03-09-2010 03:03 AM

Les I will have to chime in on Lestoil as well, its been a stable of my family cleaning supplies for over 30 plus years. This stuff has so many uses it incredible. Pre-soaker for grass stain, tar stain, engine grease, oil, wine stain, as a degresser around the stove, & oven. But you my friend have come up with a new one a blade cleaner isn’t that just great. thanks for the tip …BC

View oldhickory's profile


9 posts in 3025 days

#8 posted 03-09-2010 03:11 AM

for 10” blades i turn a 5 gal bucket upside down the blade fit perfect spray a little oven cleaner on it let sit for a bit spray off with water hose wipe dry and put away so far no harm to blades

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