How To Clean And Maintain Your Hedge Trimmer


Your hedge trimmer is a trusty ally in keeping your bushes and shrubs in good shape, and regular cleaning and occasional maintenance will keep your trimmer in working order for years.

The process for cleaning and maintaining your hedge trimmer is as follows:

The secret is to make sure that you do the small jobs regularly so that your trimmer will run smoothly and safely. Let’s explain these jobs in more detail so you can clean with confidence!

Clean The Hedge Trimmer Cutting Blades

Only those who have previously owned a hedge trimmer can understand how dirty they can get. Even after a single session of use, an amalgam of wood dust, sap, leaves, and sticky resin can build up in the blades.

If left uncleaned, this residue can quickly and easily build up and jam the blades. In addition, it can swiftly dull the teeth and can cause rust to build-up. If the damage is already done, you might want to consider re-sharpening them in order to restore them to their original condition.

Sharpening can be particularly challenging, so let’s focus first on prevention rather than damage mitigation.

In order to clean your Hedge Trimmer blades, you will need a few household items such as:

  • Two washrags
  • A brush with tough bristles
  • Slightly heated or tepid water
  • Soap
  • A large bowl

After acquiring these items, go through the following steps:

  1. Mix the water with the soapy detergent, and then soak the washcloth in the mixture. Point the trimmer towards the ground, making sure that you don’t get the motor wet. After, be sure to run the cloth along the length of the blade.
  2. After washing the length, take the brush and gently clean the teeth. This is the area where most of the residue will accumulate. If necessary, use the cloth again to remove the debris dislodged by the brush.
  3. Repeat the process on the other side of the hedge trimming tool.
  4. Finally, wipe everything down with the wet cloth, and then the remaining dry cloth.
STIHL Air Filter

Clean The Hedge Trimmer Air Filter

This action depends on the specific model of the hedge trimmer that you own. For most models on the market, the filter will be made from either paper or felt.

This has little influence over the process itself, but it should be mentioned that paper filters can be cheaper and easier to replace.

Overall, this is a very simple stage, and it requires only a few easy steps:

  1. The choke should be set to its cold start position. If it is already in that position, move on to the next step.
  2. Get a screwdriver and remove the screw/screws from the filter cover.
  3. After removing the cover, gently brush away the wood and dust residue that coats and surrounds the filter
  4. Depending on how dirty the filter is, you can either tap it on a hard surface in order to shake the dirt off or simply replace it entirely. Be careful not to attempt to wash it. In most cases, if you add moisture to the accumulated dirt, it will form a sticky goo that will make the filter unusable.
  5. Place the filter back in its location, carefully fix the cover over the filter, and retighten the screws using your screwdriver.

Sharpen The Hedge Trimmer Blades

After each use of your hedge trimmer, the hedge’s branches will damage and dull the blades. Even though that damage is not very much, it does accumulate over multiple uses. If you want your cuts to be precise, you have to make sure to regularly sharpen the blades.

  1. Safety first. Be sure to purchase some thick leather gardening gloves as you handle the equipment. Even dull blades can leave a nasty cut.
  2. Place the tool on a steady and regular surface, preferably a workbench or table.
  3. Disable the spark plug by removing the spark plug wire. It will look like a round object with a sizeable wire at one of its ends. This makes sure that you don’t have accidental movements of the saw blades while you’re handling them.
  4. Try to align the upper and lower teeth of the trimmer by pressing them together.
  5. Choose a tooth, and place your mill file against its tip, matching the file’s angle with that of the blade itself. A tooth has three edges that need attention: two on its side, and a cutting edge towards the top.
  6. While following the angle of the blade, chose a tooth’s edge and push your file downwards.
  7. After reaching the edge, lift off the file and repeat the movement from the top. You will know that you are making progress if the blade starts to shine.
  8. Repeat this process for each side of each tooth on the top blade, then flip the trimmer and repeat the process for the bottom portion.
  9. After filing, just wipe off any excess using a slightly damp cloth
  10. Add a little lubrication
  11. Be sure to get another wire for the spark plug.
How To Clean Your Hedge Trimmer

Lubricate The Hedge Trimmer Blades Regularly

As previously mentioned, you should use lubricant oil on a regular basis. Cleaning and lubrication should go hand in hand.

If the trimmer is dirty most of the time, adding oil will only form viscous gunk that can clog the blades. And it is not possible to neglect to add the oil because it reduces drag and makes the blade cut smoother.

In addition, it isolates the metal from moisture, preventing rust accumulation. In order to lubricate:

  1. Place the hedge trimmer on a table
  2. Apply the oil on each tooth, along the length of the top blade.
  3. Replace or clean the blade guard and remove the extra oil stains with a rough oil rag.

Tighten Any Fittings And Loose Screws

For any tool, you should check the tightness of the screws from time to time. Just get a screwdriver and go one-by-one.

Keep The Hedge Trimmer Clean From The Outside

As it is with many things in life, prevention is key. You can spare yourself a lot of time wasted on cleaning the interior components, by simply keeping the outside clean. It takes only a few minutes to clean and re-apply oil after a cutting session.

Store The Hedge Trimmer The Right Way

Even the cleanest tool can be damaged by being exposed to the elements. After you are done trimming and cleaning, be sure to store your Hedge Trimmer is a dry place that is away from any source of moisture. Leaving it on the ground can cause it to rust, or placing it on pavement can accelerate the dulling of its teeth.

I’ve got more posts about hedge trimmers, if you want them, including my personal recommendation for the best hedge trimmer, and my view on whether cordless hedge trimmers are any good!

Mr X

I'm Jamie and I started TrimHedge to learn about hedge trimming and topiary and share my findings with you. I enjoy the sight of well formed foliage and enjoy helping you keep your hedges in good shape and your borders in order. To find out more about me, visit my About Page.

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