Basic Router Cleaning and Maintenance

Basic Router Cleaning and Maintenance

Have you cleaned your router lately? As one of the hardest-working tools in your shop, it is exposed to its fair share of dirt, dust, and debris. If these are allowed to build up, it can cause damage to your router and reduce its ability to perform efficiently. We’re sharing our best tips to remove any dirt and even rust from your router, so it continues to work its best.  

How to Remove Dust From Your Router

A common issue with handheld routers is dirt getting into the motor, especially if you’re working with fine particles such as MDF. Every once in a while, it is a good idea to open up the router (assuming you have a style where the base comes off) and give it a thorough cleaning. The first step would be to take a vacuum with a brush attachment to get as much debris removed as possible.  

Sawdust buildup

Next is to use a can of compressed air to force out any debris the vacuum couldn’t access. You will want to ensure you’re blowing the debris out away from the motor, and not into it. You want to have the compressed air blowing in the same direction that the fan would be, to ensure any build-up and debris is blowing down and out. If you don’t have a can of compressed air, you could use a compressor if you have one in your workshop. Make sure to use it on a low-pressure setting, no more than 15 or 20 psi, and you’ll achieve the same cleaning effect. 

Use compressed air on the router

If you have a router where you can’t remove the base to clean inside, you can still use the compressed air on the vents. Blow the air into the vents in a downward direction. Check to see if any debris is coming loose. If nothing is really coming out, then the fan is doing its job properly of moving debris away from the motor. 

Remove debris from the motor

How to Clean Removeable Bushing Collets 

A collet is the steel sleeve on your router that holds the bits in place. If your router has a collet with a removable bushing, it is very easy to clean since it can be removed from the router. An inexpensive torch tip cleaning set can get the job done. These kits include various sizes of wires and tips, making them ideal for numerous cleaning and restoration projects. Rotating the file inside the bushing will remove any dirt and rust from the bushing, but you will want to be careful not to remove the metal itself. If there’s no rust, a set of small bottle brushes with nylon bristles can be used to remove the dirt without causing any damage. 

Clean removeable bushing collets

How to Clean Split Shaft Collets 

If your router has a collet that is fixed to the machine, like the split shaft design we’re demonstrating on, it can be a bit trickier to clean. When we removed the nut, we could see quite a bit of rust on the collet. Once again, we will use the brushes and file set to clean up the rust and burrs on the collet. If these are present, the bits may not grip properly so it’s important to get those cleaned up. Be mindful that you’re not removing any metal, as that could make the grip too loose. The brushes can be pushed in and out to break down any dirt, and if there are stubborn burrs or rust then the wire files can be used. Sometimes the bit can be used to clean out the collet. Once the bit drops in and out of the collet smoothly, you’ll have removed any buildup and be good to go! 

Clean split shaft collets

If you’ve discovered that some parts of your router are damaged beyond cleaning, don’t worry! You can easily find replacement parts by searching for your model number. Be sure to follow along with our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of our tool teardown videos.  

Organize Your Home in a Snap!

The Fix App makes it easy to manage all your stuff in one place. Just snap a photo and we'll find and store your user manuals, receipts, and product information in one easy-to-find place!

"Like magic. I took a picture of the model number on my refrigerator, and the app identified it right away ... Very convenient. I'm impressed."
★★★★★ -Clever Jeff ★★★★★
7036 South High Tech Dr.
Midvale, UT 84047
visa mastercard discover american express PayPal