How to clean your hedge trimmer

A hedge trimmer accumulates dirt when used - knowing how to properly clean it is part of the secret to a long life for your tool.

A STIHL HSA 82 T petrol hedge trimmer on a lawn with someone spraying resin solvent onto the cutting attachment

Why it’s important to clean your hedge trimmer

Cleaning your hedge trimmer regularly protects it from premature wear and is vital to keeping it in good working order. When you use your hedge trimmer, the blades accumulate sap, resin and dirt as they cut – if left alone, these sticky residues will quickly impair the cutting performance of your trimmer. Branches and leaves that get into the gaps in the cutting attachment can also stop the tool from working properly. And if you don’t clean your hedge trimmer before storage, rust can form on the cutting attachment. 

How to clean your hedge trimmer: materials

You’ll need the following materials and tools to get your hedge trimmer properly clean and protected:

  • Brush
  • Soft cloth
  • Maintenance oil and resin solvent
  • Screwdriver (for deep cleaning)
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves made from robust material

How to clean your hedge trimmer: preparation

Before you start cleaning your hedge trimmer, you need to take a few safety precautions.

Make sure that your tool is switched off and cannot start again while you are working on it. 

  • For a petrol hedge trimmer: remove the spark plug.
  • For an electric hedge trimmer: disconnect the plug.
  • For a cordless hedge trimmer: remove the battery.
  • For a hedge trimmer with integrated battery: switch off the hedge trimmer and remove the activation key.
  • For a cordless hedge trimmer charger: disconnect the plug. 

Keep safety in mind, and always wear sturdy gloves and safety glasses to prevent injury when you’re cleaning your hedge trimmer.  The operating instructions for your hedge trimmer include more safety information that you should familiarise yourself with. 

How to clean hedge trimmer blades after each use

After using your hedge trimmer, take a few minutes to inspect and clean it every time. Give the cutting attachment particular attention, as this part is most exposed to external influences.

Use a brush to clean the cutting attachment and remove any large debris, like leaves and branches. Then give the blades a quick spray with resin solvent and run the hedge trimmer very briefly; doing this helps to distribute lubricant onto all the individual teeth and into the gaps. We recommend STIHL Superclean resin solvent, because it provides corrosion protection as well as dissolving resin and sap.

Close-up of a STIHL HS 46 petrol hedge trimmer being wiped with a cloth

Wipe the housing, battery and charger with a damp cloth. Clean the electrical contacts on the charger with a paintbrush or other soft brush, if necessary.

Now you can put the hedge trimmer scabbard on and put your tools away under cover until you next use it.

Important: Remove the battery before putting a cordless hedge trimmer away. Store it in a dry place separate from the hedge trimmer and charger.

Top tips for storing batteries

How to clean before extended storage

Your hedge trimmer needs a deep clean every now and again, especially if you plan to put it away for several months, or if it’s not working properly. 

The first step in a thorough clean is to remove the cutting attachment from your hedge trimmer. You need to remove two screws to do this: one connects the drive to the blade, and the other is on the blade itself. Wipe any dust or dirt off the blades with a brush. Use a hedge trimmer blade cleaner, such as a resin solvent if there is a lot of resin on your hedge trimmer.

Video: Cleaning the air filter of a STIHL petrol hedge trimmer

Close-up of the clean blades of a STIHL HLA 56 cordless long-reach hedge trimmer

Two-in-one care product

STIHL resin solvent spray is the ideal solution for stubborn residues and also offers protection against rust.

As you clean, inspect the blades and consider whether you need to sharpen your hedge trimmer. Keeping the blades sharp makes a big difference to the effectiveness of your tool, as the blades become increasingly blunt with use. This can lead to jagged cuts and damage as it trims branches and twigs, rather than producing a clean cut. As well as leaving your shrubs vulnerable to disease, it also means your tool will have to work harder - prevent this by regularly sharpening the blades as needed.

Storing petrol and cordless hedge trimmers

As well as the cleaning steps above, you should also note the following steps if you don’t plan to use your petrol or cordless hedge trimmer for an extended period (more than 1 month):

Petrol Cordless
  • Empty the tank
    • After you’ve used your hedge trimmer for the last time, empty its fuel tank in a well-ventilated place and dispose of the fuel in an environmentally friendly manner
  • Let the carburettor run empty
    • Start the machine and let it run briefly
  • Check the air filter, the cool air intake and/or the spark plug
  • Clean the cool air intake if necessary. If the engine is underperforming, replace the spark plug and clean the air filter
  • You can find detailed information in the operating instructions for your tool
  • Remove the battery and insert the cover for the battery slot
  • Cleaning
    • Clean the battery with a damp cloth
  • Charge correctly
    • You can charge the lithium-ion battery at any time regardless of its charge level. Store the battery with a charge level of 40 to 60% (2 illuminated green LEDs), separate from the charger
    • Do not let it fully discharge as this can considerably damage the charge capacity 
  • Store the battery
    • Store in dry conditions inside where the temperature is most stable. 

Summary: how to clean your hedge trimmer

  • After every use, give your hedge trimmer a basic clean – ensuring it’s safely switched off first.
  • We recommend deep cleaning your hedge trimmer before storing it for an extended period.
  • You must wear personal protective equipment in line with the operating instructions.
  • If you have a petrol hedge trimmer, you also need to clean the air filter, fuel tank and cool air intake.
  • Longer periods of downtime affect petrol and cordless tools differently.