How to Clean Table Saw Top [6 Easy Steps]

Usually, tabletop saws are made of steel, but there is a vast amount of iron remaining in there. As we all know, iron tends to oxidase in moisture so it gets rusty. Especially when yours is not a commercial saw. Then you need to know how to clean the table saw top.

Rust is one of the biggest problems you will face if you own a tabletop saw. It not only looks gross but also reduces the efficiency of the saw. So it needs constant maintenance to keep it working for a long time.

Learn How To Clean Table Saw Top

Cleaning a table saw top is not a very versatile process to be confused about. But if you are not sure how and where to start, you have reached the perfect place. Here, we have mentioned a step-by-step easy process for cleaning Saw top

1. Remove the Accessories

If you have made up your mind to clean your tabletop saw, it is safe to remove the accessories first. So many accidents can happen if you are not incognizant enough. You can cut yourself or things can even go worse than that.

On the other hand, you can also damage the accessories in the cleaning process. So why take the risk? Before you start anything, remove all the accessories situated on the tabletop.

2. Evaluate the Surface

After removing everything from the tabletop you need to examine it closely and properly. Because you need to take steps according to the trust level that has been built upon the table. I’m going to tell you now about cleaning the rusty tabletop saw.

To do it, take a soft cloth and wipe out the table well. There can be wood dust and other residues. Because of those, the tabletop can be seen as rustier than it actually is.

Now it’s ready for the examination.  If the residue built upon it is light and shallow then it’s not a problem to clean it up. But if the rust is deep and has been building up for months or years, you may not take it back to its previous state. But at least you can make it clean and rust-free as much as possible.

3. Get Rid of the Rust

Now, get to the actual work done. Most people use sandpaper up to 600 grit which can badly damage the surface of the tabletop. It can make scratches on the table and later on, it catches more rust and makes it dirty comparatively in very little time.

If the residue did not completely cover the surface and it is at the initial level, it’s safe to start from 220 grit sandpaper. Even many experts do not recommend sandpaper to use on the surface.

Many will suggest a synthetic scrub pad to scrub the tabletop. But I personally use 400 grit sandpaper which is fine to use carefully, even if the residue is in the primary stage.

A vibrating sander works great with it, you just have to make sure that you are not putting any extra pressure on it. Some stains may stay there as removing stains from a cast iron table saw is not an easy process and you may ruin the tabletop by adding more pressure to it. So just left it, as it is.

But if the rust has built up a thick layer, you may need a putty knife to remove it. Caresses the surface and finds out the uneven thick spots.

Gently scrape out the dirt as neatly as possible without scratching it out. When the surface is even, use the sandpaper as mentioned above. It is mainly most of how to clean table saw top.

4. Lubricate the Surface

400 grit sandpaper is a good way to start without scratching the metal but you will need some kind of oil or lubricant. It will help you to cut the rust easily. You can use mineral oil or WD-40 for this purpose.

Apply a generous amount of that lubricant before you start to scrub. But make sure it is not too much as you have to remove it completely after you have done the scrubbing. If you use WD-40, try to spray it part by part as it tends to evaporate quickly.

Once applying the lubricant of your choice start scrubbing both back and forth in a plus circular motion. You can use your hand or a vibrating sander. After you are done with it clean the surface with a dry fresh cloth.

By doing this you will get a tabletop that is dry to the touch but will contain an invisible layer of oil that will protect it from moisture. Protecting from moisture means protection from rust as well.

5. Apply Rust Remover If Necessary

At this point of cleaning most of the rust has probably been cleaned but if there’s any left you need to use rust remover. It is also known as naval jelly. This is a strong chemical used for extremely rusted iron or steel. You can find it in any automotive and home improvement store.

Before applying it make sure the room is well ventilated. It has quite a strong and nasty smell, which can eventually trouble your breathing. Wear gloves and safety glasses as they can burn your skin if you touch them with a bare hand.

Now follow the instruction manual and apply a thick coat, or as instructed on the surface. Do not forget about the edges. Now leave it till the allotted amount of time. By then the coat should be brown. Wipe it up with a paper towel.

In this process, the tabletop should be all clean, but if not reapply the rust remover again and repeat this process until the tabletop saw is completely rust-free.

6. Apply wax for protection

Now when your table saw top is entirely clean and rust-free, you need to protect it from being rusted all over again. For this purpose, there are many popular products like Slipit or Boeshield T-9 but I will suggest you use paste wax as it works just fine and you can find it easily. It will seal all the imperfections and will protect them from moisture.

Before applying the wax wipe off the table with a solvent like naphtha or acetone. It will remove the chemicals that may be left behind and give you a clean surface to apply wax on.

Now take a generous amount of paste wax on a clean cloth and apply it by rubbing it all over the table. Wait for 15 to 20 minutes or until the wax hardens. Now take another soft cloth and rub the table till the cloth glides over it smoothly. Do the same thing one more time for full protection.


After the cleaning is done put everything back together and your saw is ready for your service again. And by now you know all about how to clean table saw tops.

To avoid all the work over again, keep your tabletop out of moisture. Though it is not possible in a workshop or garage, you can reapply the paste wax from time to time.

With proper care and maintenance like this, it will last a very long time without worrying much.