Cleaning power sander


Was wondering how often people clean their power sander and the difficulties involved? After each board I take off the side vents and blow out, but I can see sanded glass dust caked in there. Would like to take it apart and clean but pretty sure theres a good chance Ill screw it up putting back together. I have a dewalt brand.




One thing that will aid in cleaning without taking it apart is one of those small test tube brushes.  They sell a kit at Harbor Freight for cleaning paint spray guns, cup guns etc.  The kit includes a couple of small diameter test tube brushes.  Sometimes you can find this type of brush at paint or Airless Spray shops.  You can use these to dislodge and remove particulate inside the housing by sliding the brush through the vents of the housing.  Once dislodged blow it out with the compressor.  Check or replace brushes on a regular basis.  If a sander starts acting up, it’s usually because the brushes are worn out.  Nine times out of ten, it’s not the trigger but the brushes causing the sander to shut off and then come back on.

Thanks for the tips, did both. Brushes looked pretty good, just a little dust in there. Either way Im gonna order some replacements.

I have and use a DeWalt 849 variable speed but dropped it the other day and cracked off the handle on one side.  Took the opportunity to take the housing off exposing the armature, brushes, wiring, switch, and cleaned it all with an old toothbrush and some compressed air.  Epoxy and some lightweight (2 oz?) glass got the handle back together nicely, and with some sanding it’s not externally noticeable.

Go gently with the compressed air, though, not only do you not want to literally blow things apart, you don’t want to push dust farther into the works.  Brushes wear only very slowly, if they are readily available I would wait and see how quickly yours wear.  You can also “make your own” from larger carbon brushes, trimmed/sanded to fit.  If I got a spare set now I’d lose them by the time I needed them.

I have the same model and have really liked it (prob about 8 years now). Im gonna buy a set of brushes to have as backup and so i can compare to what I have now to see how much wear there even was. 


i just watched a couple videos on taking the polisher apart to expose the armature and see if i can gently clean out. Although im not going to try and remove from the top gear housing.

If you take your old brushes out and re-use them be sure to put them back in the same slot and the same orientation as they were before your removed them.  Less likely to arc if you do.

Wow, that wouldve been a smart thing to do! I kept the sides separate, but didnt pay attention to the specific orientation. I can at least take them out and make sure the wear curvature matches the rotation.

I’d like to mention, before blowing with compressed air it’s always a good idea to give the tool a once over with the vacuum.  That way you’re not blasting stuff in, that you want out. 

Make sure to blow out the trigger area. Often times dust will accumulate on the trigger contact and prevent the sander from turning on. Simple fix for a common issue.

Thanks for the tips. I took it apart and cleaned. Successfully, it started up after putting back together. I was a little worried. 

On a related note, does anyone have any tips for removing the tack glue residue from sanding pads? Ive got some years worth of build up and trying to remove bit by bit by hand.

I use 3M 77 spray contact cement.  To peel off an old sheet of sandpaper, I flood the sandy side surface with some mineral spirits or acetone, which softens the glue, then the worn out sandpaper peels off nicely.  The glue is also made sticky by the solvent, so I seldom have to add spray.

I got a can of the same 3m, but was using the last of whatever I had before. Maybe Ill have to switch earlier. When you say sandy side, do you mean put the liquid on the rough side of the sand paper and let soak through?




A heat gun on low and fan it over the grit side.  It will soften the glue and you can peel the paper right off.  You can see the worn out paper change color as you go.  That’s an indication that the glue is softening.  Better yet go to a Goodwill or Salvation Army and buy a second hand blow dryer for $5.  They’re perfect for this because they don’t get too hot.  I would be extremely nervous about putting any kind of solvent on a foam pad.  Different solvents react differently to foam.  Some will eat it up.  I suppose if you don’t use too much or let it penetrate the cloth backer, you’d be alright.  For instance; Acetone and resin are fine with certain types of rubber gloves, but stick them in lacquer thinner and they dissolve.  

Matt, yes just enough solvent to we the paper to the depth of the cloth backing on the soft pad.  If there’s more, you’ll see it when you peel off the paper; then you simply let it sit a while and excess solvent evaporates.

McDing has a good idea too, to use heat to soften the adhesive.  I’ve had sandpaper fly off the soft pad when it’s overheated, b/c I had moved the rack a good ways out in the yard so that dust wouldn’t get in my house.  Solution: don’t sand hotcoats in the (Hawaii) sun.

Yep, been there and done that.