I recently bought a belt sander and noticed that while using it stationary it can get clogged (on a certain region) real fast.

The sharpness of the area is not lost but it's just clogged with wood dust.

What is a proper way to clean it?

  • 3
    Some important related info in this previous Answer. Just like with corning prevention is better than cure — use light pressure for most jobs, pause when the wood gets hot, clean dust off as you go so it doesn't build up (good dust collection is a good start but by no means a complete solution).
    – Graphus
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 12:24
  • i boil the belts in water with bicarbonate of soda cleaned in mins Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 14:45
  • Clogging usually happens on a belt sander. I had this problem, unsuccessfully tried all the usual solutions, and just switched to coarse paper on an orbital sander and I had no clogging issues at all. Definitely worth a try. Since the paper path on an orbital sander is essentially random it just doesn’t seem to clog. The paper path on a belt sander is repetitive and therefore attracts and holds onto lots of stuff
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 14 at 2:26

4 Answers 4


There are special products out there called sanding belt cleaners (one such is harbor freight sku 30766), they're essentially large gum eraser sticks that grab particles out of the sanding belt.

Another avenue to look at is consider why the belt is loading up. Try applying less pressure while sanding, or run a shop vac in one hand and the sander in the other.


I've been using an old sneaker because I saw it recommended repeatedly. Seems to work fine, and doesn't effect the remaining grit so far as I can tell.



In addition to cleaning your belt with a cleaning stick as rockerpult suggested, you should also take a look at the material you're sanding and the belt you're sanding with.

Finishes that form a film on top of the wood (paint, shellac, polyurethane, etc.) often clog sandpaper, so if you're using the sander on a large finished surface, you might want to consider other options (e.g. chemical stripper or scraping) to remove the finish before sanding. Woods that contain a lot of resin or oils can also build up easily. In can help to keep a block of wood that's not prone to clogging on hand, and just run it against the sander when buildup starts.

Switching belts may also help. I find that coarser grits tend to clog less, so take the time to switch to a coarse belt if you're removing a lot of material. Also, some belts are coated with stearate, which is a sort of release agent that prevents clogging; using one of these could help. (Some kinds of stearate don't get along with water-based finishes, though, so read the labels and think ahead.)


I have one of the rubber sanding belt cleaners, but I've found compressed air to be just as effective, and most people would have at least a small air compressor in their shop.

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