Cleaning Sander Belts

Shop owners share their methods for cleaning wide-belt sander belts. November 14, 2009

Iím looking for a wide belt cleaner that has mount rubber cleaners to a panel to run through the wide belt sander. Can anyone help me?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor K:
There are some suppliers that offer spray type belt cleaners. We have always sold the eraser type hand-held rubberized belt cleaners. They are easy to use and effective.

From contributor J:
To contributor K: how do you use them for a widebelt?

From contributor I:
Many cloth backed belts can be pressure washed. I had a customer that did this and bought one belt a year. Check with your supplier.

From the original questioner:
Does the 15x20 come in any larger size?

From contributor L:
I didn't think you were supposed to use the "sticks" on widebelts either. I happened to stumble on one I got years ago in the shop yesterday, and the sticker on it says "Not for use on widebelt type machinery". Do people use them anyway? My abrasive supplier suggested Reuzit Abrasive Cleaning Concrete.

From contributor S:
Not for the faint of heart, but I used the rubber stick on my widebelt by dropping the table all the way, ensuring the feed belt was off, and sticking my hand in through the outfeed side while the belt was running. You want to be sure you think the whole thing through, and hold yourself and manage your movement so that if anything grabs or screws up you don't get "drawn in", so to speak. That pad looks like a better idea.

From contributor G:
Use one of those abrasive belt cleaners on a wide belt and make sure someone ties a rope to your belt loop just in case. I have seen many "chemical washes" for wide cloth belts over the years. Without fail an end user saw it at a trade show, bought it, used it several times and got tired of scrubbing their abrasives. Is there something on the market that works? There has to be but I have not seen it.

From contributor F:
Simple Green - I swear we could not function in our shop without this stuff. Use only on cloth backed belts or the substrate swells. Spray on the belt (a garden pump type sprayer works really well here) and let it sit out of the sun for an hour or so. Then just scrub them down with a good bristle or plastic brush and rinse. Pressure washing with a wide angle tip works well to and is better for large numbers of belts.

A few warnings: don't lay the belts flat on the ground. We use a jig that we made with PVC pipe that is close to the diameter of the drive belt on the sander and Azak (PVC boards) for the face. We just slip the belt on, spray the Simple Green and then lay it on edge on a piece of plywood. Once we get all the belts sprayed we rotate through all the belts on the jig again to scrub them and spray them off. Even the worst pitch burns come off with ease. Stand them on edge again and let them drain. Switch them to the other edge after an hour or so to eliminate water on the lower edge. Let dry for a day or two before use. This saves us hundreds of dollars in solvent cleaners and thousands in belts every year. I use it for blades and cutters too - incredible. Just dry well and rub down with a cloth that is a little oily to store.