August 23, 2012

Cleaning Your Sanding Belts

Is it worth it to clean your sanding belts?

It depends. How much has the material loaded the sanding belt while it is still sharp?

Cleaning sanding belts can be worth your time if they have prematurely loaded while sanding something soft—like pine wood or a non-ferrous metal like aluminum or brass. Once you have cleaned the belt out, there is usually enough sharp abrasive material left that it will still perform well.

Attempting to clean an abrasive belt that was used to finish hardwoods or sand harder ferrous metals like steel doesn’t make much sense. At the point they load the sanding belt, the life of the abrasive grain has been diminished and it will not be sharp enough to continue effective sanding anyway.

If you decide that cleaning your sanding belts is worth trying out, there are two options you should consider:
  1. Next time you purchase the smaller sanding belts for a soft wood application, ask about ordering a belt cleaning stick. These handheld erasers can easily clean away wood particles and resin on cloth backed abrasives. No solutions needed, simply hold the stick firmly against the moving belt or disc.
  2. If you are interested in cleaning wide belts or belts used for metal finishing, you will need to look into the option of pressure washing them and possibly using some sort washing solution or chemical cleaner. We have heard of cabinet shops using a non-toxic, environmentally safe product called Simple Green. Just make sure that you are ordering a sanding belt with a 100% poly backing so that it is 100% waterproof—you don’t want a poly cotton blend backing or your belt could stretch and lose its shape. Always clean while the belt is standing up (not lying flat) and let dry for a minimum of two days before reusing them.

    Questions? Just give us a call at 800-814-7358. You can have sanding belts made in any material, any size and any grit from Abrasive Resource!

Basic Sanders

The basic styles of portable sanders haven’t changed very much over the years. We have some old advertising posters from the Rockwell Manuf...