Just like every other wheel that hits concrete roads, skateboards also get dirty. When this happens, some elbow grease is required to properly clean a skateboard you have used. When you push your board on a ramp or street, you’ll often slide on random objects many of which you will not see as you skateboard. While there is no benefit to you worrying about the dirt accumulating underneath your board, knowing how to clean a skateboard you use often can keep some of that dirt from affecting the performance of your skateboard.
There are certain areas of particular concern for a street skateboarder, these basically include the deck, the trucks and bearings. Of the three, cleaning the deck is often the least priority. Whatever skateboarding skills you have mastered is often signified by the scuffs and marks as a badge of honour.
To get the skateboard up to speed as quickly as possible, the bearings and to a lesser extent the trucks usually need more cleaning and maintenance.
The level of maintenance you do on your skateboards is not something you need to worry about very often. However, if you are observant then you’ll be quick to notice any irregularities with your board. For example, if you can feel that you are not rolling as fast as you usually do or if you have to push too often – then following these steps will restore the speed back to your board.
It is handy to remember that the grime inside bearings wears them down, and to ensure you get the optimal use out of them they last for a period of the time they could have if you’d kept up with them.
Cleaning a Skateboard Bearing
It is better to clean your skateboard bearings outside your home. This is because the amount of gunk under your skateboard might let out an almighty stink indoors. Before giving it a go, try spinning your bearings between your fingers and pay attention to how they roll. After doing this, the bearings will roll more freely allowing you easy access to clean them.
Paper towels or old newspapers should be laid on your work surface and if your skateboard bearings have removable shields, remove them.
The next step should be taking any old cup you have indoors and holding it sideways, with a slight tip upward. You then need to spray some WD-40 silicone lubricant into the cup until it pools at the bottom. A lot of lubricants should be applied. All eight of your bearings should then be placed in the liquid once the puddle is sufficiently deep.
A paper coffee cup actually works great for stuff like this, but plastic is okay. However, Styrofoam shouldn’t be used. The bearings should be swirled around in the liquid lubricant, then leave them to sit for up to an hour. The skateboard bearing should be swirled around again on returning.
Should the liquid be black, pour it off and repeat the process with fresh lubricant.
The favourite lubricant used by many-a-skateboarder is WD-40 because it remains in its liquid state and can be reused from the last cleaning session and it leaves only a light film behind. This style of cleaning should be maintained until the WD-40 remains relatively clear, then pour it off one last time.
The bearings should then be poured out onto a paper towel. You also use another towel to pick them up one at a time and use the clean towel to wipe them off, making sure to get into all their little crevices. Ensure you spin the bearings between your fingers to remove any excess lubricant so it doesn’t drip all over your wheels.
Thereafter, a few extra lubricant drops could be applied to each bearing, spinning them for good measure after each application.
Cleaning the Deck
Your skateboard can be sprayed with some good basic window cleaner ideal for removing dirt and grime. This can be done rather liberally.
Start by grabbing an old toothbrush or cloth and rub the window cleaner into the board in a circular motion. The rationale behind this is to remove every single ounce of dirt that can be seen off of the deck of your skateboard. The plan when you are done is to see a striking resemblance between your clean skateboard and the new one you got a while back.
Once you have rubbed the majority of the window cleaner onto the deck of your skateboard, try looking for any pools of extra window cleaner and wipe them clean using either a piece of cloth or a towel. Once your board has completely dried you are well on your way back to getting on the street and showing off your skateboarding tricks and tips.
Truck Cleaning is also important as it will help ensure your skateboard trucks last longer, operate smoother and roll quieter. When cleaning the skateboard, you can leave your base plates on the board, and simply remove the kingpin nut from the kingpin. Once that’s done, you should remove the hanger from the baseplate and take out all the bushings. There’s are a number of youtube videos available that show you how to do this.
If you notice that they have cracked or split, you really should consider replacing them. You can also spray a bit of WD-40 on a paper towel and wipe away any grime. If you had squeaky trucks before, this will quiet them temporarily. Some skateboard wax could also be used to stop the squeaks permanently.
Once that’s done, a paper towel should be used to clean off the axles, which often get really dirty as well.
All you have left to do is to reassemble the skateboard and go skate.
Your board would be faster than before so you have to be very careful. Over lubricating, the bearings on your skateboard can lead to oily, dangerous wheels.
The Roll Away
When the bearings are clean they become fast. Most times, skateboarders who are just learning will think their bearings are shot when some good old cleaning and lubricating will fix them right up. At the very least, try cleaning the bearing before tossing it.
If your skateboard has been left unused for a long time and dust has settled on it, this detailed guide will show you how much grip tape you need for your skateboard.
Cleaning the grip tape
However, if you would rather not purchasing new grip tape, the best way to extend the life of your grip-tape is to clean the tape, this will keep it in good nick and allow it to stick onto the board. Changing a grip tape is a long task, so keeping your grip-tape safe and in good condition is very important.
What is needed to clean a grip tape
Three main items would be needed to get a good cleansing of your board.
- The first is skateboard grip gum which would be used to get a lot of gunk from your board.
- The second is a soft wire brush which would intensify the cleaning of dirt from your board.
- A cloth which is the last item would be needed to dry off any form of liquid so as not to get to the deck.
How to Clean Grip Tape
The grip gum should be used to remove as much dirt as possible. The grip gum should be firmly rubbed on the grip tape in order to remove stuck items.
The soft wire brush is designed to get all the gunk off your grip tape. This is done by using a bowl of water with the soft wire brush soaked in water and placing it on to your grip tape.
Carefully rub your soft wire toothbrush over the grip tape with the water to clean all the gunk and dirt off the grip tape, which will help extend the life of your grip tape.
Repeating the steps over again will help get any lurking gunk off your grip tape. Ensure the grip tape is dried with the cloth so the water doesn’t start to sink into the board.
Cleaning The Wheels
Soaking the skateboard wheels in hot soapy water for a few minutes and scrubbing them is arguably the best way to clean the wheels of a skateboard.
Using a wire brush or toothbrush to scrub the contact patch, the side walls where the graphics usually are, and the bearing seats are better. A rag can equally be used to scrub them. The brush can enter every nook of the bearing seats. So using it can guarantee a good job. The wheels cannot be damaged by the soft bristles on your wire brush as skateboard wheels are hard to scratch.
The contact patch should be cleaned completely. The contact patch on your skateboard is the most important part to clean because it will make your wheels roll better.
It is most likely that the bearing seats will probably have dirty bearing grease in them. Things like Wax or sticky substances could stain the wheels when riding. For instance, a skater might ride over a spilt yoghurt. Hot boiled water will help make these hard-to-remove substances come off easier.
When using a hard wire brush to remove dirt on your wheels, you need to be very careful to avoid scratching off the paint except you wanted the paint scratched off in the first place.
The wheels should be properly dried. Using a dry towel to wipe off chemical substances works to great effect.
Using Household Products to Clean A Skateboard wheels
The wheels of a skateboard roll on the ground so they are bound to get dirty. It is inevitable. Varieties of issues or problems arise with the wheels, while you can fix some you can’t fix some. Most times when the wheels of a skateboard turn yellow it’s just better to buy new skateboard wheels. However, you can always clean your wheels and make them look much better.
How to Clean Skateboard Wheels Without Removing Them
When you intend to clean your wheels, you should take them off the trucks and remove the bearings. The contact patch which generally touches the ground should be carefully cleaned with a wet rag or napkin which would make them roll better, but you might get water in your bearings which can damage them. The rag should be used and spin the wheel to clean it. Use a dry rag to clean the wet surface.
When you want to clean the bearings, spinning the wheel while inserting a q-tip works well. Too much of the bearing oil should not be removed and make sure to re-lubricate your bearings with skate oil like Bones Speed Cream.
The Complete Method of cleaning a skateboard
The wheels and bearing need to be removed so as to clean a skateboard wheel properly. Dish soap should be used when soaking them in hot water, after which you scrub them and you let them dry.
Removing The Wheels
An all-in-one skateboard tool or a wrench can be used to remove the wheels and unscrew the 4 wheel nuts on the axle. You should also ensure that the tiny wheel spacers are not lost in the process.
Removing The Bearings
These few steps should be followed when you want to remove the bearings.
- Grab the wheel firmly with your palms to expose the bearing.
- The wheel and the bearing should be inserted back into the truck axle gently.
- The wheel should be flipped on both sides to remove both bearings.
Products which can be used to clean skateboard wheels
- The Dawn dish soap rather than the hand soap can be used because Dawn can be used to clean oil and grease, not just dirt.
- Do not use WD-40 to clean your wheels because it leaves a residue behind that can collect dirt. Things like this that leave traces behind or even soaps with lotions can leave the wheels feeling soft. The wheels will be fine.
- Some heavy-duty hand cleaners like this one from Briggs and Stratton can be used effectively because it removes grease. Your hands should be washed and rinsed off in some warm water. Do this until they are very clean.
Reassembling your Skateboard
Your bearings should be pushed back into the wheel by putting the bearing on the axle followed by the wheel then push down on the wheel. The wheel should be flipped over and push in the other bearing.
A spacer should be put on, then the wheel, then the other spacer and screw the nut back on.
A little wiggle room for the wheel should be left at least (1mm) and make sure your bearing spins freely. Try to press the wheel in all different directions if it doesn’t go in all the way.
Once done, your skateboard will look and feel as good as new.