People who skateboard know that after a few months, they can’t ride their skateboards as well. That’s because the wheels and bearings need to be cleaned.
Once the wheels and bearings are dirty, the wheels don’t roll as smoothly, which makes riding more difficult. Here is a simple method on how to clean skateboard bearings with household items.
When and Why Bearings Need Cleaning?
When you notice that your bearings aren’t rolling as smoothly as they used to, it is a good time to clean them.
In the case of bearings that are already making noise and not rolling smoothly, it will be more difficult to clean them since they are probably too dirty. It might be necessary to use special equipment to clean the bearings if they are too dirty.
Materials Needed to Recondition Bearings
- Paper towel or rag (to remove excess dirt)
- Dish soap (any kind will do)
- You will need a container big enough to hold your skateboard wheels (or something you can dip them into)
- Nail Polish Remover
- Baking Soda)
Proper Procedure to Clean Bearings with Household Items
In order to remove the bearings, you must first unscrew the axle nut with a skate tool or socket wrench. It will be difficult to remove the bearings without a skate tool.
After unscrewing the axle nut, there is a washer on both sides of the bearing. Take them off, too. You should be able to slide the bearings from the wheel after removing those washers.
Keep all these pieces together so they don’t get lost. Put your old wheels and dirty bearings aside for now.
To clean your bearings, use a razor blade, a small knife safety pin, or something small and sharp. Be careful with this part because you don’t want to damage your bearings by scratching the metal too much.
You can use a Dremel tool or drill with a wire brush bit to remove stubborn grime.
After removing the bearings from the shields, soak them in a cleaning solution. To clean these components, use ceramic or metal containers.
Add a few drops of dish soap to the container before adding the bearing to help lubricate it.
While underwater, spin each bearing between your fingers after soaking it for about 10 minutes. A properly cleaned bearing will spin smoothly and require very little effort to spin.
If the bearing is still not working properly, remove it from the solution and repeat this step.
After soaking your bearings in a cleaning solution, it is time to dry them off. Place each bearing part on its own paper towel or rag on a drying rack.
Let all parts of each bearing completely dry before reassembling them into new wheels or putting them back into your skateboard.
Lubricating bearings can make them roll smoother and last longer, but this will make it harder to clean the bearings if they get dirty again.
Putting a few drops of lube inside each one before reassembly makes cleaning them unnecessarily in some cases.
If you do not want to use lubricant, then don’t worry about it because even without putting any lubricant on your bearings, they are still better than the ones that came with your skates when you first bought them.
Make sure to remove all screws from the outside of the wheels before placing them into a container large enough to contain skateboard wheels (or something you can hold onto and dip your wheels into).
It is important to remove all screws because if you don’t, the screw will scratch the inside of your container and cause it to be damaged.
Some bearings come with rubber o-rings placed around them to keep the grease in place better. They are usually called “Speed Creams”.
Sometimes they fall off so make sure to check if yours has them before throwing away your old bearings. If it does have one, you can either leave it on or put it back on when you reassemble your bearings into new wheels.
Make sure no dirt or grime gets into the inner workings of the bearing. You should be careful about how well your wheel spins later on down the line if you have dirt on it. If you fail to maintain your bearings, eventually they will stop running smoothly and you will need to replace them.
After your bearings have been cleaned and dried, reassemble them back into each wheel. Put the bearing back into the wheel half it came out of, take one washer and place it between the metal shield and another washer before screwing all four screws back in place tightly.
Now you should be ready to skate again!
One of the most common issues with skateboard bearings is dust and dirt buildup. This can cause a lot of challenges when it comes to rolling downhill or even going up hills, which in turn slows down your speed significantly.
If you find that this is happening to you, read the complete article on how to clean skateboard bearings with household items.