How to Clean Skateboard Bearings With Household Items

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Maintaining skateboard bearings is much easier than it sounds. In fact, you can clean skateboard bearings using simple and common household items lying around your home. Not only that, you will also be astounded by the number of alternative cleaning agents you can use that are far cheaper and safer for the environment.

Skateboard on the gutter

Before the cleaning process, make sure that you are well adverse with disassembling and reassembling your skateboard, wheels, shields, and bearings. Knowing this process will allow you to clean your bearings at home. If you are not knowledgeable about the process, ask help from a professional.

Things You Need to Clean Skateboard Bearings

Cleaning skateboard bearings are convenient especially when you know what kind of household items you will be using. While cleaning projects such as this can boost one’s creativity when it comes to looking for the proper items to use, having the accurate and exact household items will help smoothen the cleaning procedure.

Securing the household items is quite easy especially if you are familiar with your household’s organization system. Here’s a list of the things you need to clean your grimy skateboard bearings. Note, they are commonly found somewhere in the kitchen, trash drawers, garage, and tool cabinets:

  • Socket wrench – for disassembling and assembling skateboard wheels.
  • Paper clip or safety pin – for prying with bearing’s seal.
  • Hair dryer – for speed drying the bearing after cleaning.
  • Machine oil used in gadget or sewing machines – for the bearing’s lubrication.
  • Diesel, acetone, alcohol, or other circus cleaning agents – for dissolving the dirt and cleaning the skateboard bearing.
  • Dishwashing soap – for removing strong cleaning agents.
  • Water – mixed with dishwashing soap for removing strong cleaning agents.
  • Empty jar with lid – used as a container to soak the bearing using cleaning agents.
  • Dry and clean towel or rag – for removal of dust and dirt before cleaning as well as drying the bearing after.
  • Hair dryer – for better drying process.

How to Clean Skateboard Bearings Using Common Household Items

The first thing to know about cleaning skateboard bearings is to carefully follow the steps and instructions given. Understanding the cleaning procedure is vital in order to maintain the skateboard bearings and not accidentally ruin it during the process. Here’s the step by step procedure in cleaning dirty bearings using household items:

Remove the Skateboard Wheels

The first step is to remove the skateboard wheels in order to get the bearings placed on each side of the wheels. You can use a socket wrench to loosen the axle nuts attached to the screws. After removing the socket wrench you can now proceed to remove the screws and axle washers.

Finally, place them in a safe place for reassembling after you are done cleaning.

Remove the Bearings From the Wheels

There are two bearings placed on each side of skateboard wheels. Make sure to remove them all by carefully inserting the tip of the truck axle into the bearing and pulling it out. Also, handle the removal of the bearing cautiously as force will tend to damage or break the bearings especially during the pulling process.

Remove the Shields

There are two types of skateboard shield, the older models and new ones. The older models are made of metal secured with snap rings or circlips, while the new models are usually made of rubber or nylon. With that in mind, there are also different ways to remove the shield based on their models or types.

Skateboard with style leaning on the wall

If you have the older models which are made of metal, you can use a safety pin or a paperclip and find one of the circlip or snap ring’s end located in the outer side of the shield. Lift it up and remove it. After that, you can remove the shield in the bearing at ease.

If you have the new models which are made of either nylon or rubber, you can use a safety pin or a paperclip to pry out the shield from the bearing. Remember to be careful as shields that are made of materials such as nylon and rubber tend to be prone to breakage if mishandled. Make sure to remove the shield with care to avoid damage.

Clean the Bearings

There are a lot of cleaning agents that you can use to clean bearings. Before soaking them into one, make sure to clean the oil and dirt in the bearings using a dry cloth or towel to help with the cleaning process. This process can also apply in cleaning your dirt bike air filter.

Here are some of the cleaning agents you can use:

  • Acetone – Acetone is the most commonly used in cleaning bearings.
  • Diesel  – Diesel removes rust and prevents rust and oil buildup which can be great for cleaning skateboard bearings.
  • Alcohol – 90% isopropyl alcohol can be an acetone alternative since it evaporates quickly and prevents rusting in bearings. This can also help to regain the shine and clean your safety razor.
  • Citrus cleaner – You can also use citrus cleaner for bearings, just make sure to use the non-water based ones to prevent rusting.
  • Lemon juice – lemon juice can be a good alternative to citrus cleaners as long as you avoid using water to add into the solution. This is helpful in cleaning your musical instruments like cleaning your cymbals, as well as cleaning your drum heads and other instruments.

Soaking your bearings into your preferred cleaning solution for about 5 to 7 minutes enclosed in a jar. Using a jar will prevent the bearings from rusting as well as to help the cleaning agents amplify their effects. After that, you can start removing them one by one when the dirt and oil dissolved.

Remove the Cleaning Agent’s Residue

After removing them from the soaking and cleaning process, you have to remove the cleaning agent’s residue in the bearings. This is applicable for cleaning agents like diesel and machine oils which are hard to remove using dry cloth. You can use dishwashing liquid or soap for residue removal and rinse it with running water thoroughly.

Now, using water can cause rust in bearings which will eventually cause deterioration, leaving the bearings useless over time. Thus, you have to rinse them using a bit of alcohol or acetone after rinsing. Alcohol and acetone are water-based spirits that can evaporate instantly which will prevent the rust build up.

Pat and Dry

After the cleaning process, you have to dry the bearings to prevent it from building dirt and rust. Also, this pat and dry process in order to prepare the bearings for the next vital process which is lubrication. You can use a dry cloth to pat the bearings until it dries and you can also use a hair dryer to make sure that the bearings are thoroughly dried.

Put Lubrication

The next vital step before reassembling your clean skateboard bearings back to your skateboard wheels would be lubrication. Lubrication is important in skateboard bearings in order to maintain their lifespan and performance. It helps with separating the moving parts of the bearings to one another that prevents possible damage and tear due to friction.

You can use machine oil for gadgets and sewing machines to lubricate your bearings. If you are looking for a household alternative, coconut oil can also be used for lubrication. You can also use motor oil or cooking oil if you do not have anything you can use for lubrication in your household.

These oil alternatives can also be used to clean your bike chains for lubrication.

Reassemble the Skateboard Bearing and Wheels

After lubrication, you can now reassemble your skateboard bearings and wheels together. Before putting back the disassembled pieces of your skateboard, make sure to clean them thoroughly using a dry cloth. Afterwards, you can carefully put back the small and sensitive parts to avoid damage.

Man holding a skateboard and coffee

Important Tips and Reminders

Aside from learning how to clean your own skateboard bearings, it is also crucial to understand how important they are in your skateboard’s performance and how to properly take care of your bearings while using them. Here are some vital tips and reminders about the importance of skateboard bearings and skateboard maintenance:

  • The main function of skateboard bearings is to allow your wheels to roll. Thus, bearing is an important part in your skateboard’s all-over function and performance.
  • The condition of your skateboard bearings will determine how fast and smooth your skateboard can go which is why you need to maintain your skateboard bearing through proper cleaning and lubrication to improve your skateboard’s speed and performance.
  • A skateboard bearings have 5 major parts: the shield, inner race, balls, retainer, and outer race.
  • There are two types of bearings, the steel ones and the ceramic ones. The steel ones have steel balls inside them, while the ceramic ones have ceramic balls inside. The ceramic ones are more durable and faster than steel ones.
  • Choosing your bearings are crucial in order to control the speed of your skateboard. For instance, beginners can use typical and cheap bearings than high-quality ones since the latter have more speed and power than can be hard for beginners to handle.

Conclusion

Cleaning skateboard bearings with household items is easy as long as you know how to assemble and reassemble your skateboard parts. You can soak your bearings using common cleaning agents in the household like alcohol and acetone. After drying and lubricating, your bearings are now ready for reassembling and use.