If you ride your skateboard daily, you will inevitably notice after a while that it loses its speed and rides not as smoothly as the day you bought it. Most of the time, this issue is related to the dirty bearings that need cleaning and lubrication. While being almost invisible, the tiny bearings are a crucial part of your riding tool, as they support the wheels while they roll. If they accumulate dirt and dust, they start to perform with difficulty, affecting your riding experience. Here is an article on how to clean skateboard bearings with household items.
How to remove dust and dirt from skateboard bearings?
Dirt stuck in bearings is the worst nightmare of every skateboard rider. It compromises the smooth work of bearings, making them support the wheels poorly and cause them roll slower than usual. What you have to do if you notice your skateboard being suspiciously slow is to disassemble it and heal the wheels. You will have both to clean and lubricate the bearings to make sure they return to their glory days performance.
How to clean the bearings? First of all, take the board apart, removing the wheels first, then extracting the bearing from each wheel. A nice tip is provided by RepublicOfSkaters that recommends to wipe down first the bearings with a dry cloth to remove the layers of surface dust and debris. It will make further cleaning significantly easier.
Now that you got all superficial dirt off the parts, half-fill a jar with acetone and place the bearings in it. Acetone does a great job of releasing dirt and grease from bearings. Moreover, it dries out fast, which makes it a favorite among skateboarders. Let the acetone do its job for at least 5 minutes. If it’s a long time since you last cleaned your board wheels, you are good to leave the bearings soak for longer to get rid of stubborn grime. For better effect, place the lid on the jar and shake to force more dirt out. Metal bearings can damage the jar if you shake hard, so be gentle.
You can use other products to clean the skateboard bearings. You can soak them in citrus cleaner or, if your car runs on diesel, in this substance. Speaking of citrus cleaner, you can find it in stores or make it by yourself. However, homemade citrus cleaner takes time to prepare, so you will have to make it in advance. Put lemon peels in a bottle and fill it up with white vinegar. After a few weeks of sitting, the solution is ready.
How to remove rust from skateboard bearings?
Another culprit that makes the bearings spin slower is rust. If you notice traces of dust on the bearings, clean them up first, then proceed with rust removal. Place the parts in a bowl filled with white vinegar, or other highly acid substance, and allow it several hours to release the rust. Take a look at the bearings from time to time to track how much rust has been dissolved.
Once you see that the parts are completely clean, take them out of the bowl and air dry them before reassembling them. If the rust is old and not all of it comes off after a couple of hours, take a toothbrush and scrub the brownish spots off. Vinegar in combination with increased friction should help remove even the most stubborn rust. If your bearings are full of rust up to not spinning at all, you are best off to replace them.
How to lubricate skateboard bearings?
Once you have learned how to clean skateboard bearings with household items, it’s time to learn how to lubricate them. Lubricating the bearings with household items is quiet tricky. Not all oils and products with lubricating properties you find at home can provide a proper lubrication to your tool. If you don’t want to get your bearings upset, invest in a specialized lubricant that will make sure your board rides as fast, evenly and smoothly as it did before.
The safest options are skate bearings lubes, like speed cream, and engine grease with high thickness. Also, Machine Wave Magazine recommends to use sewing machine lubricant or oil for electronic devices. Both are meant to provide a smooth ride to your board and offer long-lasting protection to bearings. By all means avoid WD-40, kitchen oil and petroleum jelly, as they will only make things worse for your bearings operation.
How to prolong the lifespan of skateboard bearings?
1. Do not ride on sand and dirt
To make your bearings last longer, you have to keep them away from dirt. Dirt stuck in-between bearing balls increase drastically their friction, causing extreme tension that speeds up the wear and tear. That’s why, try to avoid sandy and dusty places when riding your skateboard.
2. Avoid water
Skating through a puddle at high speed may create a stunning splashing visual effect. However, you are better off to avoid riding through water, as it can deposit on the bearings and cause rust later. For the same reason, never use water to lubricate or clean the bearings.
3. Invest in top-quality bearings
Low-quality bearings wear out fast even if you ride on dirt-free asphalt and don’t put much pressure on the wheels. If you want your board to last longer, RedBull experts suggest you to equip it with high-quality bearings. While they are pricier, they compensate it with better durability and resistance to elements. They last longer without maintenance, yet it shouldn’t be an excuse for you not to clean and lubricate them on time.
Finding an answer to “how to clean skateboard bearings with household items?” is not difficult. It’s much harder to perform the cleaning and lubrication of the bearings. You must disassemble and assemble the wheels correctly and use proper products to make sure you fix the parts without causing more damage. It is a meticulous and time-consuming task, so make patience your best friend and allow a couple of hours of your life to give your skateboard the care it deserves.