Step by Step Guide on How to Clean Skateboard Wheels and Bearings

You will notice after a specific time into skateboarding, that the wheels and bearings of the board start to gather dust and dirt. It is essential to keep your board clean at determined intervals so that they do not turn into trash very soon.

When the dust starts to accumulate on to the wheels or bearings, it might affect the whole ride experience to a certain extent and can even ruin it, if the dirt settled gets out of hand. You might also not be able to show off those remarkable tricks you just learnt, just because you didn’t get the time to clean the board.

how to clean skateboard wheels and bearings

We have prepared a guide and broke in into simple steps for your convenience so you don’t have to worry about how to clean skateboard wheels and bearings.

How to Clean Skateboard Wheels without removing them!

This method is super quick and won’t need a lot of time. You need to get some towels or cloth or a kitchen rag and good quality bearing and wheels lubricant or cleaner to get on with the process.
Such lubricant or cleaner is readily available in the departmental store near you.
The steps are quite simple and won’t hog a lot of your time-

  • Firstly, you need a clean towel or a kitchen rag in your vicinity. Take the towel or rag and start cleaning off the board, wheels and bearing gently to remove the excess dirt out of sight. If the dirt is stuck on the parts badly, then start by spraying some solvent onto the cloth and continue cleaning.
  • After that, you need to take the wheels off the truck and then remove the bearings.
  • Then, you will have to clean the contact patch of the wheels. The contact patch is the part on the wheels that touches the ground while you are riding.
    You can clean it off either by using a wet towel or kitchen rag, or you can spray some cleaner or solvent on the cloth and start cleaning.
  • Keep spinning the wheel so that you wipe out all the dirt completely.
  • After cleaning the wheels, you have to clean the bearing now. For that, you can use a thin cloth or Q-tips for the next part.
  • While spinning the wheel, use the cloth or Q-tip to wipe off the dirt. If it is not coming off the bearing, you can use water to soak the bearing, but it might damage the bearings. You can also use cleaner and spray it in a little amount to, just so the dirt can come out quickly.
  • After wiping off the wheels entirely, make sure to re-lubricate the bearings to get a smooth ride afterwards. P.S.- This method might seem simple and trouble-free, but if you love your board and want a deeper cleansing of it, you should always go for the longer technique to keep them rust-free for a long time.

How to Clean Your Skateboard Wheels Completely

Always start the cleaning process with wiping off excess dirt with the help of a clean cloth or kitchen rag. You can again spray some insolvent onto the fabric if there is extra dirt gathered around the wheels. You might also need some tools in your hand, like a screwdriver or a T-instrument to dismantle the parts easily.

The following steps will help you learn the process quickly-

Removing Wheels

removing wheels

The first step in cleaning the board is removing the wheels. For that, you have to lay the board on its back, so the wheels face upwards. Remove the nuts and bolts attached on the outer side, with the help of a screwdriver or socket wrench. Hold the wheels steady and firm and try to loosen the screws, if they are too tight and then remove them.
Ensure that these parts of the wheels are kept intact at one so that they are not lost and out of your sight.

Removing Wheel bearings

After you have successfully removed the wheels from the board, it is time to remove the bearings as well. Use a truck axle to take them out. Start by inserting the metal rod gently to the first bearing, and when it gets hooked on the bearings, you can pull the wheel top from the skateboard.

Use the above technique to remove the remaining bearings on the other wheels.
Note: Make sure the wheels are removed first, and then start removing the bearings all at once.

Removing embedded materials of skateboard

After removing the wheels as well as the bearings, there must be some leftover materials that have to be removed as well. There must be some nuts and screws in places that need to be removed. While taking out the bearings, a bearing spacer must have come out as well. Keep all such things in one single place or maybe a container so that you don’t lose a component or two while reassembling the board.

Soaking the wheels

In this point, we will discuss on how to clean the skateboard wheels for a better ride later on. After completing the dismantling of the parts of your skateboard, it is now time to start the cleaning process. Start by soaking the wheels in a container of water to remove the excess dirt off them. Keep them soaked for at least ten minutes to help the grime come off quickly, without extra effort.

If there is too much mud on the wheels, you can sock them in a solution of water and solvent instead of just water, to pace up the process.

Keep checking the wheels every once in a while, and if the dirt is not coming off, add more solvent to the mixture until they seem clean to you.

Do not use too much of the solvent in the solution to prevent any possible damage to the wheels.

Wiping Wheels

Once the wheels are completely soaked in the water or the solution for a reasonable period, you will realise on seeing the colour of the water, that it is time to take them out. Once they are out and seem clean to you, start wiping them with a clean and dry towel or a kitchen rag until they are dry.

You can wipe off any excess muck off the wheels by spraying some of the cleaners on the cloth. Spin them repeatedly to see if any part is left out to dry, to avoid any unseen damage to them at later stages.

Removing bearing shields

Bearing shields are the covers present on either side of the rings, which help in preventing the bearings from getting dirty. They are placed outside the ball cage to keep the balls in position. If you have rubber shield, use a paper clip and poke the inner lining of the shield to pull it out. If you have a metal shield, you can use a thumbtack to pry out the shield lining. Once it comes out, tap the bearing, and the shield will come off quickly. Store them all at one place to avoid any loss of components.

There is some bearing shield that does not come out, and you can’t do much about it, so clean the whole bearing as it is.

Soaking and lubricating bearings

Next step is to remove all the dirt and grease on the bearing. Once you have taken out the shield and the ball caps, soak them in the mixture of water and solvent, just like the solution used while cleaning the wheels. Using water is optional here, as concentrated solvents would clean better than being diluted.

Use methylated spirit for this purpose, or you can soak the bearings in alcohol-based cleaners or the bearing cleaner solvent, available in the supermarket near you.
You can also hose down the bearing from inside with such cleaners to discharge all the grease and dirt accumulated inside them.

Soak all the bearings in the mixture for at least ten minutes in a closed jar and shake the jar to remove any excess dirt.
One technique on how to clean skateboard bearings at home to remove any excess filth is to use a citrus-based cleaner. You can add citrus fluids in the water or the solvent and spray it profusely onto the bearing, and you will see the fantastic results unfold in front of your eyes.

After the cleansing session, you have to make sure to dry them out completely. You can either keep them out to dry in the sun, or you can use a dry cloth or rag to wipe them. If you want to speed up this process, you can also use a blow dryer or a compressed hair camp for the same.

It is now time to re-lubricate them for a better, cleaner and a smoother ride. Use skate bearing oils or sewing kit oils or any electronic oils to grease them. Make sure that the oil is spread out evenly on all the bearings and wipe out any excess oil left in them with a cloth.

Reapplying bearing seals

Once the cleaning process is done, it is now time to reassemble the bearing seals back into their places. You have to be very careful while placing them back in their original form. Place the ball caps back in the bearing in equal gaps and then place the middle part, holding them, with precision. Once they are placed, put back the bearing shield onto them with some pressure to avoid any problems. Make sure that the seal between the bearing shield and bearing has no gaps as that can cause trouble while you are riding.

How to Reassemble Skateboard bearings

After reattaching the bearing seals, you now have to assemble the bearings back to the skateboard the way they were. The way you snapped them out of the wheel to clean them all, just like that you have to insert them back into the wheels.

Place them into the wheels and push the bearings firmly into them as far as possible and make sure they are correctly placed inside the wheels firmly.

Reattaching the wheels

Now, it is time to reattach the wheels back on the board. After successfully attaching the bearings, we will soon learn to put the wheels back onto the board. , glide the wheels back on the truck axle one after another and then take out those axle nuts that you had stored safely. Pop in those nuts securely and firmly to the outer side of the wheel with the help of socket wrench or screwdriver and see then rattle slightly.

You have now completed the whole process of how to clean the skateboard wheels.

Products being used for skateboard cleaning

There are certain products that should be used to clean the skateboards in a better way.
The skateboard bearings can be cleaned using acetone or a grease cleaning solvent like Simple Green or Krud Kutter or Spray Nine degreasers.

The wheels can be cleaned with the help of acetone-based cleaners or dishwasher soaps like dawn dish soap or method dish soap as they can clean oil and grease better than water. You can also use a wet towel or rag to clean off the dirt or hot soapy water to clean them easily.

Things to keep in mind while cleaning your skateboard wheels and bearings

There are certain things to keep in mind while cleaning the skateboard wheels and bearings. A pro tip before starting the whole process is always to wear protective gloves to avoid any skin allergies.

  • You should be careful while dismantling the wheels and bearings out of the skateboard.
  • The wheels should not be cleaned with tough solutions or solvents as it can severely damage the contact patch and can even ruin the wheels and you will have to replace them afterwards.
  • You have to make sure that the wheels and bearings are completely dry before re-lubricating them, as they can interfere with the riding in a certain way that you might need to replace them. Even a little water can increase the rusting process in bearing to a great level.
  • While reassembling the bearings, make sure you place them correctly and firmly to prevent further damage. If not set successfully, they can result in ride malfunction, hurting the user.

Wrap Up

You should always, always maintain the cleanliness of your skateboards or longboards so that they can be as good as new for a longer period. We have discussed all the points related on how to clean dirty skateboard wheels, even the best ways to clean skateboard wheels and hope that this article will help you in the same.
Do not wait for another time and go clean that skateboard of yours!

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