Your skateboard is a mechanical tool that it needs good maintenance and cleaning, at least once every 2-3 months. And no, its not ok just to wash your board with water and soap. Water is bad for the bearings, the skateboard deck, the trucks and bolts.
It might seem like an unnecessary task but a little loving care will have your skateboard looking almost brand new. Want to know how to clean your skateboard, read this short and easy guide
What you will need
First off, get a hold of all the materials in order to begin the process. You will use the following to clean your skateboard?:
- Your skateboard
- Skate tool (or a wrench and wrench bits)
- Paper towels
- A bowl
- A dishcloth
- Nonalcohol cleaner (acetone or isopropyl alcohol)
- Bearing lubricant
- Razorblade (or something sharp)
How to Clean Skateboard Bearings
Clean bearings are essential both in skateboard, cruising and longboarding. As the bearings are the same for all, so is the cleaning proces. Cleaning the bearings has almost zero esthetic effect, but it ads a whole lot of good and smooth speed to your board.
Hence we begin at the beginning, it is time to grab your wrench and remove the bolts that fasten the wheels to the bench so that you can take the wheels off of the skateboard. Now on to a slightly trickier task, housed inside the wheel are a little contraption known as bearings, you need to remove these from your wheels with a wrench as well.
The Quick Fix
You smear a little bit of lubricant on the outside of each bearing while spinning. The inside of the bearings gets fresh oil, easing the friction between the wheels and trucks. But this is not a permanent solution as your bearings need thorough cleaning every once in a while. The quick fix is utterly just that, as it does not remove the problem, which is filth and dirt.
Once you have managed to remove all of the bearings from the wheels, gather all the wheels together into a heap on one side of your work area and the bearings on another so that way you can be sure not to lose any of the pieces.
The Best Fix
You will need the razorblade and a steady hand. Remove the bearing shields by gently pressing the razor blade in between the shield and the bearing. Squeeze the shield out of the. Be careful not to hurt yourself or damage the bearing. Also, try not to damage the bearing shield – if the shield is bend, it can cause more friction on the ball bearings when you put the shield back on.
With the bearing shield removed from the bearings, its time to clean the bearings and the bearing balls with the nonalcohol cleaner.
When using strong chemicals, wear gloves and avoid contact with your skin. Dont inhale the fumes, make shure you have proper ventilation, or do it outside.
Use a small bowl as a container and put a little cleaner in it. Then put the bearings in the bowl and let them soak for a couple of minutes. Give the bearings a swirl in the bowl, and if they are really dirty, use some cloth to clean it out.
Take out the bearings, and let them dry (if you are in a hurry, use a hairdryer). Then re-lube the bearings by adding 1-2 drops of lubricant on the inside of the bearings. Give the bearings a spin, and place the bearing shields back on. Just lay the shield over the bearing in the correct position and apply pressure.
How to Clean Skateboard Wheels
Cleaning skateboard wheels is way easier than cleaning the bearings. You basiccaly just wash them the same way you wash you dirty dishes. Fill up a bowl with water, add a little soap and clean the wheels with a brush or sponge. Dont let them soak, but you can take your time. When the wheels are properly cleaned wash them in clean water, as the soap can make the wheels slippery. After they have been rinsed with clean water, let them dry. Make sure that they are completely dry before assembling, as water can cause rust on the bearings.
How to Clean Skateboard Trucks and the Kingpin
Skateboard trucks can require a lot of cleaning, but more importantly, it’s really useful to evaluate whether your trucks have been adjusted correctly, as this affects the general stability of your skateboard. If the kingpin is not tight enough then it will wobble continually underneath you as you move. If you are new to skateboarding then may we suggest making your screw slightly tighter than you may want to as this will give you a better grip while out on the ramps.
Follow these steps in order to disassemble and clean your skateboard trucks. Remove the kingpin nut (the truck will fall apart when removed, don’t worry). Remove larger chunks of dirt, dust, and rust. Then clean all the parts, just like you clean skateboard wheels. Scrub the trucks in water with soap, and rinse in clean water. Replace the nuts, bolts, bushings, and washers if necessary, and check the axle thread for damage.
Then assemble the skateboard truck by putting everything in place and adding the kingpin. Be certain that all the nuts and bolts holding the parts of your skateboard are well fastened, if not grab your wrench and tighten them like a mad dog. Once you’ve done this you may be wanting to take your new wheels out for a spin, however, the upper piece has yet to be washed and therefore you are going to have to hold your horses for just a little bit longer.
How to Clean a Skateboard Deck
Skaters usually never clean the lower side of your skateboard as it’s usually pretty busted from sliding and popping. You can’t really get the bottom side to look clean, and perhaps more importantly patina looks cool.
How to Clean Skateboard Griptape
On the other side (litteraly), nothing beats good and fresh griptape, its really nice! If your skateboard griptape is dirty, do one (or more) of the following:
- Buy new grip tape ($5-$10)
- Clean with “grip gum”
- Clean with a soft wire brush
- Clean a microfiber cloth
Grip Gum is a really good way to clean your griptape. You can buy it in most skate shops, but if they are out of stock you can use rubber cement pickup from your local supply store. Just scrub. Grip Gum will remove the dirt from your grip tape, just scrub Grip Gum across your skateboard using steady strokes. This is not the most effective way, but it is perhaps the easiest.
Alternatively, you can use a soft wire brush or a cloth. Many use a toothbrush or a bristle which may sometimes be sufficient. But often a toothbrush or bristle is not durable enough or scrub hard enough. Gently dip the cloth or wire brush in water, don´t soak. Don´t use a wire brush for clear or colored grip tape. Grip tape with other colors than black uses a colored resin (aluminum oxide) that holds the clear grit in place.
Now you know that it is not okay to just wash your skateboard. You also know what to use to clean a skateboard, how often should you clean your skateboard and how to clean a skateboard. Now its time to skate;)