How To Clean Skateboard Bearings With Household Items The Smart Way
Have you ever wondered how to clean skateboard bearings with household items?
Whether you are a novice or an experienced skateboarder, chances are you will have to clean your bearings at some point. These small cylinders that connect your wheels to the axle are what drive the skateboard forward. If they get dirty, they will not do their function properly.
There are several preparations you need to make to clean skate bearings. Utilizing household materials is a trend these days, and this article will show you how.
When and Why Bearings Need Cleaning?
First of all, you need to know when your bearings need cleaning. Several signs commonly observed of dirty bearings are: the rolling wheel comes to an abrupt halt, the bearings produce screechy sound when you skate, you can hear the sound of the dirt and grim rubbing against the ball, etc.
Skating with dirty bearings is not only frustrating but also dangerous. All this debris from the street would create friction in the inner race. This can shorten the bearings’ lifespan, and worse, can lead to bearings explosion.
Proper Way to Clean Bearings
First and foremost, choose a flat and big enough surface to work on: top of a table, workbench, the floor... To reduce the mess that cleaning might bring about, lay down a paper towel or a used cloth to work on.
To remove the bearings, first, you use a skate tool or socket wrench to unscrew the axle nut. Then use the tip of the axle rod to pry the bearings from the skateboard wheels at a downward angle. Use a rag to wipe the outside of the bearings to get rid of any big particles, dirt, grime.
Next step, use a small knife, razor blade, safety pin, paper clip, or any similar object you can find in your house to remove the shield.
Be careful so as not to bend, break, or tear it. We recommend you not throw away the shield because it helps to prevent larger particles from entering the inner race.
Once you have all the bearings with bearing shields removed, soak them in a cleaning solution. You can use a disposable, ceramic, or metal container for this task.
Be aware that a glass container might break easily, while a plastic one might melt under some chemicals. In addition, you might want to wear gloves and eyeglasses for extra protection.
Buying a new bottle of cleaning solvent specifically for the bearings is not necessary, especially when you rarely need to clean them.
Here are some solvents to use instead that you probably already have at home: acetone, isopropyl alcohol, mineral spirits, all-purpose cleaner. Spray-on greaser works too.
If you have more than one of the solutions mentioned above, examine the amount of dirt and grease on the bearings to decide whether to use a stronger or milder solvent.
Shake the solution container a couple of times to drive out all the grime and dirt. Change the solution until it is clear. If you want to save costs even further, you can filter out some big grit and reuse that solution.
After cleaning, dry the bearings well using a clean towel or dry cloth, wipe off any leftover residue. Leaving the bearings out to dry can take a bit of time, so you can use the hairdryer to quicken the drying process. Whatever you do, be careful not to have the cleaning agent touch your eyes or skin.
See also: Top 19 Best Skate Bearings in 2021
After your bearings are completely dried off, apply the lubrication to space in between the balls.
Many skaters use Bones Speed Cream, a popular bearing lube, to re-grease the bearings. Other options are Tri-Flow, Sewing Machine Oil, Bike Lube.
You can also use marine grease or engine grease, just make sure that you spread the grease evenly and thoroughly. Grease might decrease the roll speed. On the other hand, it stays so you don’t have to reapply too often.
Grease also does a great job at keeping the dirt out, so it results in a longer life span for your bearings.
Oil is also a good lubricant for bearings. Consider using motor oil if that is what you have at home. 3-in-1 is too light. Therefore, even though it allows your bearings to spin fast, it gets spun or washed out of your bearings easily.
To use oil means you have to avoid water from contacting your bearings as much as you can, and that you have to re-grease your bearings more frequently.
See also: Top 7 Best Lubricant For Skateboard Bearings In 2021
For some reason, a few skaters use WD-40, a common household item, for this step. We recommend not to use it because it is a degreaser, not a greaser. It will dry and attracts more dirt into your bearings.
After you are done with all the cleaning and re-lubing, put your bearings back on the way they’re used to be. If you accidentally bend a shield in the process, just leave it out completely. Place the side without the shield facing inward to the wheel.
That has been everything you need to know about how to clean skateboard bearings with household items. If you don’t have much time to follow through with the entire process, then you can skip all the cleaning steps and just do the lubing.
But remember, it is just a temporary solution, and once in a while you should still do the complete strip-out cleaning. Good luck!