Skateboarding 101: How To Clean Skateboard Griptape

Not everyone knows how to clean skateboard griptape the right way. A dirty grip tape is not only unsightly to look at but also hinders skaters from landing any tricks.

This article provides a step-by-step guide to help you clean your skateboard griptape as well as the things to avoid when riding your board. Without further ado, let’s get started!

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It doesn’t cost much to buy a new griptape from any skate shops, about $5-10. However, it can be a pain to replace the tape. If your tape is not entirely worn out, we suggest you clean it. Here’s what you will need for a fresh grip:

  • Grip gum

  • A soft wire brush

  • An old cloth, microfiber preferred. An old towel also works.

You can apply the method below to both longboards and shortboards. This effective method guarantees to work with all skateboard sizes.

Step 1: Use A Soft Bristle Brush To Gently Clean The Surface

how to clean skateboard griptape

Use A Bristle Brush

We’re going to start off by using a soft bristle brush to sweep the grip tape thoroughly. The brush should be sturdy but not too sharp, or else it will tear your tape.

A good metal brush only costs a few bucks and can be found at any local store near you. In other cases, a toothbrush is ideal if you want more precision.

Start brushing from the bottom to the top with firm strokes, vertically. Once you finish cleaning, you will see dirt all over the place, and you can use your hand to sweep it off. Keep going until there are no bits of dirt.

Also, don’t apply too much force, or you’ll risk tearing your tape. Be gentle with areas near where the bolts are located; rubbing too hard doesn't help remove hardcore debris, but it can make them fall off unknowingly.

Step 2: Use Grip Gum To Clean The Dirty Residue

If you’re cleaning a shortboard, you can jump right into this step.

However, for longboards, in case you wish to add the step of cleaning with soapy water or window cleaner, you need to wait until the board is completely dry, then you can use grip gum on it.

Ideally, if you use a microfiber cloth to pat dry the entire deck, it should take about 3 - 4 hours.

After that, use a grip gum to remove any leftover adhesive residue. Skaters prefer Black Diamond Dirt Remover to other grip gums as they work more effectively with little effort.

how to clean grip tape skateboard

Black Diamond Dirt Remover

It will feel as if you’re rubbing an eraser against your board. After one or two passes, your board is ready again!

If you don't have access to Black Diamond Dirt Remover, a rubber cement eraser or rubber eraser is a good alternative. A piece of rubber does the job, and you can find it at any art store. These effective grip tape erasers are also cheaper.

In the end, your grip tape won’t necessarily look newly bought, but it will stick to the deck for longer. Plus, the clean grip tape will be able to give you a better grip when you’re cruising on your board.

It is advisable to bring these inexpensive items in your skate bag because they fit in just fine and help keep your board grip tape in tip-top condition.

Tips And Tricks On Cleaning Griptape

Shortboards and longboards both have their pros and cons. While shortboards are easier to maneuver and allow for tricks and stunts, people often use longboards for cruising and commuting. Here are a few things to note while cleaning grip tape of these two board types:

Shortboard

  • Use a soft bristle brush to clean the board more thoroughly.

  • Switch to a toothbrush to remove excess dirt in hard-to-reach crevices.

how to clean skateboard griptape

Use A Bristle Brush

Longboard

  • Make sure the grip tape surface is entirely pat dried with a microfiber cloth before you start wiping it with rubber.

  • Since longboards are thicker than shortboards, you can add the step of using soapy water as longboards. However, don’t soak them in water for too long, or the board will eventually wreck.

How To Prevent Dirty Griptape?

Prevention is always better than cure. Don’t wait until your board gets extremely dirty to start cleaning. While there are various ways to keep different types of skateboards clean, below are the general rules you should stick to.

how to clean your skateboard grip tape

Don’t Wait Until Your Board Get Extremely Dirty To Start Cleaning

Your grip tape gets nasty due to the dirt build-up as well as stubborn grime and debris of your surroundings. 

Sometimes it is inevitable to avoid such areas, but try not to skateboard near these terrains. Also, don’t skate outside right after it stops raining because the mud that your sole picks up from the ground can stain your grip tape.

Skateboard decks are often made of wood. The material absorbs water incredibly well, making it your deck’s worst enemy. If you accidentally step in a muddy patch or puddle, step off your board and stop skating. If you don’t, your board will become waterlogged and lose its stability.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to clean skateboard griptape, check and see if your board needs a cleanup. A new griptape can be nice, but with some effort, you can get a thoroughly cleaned deck that allows you to move your feet freely and easily.

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