Skateboard Maintenance: How to Clean Grip Tape & Bearings

November 03, 2017

A cared for board is a happy board. Taking care of your electric skateboard might not be as fun as riding it, but it’s necessary to get the most out of your ride. From the grip tape to the bearings, we’ve put together two quick, step-by-step guides to help you take care of your electric skateboard. We hope you have your notebook ready and your pencil sharpened as class is now in session.

How to Clean Your Electric Skateboard’s Grip Tape

Dirt might be good for your skin, but it’s pretty bad for your grip tape. Not only can it hinder your deck’s performance and cause unwanted wear to occur, it can really affect your balance. If you’re worried about cleaning your skateboard, don’t be. But your worries aren’t unwarranted. A wet skateboard is never a good idea, you’re right about that. But your deck will, inevitably, get dirty. And given all the places you can go on your Evolve skateboard, it’s bound to happen sooner than later. When it comes time to clean your deck, water is just a part of the job. In fact, debris such as, dirt, grime, and oil are worse for your deck than water, so don’t sweat it. That being said, don’t overdo it. 

What You’ll Need:

  • A nylon brush – An old, unwanted tooth brush is perfect because its bristles can really dig into the grooves of your skateboard’s grip tape. You could use your favorite toothbrush if you really wanted to, but, all judgement aside, that’s a little gross—and might make your teeth a little sad.
  • Soap – Dawn® soap works wonders. Dawn® does more than “help save wildlife.” It helps save Evolve electric skateboards.
  • A bowl – For mixing and soaking, of course.

How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape:

  1. Fill the bowl with a little bit of soap and water. In most cases, assuming your board isn’t covered in dirt, about 1-cup of water will do. Take your brush and vigorously stir the soap and water together to make a magical skateboard cleaning elixir—and of course, to get the brush wet.
  2. Tap the brush on the edge of the bowl to get rid of excess water.
  3. Apply the brush to the grip tape and scrub in small, quick circles. Concentrate on one area at a time; if you try and drag the brush across the deck to cover more ground, you’ll most likely create a bigger mess.
  4. Rinse your brush off in the bowl of water, stir, and repeat steps 2-3.
  5. When you’re done, use a sponge or a rag and pat the grip tape dry. Don’t rub! Drying your deck is a lot like tending an open wound; dragging anything across the surface can cause water, soap, and any leftover dirt to smear. Patting your deck dry will keep everything contained and your board in better condition overall.

How to Clean Your Electric Skateboard’s Bearings

Are your board’s bearings acting up? Before you drop a pretty penny on replacement parts, we recommend you try to clean your current ones first. The process is quick, easy, and (much like cleaning grip tape) cleaning bearings can be done with items you probably have laying around the house.

What You’ll Need:

  • An organic solvent – 99% isopropyl alcohol or citrus cleaner will clean your bearings the best.
  • A small bowl – This will hold your solvent and your bearings.
  • A pin, thumbtack, paper clip, or thin blade – Any one of these items can be used to remove the covers that shield and protect your bearings.
  • Skateboard-approved lubricant – Use whatever product you’re familiar with. Avoid using WD40 or break cleaner as these aren’t made for skateboards and can cause serious damage.

How to Clean Skateboard Bearings Without a Kit:

  1. Take off your skateboard wheels and remove the bearings.
  2. If your bearings have rubber seal covers or shields, remove each seal with your blade. All you have to do here is slide your blade under the inner lip of each seal and press down to pry it up. For C-Ring seals, there’s a small opening around the outer edge of the bearing that you’ll want to look for. Once you remove the C-Ring, just tap the bearing on a surface to remove the cover. Unfortunately, for pressed-in metal bearing covers, there’s not much you can do. You can still proceed with the rest of the steps in this tutorial with your fingers crossed, though.
  3. Set your covers aside in a safe place.
  4. Fill the bowl with a little bit of solvent. You only need to fill the bowl with enough solvent to fully submerge all your bearings at the same time.
  5. Evenly place your bearings in the bowl and... wait. It’s usually best to let them sit for at least an hour or so. For a more thorough clean, you can return to the bowl and stir the bearings around a little. If the rest of your deck could use some work, now is as good a time as any to take care of any other repairs.
  6. After some time has passed, remove your bearings and quickly dry them off. You want to make sure the parts are completely dry before proceeding. We recommend using a blow dryer, but if you’re really pressed for cash blowing on them and draining any remaining liquid can, sometimes do the trick.
  7. Add 1 to 3 drops of lubricant to each bearing. To help spread the lubricant around, don’t be afraid to pick up the bearing and move it between your fingers or in the palm of your hand.
  8. Snap your bearing covers back on.
  9. Reassemble your board.

As you can see, maintaining your skateboard isn’t really all that difficult. While we’re not suggesting you strictly stick to these methods, they are, for many, the easiest and most effective ways to clean skateboard grip tape and bearings. When it comes to skateboard  maintenance, we don’t recommend using anything other than skateboard-approved lubricants and organic solvents. But, feel free to experiment with the process. Who knows, you might even build your very own DIY grip tape and bearing cleaning kit that’s perfect for those on-the-go moments.