Dust, dirt, and grime can build up on your bearings and cause them to slow down, affecting the speed and performance of your board.
If you want to get your board back up to speed, you need to clean those bearings. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as pulling out the polish and giving them a quick wipe. Fortunately, if you have the right tools and a few minutes to spare, you can clean those bearings with relative ease.
How to Clean Skateboard Bearings
To clean your bearings, just follow these simple steps below. These work for shortboard and longboard bearings.
Remove the Wheels from Your Skateboard
The bearings are not the wheels and cleaning the latter won't do much for the former. The first step, therefore, is to remove the wheels and take out the bearings.
Once you have removed the wheels from the truck axel, you need to pry the metal bearings out before removing the shields from the bearings using a sharp implement.
Make sure you don't damage the shield or the bearing as you're doing this and keep track of everything that you remove.
Soak the Bearings
Once you have safely removed the bearings, you need to soak them in a cleaning solution. Mineral spirits can be used for this, but acetone works best.
Just add the solution and the bearings to a bottle and keep them in there for a few minutes. You can shake the bottle a little (make sure it has a lid!) to hasten the cleaning process and can also scrub them with a rag.
If you don't have any cleaning solution to hand, you can buy specific bearing cleaning kits from skate shops. One of the most popular is the Bones Bearing Cleaning Kit, which includes everything you need.
Dry and Lubricate
Once you have cleaned them, it's time to remove the bearings from the solution and dry them quickly. You can use a hairdryer, paper towel, or rag for this purpose. Just make sure they are thoroughly cleaned and dry.
Now that the bearings are clean, you need to lubricate them. There are specific lubricants that you can use for this purpose and you only need a couple of drops, before spinning the bearings to make sure they are fully lubricated.
You can now place the bearings back in the wheels and refit them.
That's all there is to it! You should now have clean bearings and will likely notice the difference as soon as you hit the halfpipe for the first time. It'll be like having new bearings and depending on how dirty they were, it may feel like a new board!
Can You Use WD 40 to Clean Skateboard Bearings?
A little lubricant or WD40 on the outside of your bearings will solve some of the issues and help you to eke out a little more performance. However, it's not a long-term solution and eventually, you will need to take them apart and give them a proper clean.
Don't use WD 40 in place of lubricant when you are re-fitting your bearings. It won't last very long and will dry out very quickly.