Before you begin cleaning skateboard bearings it is best to see if the bearings are worth cleaning first. Sometimes bearings get too damaged and are better off replaced than trying to clean them.
The purpose of Rat Vision is to explain the differences between brands and products, and not to be bias. We are frequently asked what products we recommend. After testing and researching we have found Oust products to be superior.
BEARING CLEANERS AND LUBRICANTS WE AVOID: WD-40 is more of a solvents than lubricants. It is thin to enable it to get into tiny crevices and free up rusty, stuck parts. ALL Cooking oils Soaps with citrus scents/fragrance Dish and Hand soap ANY Wood polish, Wood oil, or Wood cleaner Acetone White Spirits Paint thinner Turpentine Laundry detergent Bathroom cleaners Kitchen cleaners (anything that is not citrus cleaner Orange Soap (too thick, diluting won't work) Pine Cleaners Teflon Silicone
TOOLS: Bearings Cleaning Kit Solvent. We use citrus cleaner. Hair drier Cooking tongs (not necessary)
You can throw bearings in an empty plastic bottle with some cleaner but this method is not as effective as a kit.
BEARING CLEANING KITS: We recommend the Oust kit, because it's compact and comes with cleaner inside. The Bones bearing cleaning kit is OK and available at most shops, Read below to make your own kit.
CLEANERS AND SOLVENTS: We use citrus cleaner as our solvent/cleaner for cleaning skateboard bearings. It's less than $5 for a bottle.
Avoid dangerous and hazardous solvents like turpentine, acetone, mineral spirits, gasoline, butane, paint thinner, kerosene, etc. Chemicals can be absorbed through your skin and get into your blood stream.
WHY CITRUS CLEANER?" The majority of citrus cleaners are safe. Most of them have no warning label for health hazards. They usually say to avoid contact with the eyes (of course), and that it might irritate the skin.
Citrus cleaners are made with orange oil that have a natural solvent called terpenes. This hydrocarbon is mostly made of about 90-95% d-limonene. D-limonene does the work of dissolving stuff.
CLEANING KIT PARTS: 1/4" x 6" rod coarse thread (or whatever fits the length of the bottle inside). 1/16" OD x 1/4" ID x 3/32 O-Ring (this is the black gasket/ring. Basically 1/4" ring as thick as a toothpick) 1/4" Washer 1/4" Nut, coarse thread 1/4" Spacers cut from a ball-point pen 1/4" Wing-nut, coarse threads
How to make a homemade skateboard bearing cleaning kit: 1. Assemble the bearing kit: Cut a small hole in the lid/cap of the bottle. Hole needs to be big enough for the 6 inch rod to go through. 2. Put the gasket/black ring on the rod. 3. Put the rod through the lid/cap of the bottle. 4. Put the washer on. 5. Tighten the nut down to the bottom of the lid/cap. 6. Cut 1/4" pieces of a ball point pen sleeve for spacers. 7. Place bearings on the rod with 1 bearing spacer between each bearing. (remove seals or shields first). 8. Hand tighten the wing-nut until the bearings are nut on the rod. 9. Fill the bottle 1/3 with citrus cleaner. 10. Place the bearings in the bottle and tighten the lid.
Directions for cleaning with a kit 1. Remove bearings shields/seals first. See how here (link). 2. Wipe off dirt on the bearings and shields/ seals. 3. Assemble kit. 4. Fill the container about 1/3rd of the way with cleaner. 5. Insert bearings. 5. Shake the kit for a couple minutes. 6. Takes the bearings out (leave on the rod). 7. Tap the bearing on a hard surface to remove contaminants. 8. Repeat shaking for couple minutes (repeat steps 5,6,7 if needed). 9. Since bearings off in very hot water (keep them on the rod. This removes the cleaner. IT IS PERFECTLY OK.) 10. Immediately blow-dry your bearings to remove all the water. Use cooking tongs if bearings are too hot to hold in your hand. 11. Lubricate each bearing with about 1-2 drops of thin lubricant. We like electronic oils and sewing machine oils.
WHEN TO CLEAN AND LUBE: For avid skaters, meaning you skate to and from school and skate on the weekends, check lubricant every 2-3 weeks. Clean every 3-4 weeks. If you skate 1-2 days a week, you can stretch out the maintenance by lubricating every 4-6 weeks, and clean every 2 months.
PERMANENT (NONREMOVABLE) SHIELDS: 1. You can clean nonremovable metal shields the same way shown in the video, or apply lube and ride them until they break. 2. The most important thing to do is dry the bearings completely by spinning the bearings while using a hair dryer. 3. Add lubricant in the gap between the metal shield and the inner ring.