Monday, October 29, 2012

Down and Dirty

Sometimes, you gotta stop the skate and clean things up.  Today was the day here.

Yup, it's time for making everything pretty and shiny.  And it seemed like it would be more fun to clean up my skates than my house (which is a complete disaster because I've been a little under the weather and incredibly busy).  Don't judge.

This is a little tutorial for my new hunnies who either don't know how to take care of their goods or don't know that they should.

And I'm no expert.  This is just what I do.  There are lots of other options.  And sometimes, I just buy new bearings and toss out the crunchy ones, but other times, I have better things to spend $30 on and decide a little sprucing up will buy me some more time. 

Gather your supplies and get comfy.  You are going to be here awhile.  You need scoopable kitty litter, a good skate tool, mineral spirits (do yourself a favor and get the low odor variety), a bowl, a bearing cleaner bottle (or something to shake your bearings in), some towels, dish soap, and a sink (or bucket).

And in my case, you need oatmeal. Because you still need to eat some breakfast.  And you sit it on the table to cool while you are getting things ready!

I'm doing four sets of bearings and four sets of wheels today because I hate this job, and I like to get it all over with at one time.  Plus, it's been a really long time since I've done much skate maintenance.  I'm overdue.  Shhh!  No one tell Fubar I have been blowing his posts off... ;)
I use a Bones bearing cleaning bottle.  You don't have to.  You could put one bearing at a time in a plastic bottle with a lid and shake it up, but I don't have all day.  I highly recommend this little gadget.
That's one grungy bearing.  Before you put it in the bottle for cleaning, you have to take the colored plastic disk off.  I use a push pin.  Stick it under the lip on the inside circle of the bearing and CAREFULLY pry that off.  Set it aside.  You need to be careful so that you don't bend the disk.  If you bend the disk, you will be spending your $$$ on new bearings because they won't roll correctly. 

Place them in the bearing bottle with a couple of tablespoons of mineral spirits and shake.  It will be disgusting.  See how dark the spirits are in my bottle.  After only three shakes.  Eek!  Pour the dirty mineral spirits into a bowl of cat litter (to absorb and easily dispose of the spirits) and refill with clean spirits.  Repeat until spirits stay clear.  Let all your bearings drain on a towel for a bit.  While you are waiting, wipe the colored bearing disks off with a clean towel.  Then, wipe each bearing with a dry towel and snap disk back in.  Give each one a roll between your thumb and forfimger to make sure it still rolls.

Make a nice warm bath for your wheels.  Dump 'em all in at once.  Let 'em soak.  Use a nylon brush to get any gunk off.  Rinse them with clean water.
Ah! Four sets of clean wheels!  It's been soooo long since I could say that...

Although it takes me about 3 hours start to finish, cleaning these bearings saved me over $100.  If I can do it, so can you.

I'll be one happy skater tonight!


  1. This tutorial is so awesome! I just ordered my bearing cleaner bottle so I can follow your steps. I do have one question though: Is it necessary to lube the bearings at all before putting them back in the wheel?

    1. Hi Hannah!

      No. Lube, speed cream, etc... are not necessary. Just make sure they are good and dry before you put them back together.

      WHATEVER you do, do not use WD-40 on your bearings. Not that you would, but just in case the thought entered your mind. It's great on lots of things, but it will KILL your bearings.

    2. Great! That is what I had thought regarding the cream and lube not being necessary, but Googling around was getting me confused.

      Thanks again! Can't wait to have nice, sparkly clean bearings and wheels.