GUIDE: How to Clean your Bearings and Wheels

Now you have your board running and working, there are a few things you should regularly do to keep it at 100% - cleaning your bearings is one of those. I’ve decided to put this in-depth guide together to show you how to clean your bearings. It’s pretty cheap and if regularly done, your bearings will last much longer.

When you clean your bearings, they will spin smoother, spin for a longer duration , be silent and save you money.


Materials/Tools/Shopping list

  1. Isoprophyl Alcohol/Rubbing Alcohol (Needs to be 99-100% concentration).
  2. A disposable container with a lid (I used a Chinese container).
  3. Several screwdrivers, pliers and a razor blade.
  4. New bearing lubrication (Speed Cream).
  5. 15 Minutes of your time.


Take your wheels off the trucks. Pretty simple just undo the end nuts and slide your wheels off.

As you can see my wheels aren’t in the best condition (UK roads are the worst) and they are super dusty.


You need to take your bearings out of your wheel.

I used this small multitool for this with a flat ended screw driver as it is all I could find but anything which can get under the inside edge of the bearing to lever it out is okay. Make sure you don’t knock out the spacer/loose it.


Now you have all your bearings and spacers in a safe place, take razor blade and use the end to slide in the outer edge of the bearing cover and pop it out.

When doing this, remember not to use too much force as it can either bend the bearing cover meaning it won’t fit anymore and protect the balls inside and you can snap the tip of your razor blade which is just a pain.


Now you have all your covers in a pile and you have got all your bearings naked, its time to wash them. Take your container (I’m using an old Chinese takeaway container as it will be thrown out after) and fill it with some isopropyl alcohol/rubbing alcohol. We are using this pure alcohol as it will evaporate almost immediately from the bearings and cause no rust.

Now, put all the bearings in the container with the alcohol in and put the lid on. Holding tight to the lid, shake the container vigorously for 30 seconds - 1 minute. This will make the alcohol get in all the crevices of the bearings and pull all the dirt and dust out.


Being careful (use pliers), take the bearings out and put them onto a long screwdriver. Space them out a bit and use a hairdryer to dry them off.

This shouldn’t take too long as the alcohol will evaporate pretty fast. If you don’t have a hairdryer, put them on a clean dish on a sunny windowsill.


Pour the dirty alcohol somewhere where it can evaporate safely outside - I put mine on the patio and made sure nothing went on it. Do not put it down your sink as if someone was to put something flammable or a spark down there, it would explode. Pour some fresh alcohol into the container and put the black seals in it and shake for about 30 seconds - these don’t need as much cleaning.


Take the seals out and dry them off like you did with the bearings.


Wash your wheels with some soapy water and a brush - allow to dry.


For each bearing, put one of the seals back on (if your bearings only had 1 seal, don’t do this yet). Now, take your skate bearing lubricator (Speed Cream in my case) and put about 2 small drops in each bearing and put the other seal back on (if you have one seal, now put it on). **When adding lubricant, it is very easy to put too much on - sometimes less is more as @Ulfberht said. ** If using a needle applicator (some lubes come with it), try to get the centre groove where the balls actually run.

Check your bearing works properly by spinning it in your fingers and it should spin freely and without noise.


Reinsert your bearings and spacers into your wheels and then put the whole thing back onto your trucks. You can use a screwdriver to keep the spacer in place.


Enjoy your fresh, clean bearings and wheels!

^Mine don’t look that clean from this angle but as they were translucent, they’re a bit stained >.<

Thanks for reading :slight_smile: If you have any questions, feel free to ask


Will they be cleaned/lubricated at least a little without the speed cream?

They’ll be cleaned but not lubricated. The alcohol take everything off. If you run them dry, its a sure-fire way of killing your bearings. Speed cream/any skate bearing lubricant will be okay

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Ok, I run my bearing dry for now simply because I don’t have the money or the need to spend money on speed cream.

I would really adivse against that - You will end up spending more money on new bearings rather than saving it by lubricating them.

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I mean Im fine with my bearings the way they are… If they were out super fast because you don’t put speed cream on them then they are low quality bearings in my opinion… they should work fine without it but work better with it in my opinion.

Love it @Dougieman1001 !!! I do almost everything the same way, but I use D-Limonene, (orange oil). I’ve tried alchohol and orange oil and I like the oil better. It’s more work with the oil because you should rinse them off and dry them with a heat gun, but they are CLEAN! You want to get all of that solvent off because it contains the disolved solids that you were trying to remove in the first place. The only issue I ever had with alchohol was that sometimes when it dried, there was still residue left behind. Like a resin or something coating the balls. But that was on cheapy bearings that I got VERY dirty with my old dirtboard setup. I haven’t used alchohol in a while…I finish it up with Oust Met-ol lube. Love the stuff and the needle applicator! Here’s my DIY kit that I made. I snatched the sticker from my Oust bearings to dress it up a bit. The container was recycled from a Marijuana container that I had lying around (Don’t worry it’s totally legal in Oregon) and about $3 of Homedepot hardware…LOL

This video is pretty cool. He shows you how to DIY your own kit. And some good info on bearings…


Wat about acetone instead of isopropyl ?

Acetone is some stinky toxic stuff, but it can also react with any plastic/rubber on the retainer rings or rubber seals. It can break down the material over time.

Does alcohol desolve grease? I only pack my bearings with grease as I ride in wet weather. Speed cream washes out too quickly.

Look at the video posted above, do not use any kind of alcohol he expalins why

Yes it does, theyll need regreasing after

Ah yeah that doesn’t matter, it’s the friction and the wear inside. The lubricant will almost stop all rubbing/wear which in turn will make your bearings last longer

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Yes it does. I put it in a little spray bottle and a strong stream will help get off stubborn bits.

I use grease too - it really lowers the amount of maintenance I have to do.

I’m so against cleaning bearings at all, the amount of work involved on cleaning them is huge, even with all the love you have to skateboarding, it’s not worth the effort. Good bearings do not need lubrication in a year, they are sealed and have a pretty good lube inside them, do not remove this grease with alcohol, leave them that way no dirt will come inside them. After a year or when they start to rattle grab a set of Zealous for 12 bucks and continue riding for another year.

OP I don’t want to discourage your post at all, but I’m confident you need to follow this procedure only if you submerge the board on salty water

This is an important tip as well. It’s way to easy to put too much lube in the bearing. Less is more sometimes. Probably doesn’t hurt anything, but it can be messy and wastes your lube. That’s why I like the needle applicator. You can put lube directly on the inner and outer raceways. In the center of the groove right where you need it. The needle can get under the rubber seals so you don’t have to take them out to lube. Give em’ a few spins to make sure that the lube has dispersed across the inner and outer ring raceways. You can tell by the sound if the bearings are dry. IMO Dry makes a hissing sort of sound… I’ve had catastrophic bearing failure from under-lubed bearings overheating to the point of melting the plastic ball retainers. I’ll bet I’m not the only one that’s done that genius move :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:! LOL

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@Ulfberht Yeah thats true, I might have to get me a small needle to use. I’m going to add that point of not over lubricating them because I didn’t really make it clear :smiley: I like that diagram too, nice and clear

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Hi! Does anyone advice some good bearings for less than 20$. I was thinking about Bones red. There are any better options?. Its for an electric skateboard from Koowheel. Cheers :wink:

Use Isopropyl alcohol to clean your bearings. The 70% stuff is fine. Skip using acetone to clean bearings. The same grease used in zealous bearings is the best grease to use. Bones’ speed cream is just regular oil base stock and mixture if you look at the MSDS.

Heres the link: