If you own a skateboard, there’s a good chance that you don’t maintain its wheels very well. The good news is that if you want your wheels to spin better, all you need to do is clean them up. The cleaning process is very easy, so all you need are the right cleaning supplies and a little bit of time and patience. To help you out, we’ve prepared a simple step-by-step tutorial.
Once you’re done, your wheels will look as close to new as possible.
Remove the wheels from the board
You should probably remove all the wheels from the board. First, make certain the board itself is not wet. If it is, allow it to dry for a while before cleaning. You may actually want to try a few different cleaning methods, and you want to be sure the board is dry for each one. If you skip this step and completely submerge the boards while it is still wet, you may cause damage.
Remove the bearings from the wheels
Using the brush, start scrubbing around the outer walls of the wheel. It is always best to start with the outside and work your way in. While scrubbing, use light pressure. Try not to force the brush into the wheel. Also, try not to cross over your bearings. This brings us to the next step.
Cleaning the pieces
Start by gathering your supplies, which should include a sturdy black trash bag, hot water, hand cleaner, soap, a scrubbing brush, and a power drill equipped with a wire brush attachment. Place the wheels in the bag along with the brush and water. Scrub the wheel with the brush to remove any build up between the wheel and axle. Cut the power drill wire brush attachment to a shorter length with a wire cutter to fit into the bag while the wheel and axle are inside.
Once scrubbing is complete, reach inside the bag and feel to see if the brush made contact with the wheel. If not, make a few passes until the brush has secured. Place the wheels outside of the bag in a location that allows water to drain.
Skateboard wheels are made of polyurethane and are pressed and sealed into their own individual barrels (the inner piece of the wheel) and then attached to the outer piece (the wheel). You can purchase new, generic skateboard wheels in all sorts of size and width combos, or you can upgrade to a specific type (such as soft wheels for hills or hard wheels for speed). The most common wheels today are 70mm, 78a (hard) or 90a (soft), and each size will affect the make and model of skateboard the wheels fit on.
To maintain your wheels, clean them after every two or three sessions on the board, which is often enough. Companies recommend cleaning skateboard wheels after each time they’ve been used. However, the build up of dirt and debris is all about how and where you skate, and when you put in the time and effort to learn the tricks, you’ll eventually learn how often the wheels need to be cleaned. Skateboarders will sometimes wash their wheels after every session to remove the grime, but it isn’t necessary and can be a bit of a pain.
Once you start cleaning your own wheels, you’ll be thankful you did. Making time for this quick and easy job is a helpful way to keep your board fresh and working to its best potential.
Reassemble the bearings in the wheels
Make sure that each bearing is seated on the appropriate spacer for easy installation.
Reattach the wheels to your skateboard
And ride it for a short period of time.
It will feel a little squishy, but just think how good your wheels will feel after you wash them!
Attach the nozzle of your garden hose to your bathtub faucet.
Switch your toilet’s water to a fast flow.
Scrub each wheel and the axle with the brush you used in Step 2.
Fill your bathtub with enough water to cover your wheel.
Add dish soap to the bathtub of water.
Your wheel cleaning routine is about to get a whole lot easier.
If you are looking to purchase a cleaner specifically designed for cleaning your skateboard wheels, here are some suggestions.