How To Clean Skateboard Wheels Using Household Products
Skateboard wheels roll on the ground, so they will eventually get dirty that’s just how it is. While some issues with how wheels look can be fixed, some can’t. Yellowing of white wheels often times can’t be fixed by cleaning. Sometimes it’s just better to buy new skateboard wheels. Often times though you can clean your wheels and make them look much better. Keep reading to learn how to clean skateboard wheels.
How to Clean Skateboard Wheels Without Removing Them
To clean your wheels, you should take them off the trucks and remove the bearings. Carefully cleaning the part that touches the ground called the contact patch with a wet rag or napkin can make them roll better, but you might get water in your bearings which can damage them. Use the rag and spin the wheel to clean it. Follow the wet rag with a dry one to dry the wheels quickly.
To clean the bearings, spinning the wheel while inserting a q-tip works well. You just have to make sure not to remove too much of the bearing oil and make sure to re-lubricate your bearings with skate oil like Bones Speed Cream. Check out our other article on how to clean skateboard bearings for more information.
How To Clean Skateboard Wheels – The Complete Method
To clean skateboard wheels, you will need to remove the wheels and bearings. You will soak them in hot water with Dawn dish soap and scrub them. Then let them dry.
Removing The Wheels
To remove the wheels, use a skate tool or a wrench and unscrew the 4 wheel nuts on the axle. Make sure not to lose the tiny wheel spacers.
Removing The Bearings
To remove the bearings follow these steps:
- Firmly grab the wheel with your palm so that the bearing is exposed.
- Insert the wheel with the bearing back onto the truck axle slightly. (Insert about 1 inch- definitely less than half the wheel)
- Pry the bearing out by pushing on the wheel to leverage the bearing.
- Flip the wheel around and do the same on the other side to remove both bearings.
Cleaning The Wheels
The best way to clean the wheels is to soak them in hot soapy water for a few minutes then scrub them.
- Use a wire brush or toothbrush to scrub the contact patch, the side walls where the graphics usually are, and the bearing seats. You can also use a rag to scrub them. You want to use something that can get into the small spaces in the corners of the bearing seats to do the best job. Hard bristles don’t damage the wheels. It’s hard to scratch a skateboard wheel.
- Clean the contact patch completely. This is the most important part to clean because it will make your wheels roll better.
- The bearing seats will probably have dirty bearing grease in them. There might also be other things on the wheel like wax or sticky goo like from riding over spilled soda. The hot water will help make these hard to remove substances come off easier.
- Be careful when using a hard wire brush not to scratch off the paint on your wheels. Unless you want the paint scratched off. Removing half worn off graphics is another story.
- Let the wheels dry. Wiping them off with a dry towel works well to get any chemical residue off left from the soap of whatever product you use.
What Products Can I Use To Clean Skateboard Wheels
Use Dawn dish soap instead of hand soap because Dawn can be used to clean oil and grease, not just dirt.
Avoid using WD-40 because it leaves a residue behind that can collect dirt. Substances like this that leave traces behind or even soaps with lotions can leave the wheels feeling soft. They will be fine.
You can also effectively use automotive hand cleaners like Fast Orange because it removes grease. Wash them in your hands and rinse them off with water. Repeat until they are clean. Use your brush to clean the hard to reach places in the bearing seat.
Automotive degreaser also works, but will leave traces of chemicals that you don’t want on there like the Wd-40 does.
Push your bearings back into the wheel by putting the bearing on the axle followed by the wheel then push down on the wheel. Flip the wheel over and push in the other bearing. Put one spacer, then the wheel, then the other spacer and screw the nut back on.
Leave a little wiggle room for the wheel (1mm) and make sure your bearing spins freely. If it doesn’t, try pressing the wheel in different directions to make the bearings go in all the way. They can also get stuck at a slight angles.