Instructables
Picture of How To PROPERLY Clean Your Bearings
I see a lot of people who either NEVER clean their bearings, or do it improperly when they DO clean them. I've seen many different ways to clean them, so I thought I would make a standard for cleaning. Here it is, enjoy!
 
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Step 1: Remove The Bearings

Picture of Remove The Bearings
The video explains it all (albeit in a rather stuttery and halting fashion).

Step 2: Taking Your Bearings Apart

I used a dental tool to remove the rubber seals from the bearing. If you have a steel bearing cap (see image #3), then look for a little c-clip in the side of the bearing case. If there is no c-clip, then just skip this step.

Step 3: Cleaning The Bearings

Put the bearings in a container WITH A LID and fill it to the brim with isopropyl alcohol. Cap the container and shake for 5 minutes. If your bearings are still coated in nasty, repeat the process. 

Set the bearings out to dry.

While you're waiting for the alcohol to fully evaporate, you can take the time to clean the bearing covers with some paper towels.

Step 4: Re-Lubricating Your Bearings

Picture of Re-Lubricating Your Bearings
If you were able to remove your bearing covers, then get hold of some gel lubricant (picture #1). If you couldn't, then procure some 9-weight gun oil (picture #7).

The rest of the instructions for this step are in the pictures.

Step 5: Putting Your Wheels Back Together

Picture of Putting Your Wheels Back Together
Another crappy video to tell you how to put your wheels back together.


The best way to work the lubricant in is to RIDE THE BOARD.
traxxer18 days ago

Great instructable! I use the same Ritalin bearings and never thought of using the bearing container to soak the bearings with isopropyl alcohol.

cbeatty11 year ago
Buy speed cream from skate one, original known as Powell Peralta skateboards. This is the type of lubricant you want to use, it's made for skateboarding and is only 6bucks for several cleanings. Your right most people don't clean their bearings. Since 1988 I've used speed cream!!
TheCreative2 years ago
I find best thing is you get your bearings in an old rag, spray on some WD-40 and then close the rag around them and run the little parcel between your hands, when you open it, they'll be all clean and shiny. Leave them for a minute or two and the residue from the WD-40 will evaporate meaning you can re-apply grease soon after.
B12 Chemtool is about the best degreaser I've found for use with bearings. It leaves no film to interfere with lubricant adhesion to the bearing surface, and it cleans the old crusty grease like nobodies business. It comes in both liquid AND aerosol versions. The liquid can be used for soaking, and the aerosol can be used to get into spots impossible to reach without disassemble.

And whatever you do, do NOT use compressed air to clean your bearings. If you exceed the bearings rotational rating by spinning it with the air, (As fun as it is, LOL) you disk death and/or dismemberment if the bearing flies apart/explodes.
depotdevoid2 years ago
Hi, great instructable! I remember cleaning my skateboard bearings . . . back in the day before I was old and had broken feet. Ah well, good memories, anyway.

Happens that these days I'm a ball bearing salesman, and I have a small piece of advice: don't use isopropyl alcohol to clean the bearings, find some sort of spray or liquid degreaser. In general, isopropyl alcohol is not 100% alcohol, there's a small amount of water in it that is bad for your bearings.

There's no way to keep water out of skateboard bearings completely, but do everything you can to limit it!
There are different formulations of isopropyl (rubbing alcohol). It is mixed with water in different percentages which are commonly available. Obviously for this use, the less water the better, read the label. I'd be tempted to use denatured alcohol (ethanol mixed with methanol) as it would contain no water. Regardless, one could gently heat with a hair dryer after cleaning to ensure all solvent and any water is fully dried prior to lubricating.
Commander Shepard (author)  depotdevoid2 years ago
Thanks!
I did know that the water can be bad, but the reason I use isopropyl alcohol is because you don't have to worry about further clean-up as the alcohol evaporates off of the bearings. Plus, the lubricant I use has a water-propellant property (the water will actually be forced out of the bearings after about 5 minutes of riding. I have also been using this system for years without any adverse effect that I can see. However, I DO replace my bearings after about a year or two, so I don't know if that's why.

Thanks so much for reading and replying!
Okay, that makes perfect sense. Really, the true test of your method is if it works for you--which it obviously does!

It's a good point about replacing them every year or two, most of the time when I see a bad bearing come over the counter, it's spent several years in service. Also, I deal with industrial application bearings, which see an entirely different service life from skateboard bearings. Skateboard bearings see high shock loads, unsealed exposure to water, twisting in the housing, and high levels of vibration. The same #608 bearings are used in a lot of hand tools and small electric motors, where they can last for years and years without any sort of intervention, but they aren't exposed to anything like the same sort of treatment as the ones used in skateboards.
groybe2 years ago
I don't see any problem with the water content in isopropyl. It's not going to rust your bearings. It will evaporate. Over here isopropyl is mosty 99.9 perecent were as metho is 50.

Anyway they are crap for cleaning grease and so the dirt in the grease too. I use diesel. You could use kerosene if you are rich.