Monday, March 12, 2012

Bearings pt. 2

Ok, I know not everybody has access to industrial solvents (like I did in my first post). Luckily, all of this can be done at home with stuff purchased at a supermarket.

1) Wipe down excess dirt with a rag.

2) Take off plastic guards. Unfortunately, metal crimped bearings cannot be opened.

3) Wash!
The easiest thing to use is Dawn or any other degreasing soap. Hold the center of the bearing and spin the outer ring while submerged in a container of very soapy water, then do the same under the tap running warm water. This can also be done with Goo Gone or other orange oil based degreasers. Just make sure you remove all residue.

4) Rinse.
If water isn't cutting it, use acetone or some other solvent that will evaporate clean.

5) Dry.
While you can just leave them drip drying on a towel, it is in your best interest to dry them as fast and efficiently as possible. One option is to put said towel with bearings in a toster oven or dehydrator. Another is to hold them from the center (like when washing) and spin them by blowing with compressed air, or with a blowdryer set on cool.

6) Oil.
Ok, this isn't completely necessary. There are people that skate on "dry" bearings. This keeps crap from getting caught in them and gunking up. Most people, though, oil them. While you can get Speed Cream for about $10/oz, you can also get food grade mineral oil at the pharmacie for a couple of bucks the quart. Will you ever go through the whole quart? Most probably not, but you can probably share it with your whole team for the next five years.

7) Replace guards, wipe excess oil, and put them back in your skates.

As standard maintenance between washes, make sure to wipe down your hubs with a cloth or old tooth/paint brush after each use, and add a couple of drops of oil to each bearing every week or so.


  1. This is really interesting. I never thought about skate maintenance before but it makes sense, especially with heavy use!

    1. You aren't the only one! I started dating a ref who's skated for five years. He never washes his pads, and he's always just replaced his bearings every few months instead of cleaning them. I wish I had disposable income :/