How to Degrease Clean Longboard Bearings Using Acetone

Often times I am asked what the proper procedure is for properly maintaining longboard bearings. I decided to write a step by step guide on How to Degrease Clean Longboard Bearings Using Acetone. The reason anyone would ever want to degrease a set of bearings is to remove all of the old bearing lubricant from the bearings. While degreasing the bearings any dirt caught inside the bearings will be removed along with the lube. How often one needs to degrease and then lube their bearings entirely depends on how often one rides, and how much dirt gets attracted to the bearings. Riding around the beach or dusty trails would warrant more frequent maintenance, than a casual rider. I degrease and lube my boards on average once a month.

The first step is to make sure one has the proper equipment required so that the process can be streamlined. The required materials include the following,

  • 1 Bic Pen
  • 1 Skate Tool
  • 1 Long Needle
  • 1 Sharp Knife
  • 1 Flathead Screwdriver
  • 1 Bottle of Acetone – (to degrease and
    clean the bearings) can be purchased from your local hardware store
  • Longboard Lubricant – I personally use Eximius – Fluid 2
  • 1 Eyewear Protection – Better safe than sorry when handling chemicals, sunglasses should work fine
  • 2 Clean Rags – One to place the dirty wheels on, and the other to wipe clean the wheels and bearings
  • 1 HDPE Container – It must be HDPE because the wrong plastic jug will react negatively with the Acetone. Check next to the Recycle symbol to see if the bottle is HDPE.
  • 2 Disposable General Purpose Nitrile Gloves – Found at local hardware stores, box of 100 should cost bellow 100 dollars.

STEP 1: If possible this should be done in a well ventilated area; preferably outside. Use the Skate Tool to remove the bearings from the wheels as demonstrated from the image bellow.

STEP 2: Place all of the components removed from the wheels onto one of the towels as demonstrated bellow.

STEP 3: Use the LONG NEEDLE to remove the shields from the bearings. The shields are  located on the outer side of the bearings, used to keep debris from entering the internal components of the bearings. Most bearings come with one shield per bearings, in rare occasions both side of the bearings can have shields. The reason the shields must be removed is because they are usually constructed out of rubber. When rubber comes into contact with Acetone, there is a good chance the Acetone will corrode or completely dissolve the rubber shield.

STEP 4: If using a regular HDPE Container grab the handle, and using the Sharp Knife cut the container horizontally (to have an open dish). The trick is to leave enough of the container on the sides to keep the Acetone from spilling, yet short enough to not get in your way.

STEP 5: Use the Flathead Screwdriver to open the Acetone. Be careful not to get any into your eyes, also do this outside minimize the amount of fumes you breath in. (Always wear protective eyewear, and gloves when handling chemicals.)

STEP 6: At this point the bearings should have all the shields removed, and the ball bearings easily visible. Place the bearings into the HDPE CONTAINER and gently pour acetone into the container. Be careful when pouring Acetone into the container for if it spills onto concrete it will discolor the surface. I use the Bones Bearing Cleaner Bottle, although any HDPE CONTAINER works just fine. A Bones Bearing Cleaner Bottle is used simply alternate between one spacer and one bearing until all bearings are attached.

If using an HDPE Container simply place the bearings into the container, and agitate them with the BIC Pen. Let the bearings sit in the Acetone for 5 minutes, agitating periodically.

STEP 7: If using the Bones Bearing Cleaner Bottle simply unscrew the cap, gently wipe the bearings down with a clean rag. Next  start spinning the bearings to remove any Acetone.

WARNING! WHEN SPINNING BEARINGS ACETONE CAN SHOOT INTO YOUR EYE THE USE OF PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR IS HIGHLY SUGGESTED. 

Be careful not to spin the bearings too much, as they have no lubricant thus are vulnerable. A quick spin should suffice.

STEP 8: Grab a rag or wet-wipe and start cleaning your longboard wheels. Especially the center of the longboard wheels to ensure excess dust trapped inside doesn’t make its way into the freshly cleaned bearings.

I hope this Guide to cleaning longboard bearings has been useful! Please feel free to request new topics you would like to see covered in the future please send an email to legitboardshop@gmail.com. Thank you for the continued support! Please feel free to share this blog with your friends using the social media buttons bellow.

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