How to clean your bearings

What you will need:
Bones cleaning bottle or homemade alternative
Cleaning fluid we recommend acetone (buy at hardware store, don't use your mum's nail polish remover)
Bones Speed Cream or other skate oil or lube
Can of compressed air or a hairdryer

Instructions have been adapted from those found in the Bones cleaning kit.

  1. Gently remove the non-contact rubber shield of the bearing by prying upwards from the center using a pin, or by pressing it out from the back using a paper clip. Do not clean the rubber shields with any solvent, as this will cause the rubber to blister and ruin the fit on the bearing.
  2. Citrus-based cleaners work but can leave a slight oily residue on the bearing. We recommend using a solvent. They are more dangerous to use (cool), but are a more superior solution to cleaning dirty bearings. The solvent we use is acetone. Its sale may be restricted in your area, you might need to be a certain age to buy it or access it to buy it.  Please wear gloves, latex or rubber not your slide gloves. Only use in a well ventilated area, not your bedroom or in front of the TV in the lounge room...unless you live in a skatehouse. Recommended solvents are Acetone, Methyl Ethyl Ketone (try auto shop), or Methylated Spirits. All of these can be found in the paint section of your local hardware store. Do NOT use petroleum-based products like; paint thinner, gasoline, kerosene, lacquer thinner, turpentine or anything that contains tolulene.
  3. Take your bearings and place them on the axle (metal rod on the lid of the Bones cleaning bottle) alternating from one bearing to one spacer till all 8 bearings are on the axle. For best results make sure that the ball side of the bearing is facing upwards. Fasten them down finger tight onto the axle using the wing nut.
    If you are not using a Bones Cleaning bottle, you can make your own or have them loose in a bottle that can be sealed. Be careful with a glass container, shaking metal bearings could cause it to smash. Don't use your mum's tuperware, she will find out and dish out appropriate punishment. 
  4. Fill the bearing-cleaning unit up about 1/3rd of the way full with your cleaning solution and seal the cap. Agitate the cleaning solution by shaking the bottle. Shake for about 30 seconds, open the lid and give the bearings a spin to free up any debris and recap the bottle. Shake until you are satisfied that your bearings are cleaned completely. To make sure they are clean, spin the bearings on the axle.
  5. Remove the bearings from the axle and dry with a clean lint free towel. We also recommend blowing the bearings out with a can of compressed air, which you should be able to find at any electronics or office supply store. Be careful when doing this, as you don’t want the solvent to get in your eyes or all over the place. Make sure to blow them out over a towel. Alternatively blow them with a hair dryer.
  6. Once the bearings are clean and dry, the next step is to lubricate them. We use Bones Speed Cream. Put two drops of the lubricant per bearing and spin the bearing between your fingers to distribute the lubricant throughout the entire bearing. If you have ceramic bearings, only one drop of lubricant is needed. The next step is to put the rubber shields into position. They should just slip right into place with very little force. Occasionally you will see a wrinkle along the inner race edge. To get rid of this, simply run your thumb over it lightly in a circular fashion. Now you’re ready to install the bearings back into the wheel.

Other tips:

Shields when they are removed can be wiped clean using a cloth or soapy water. If you choose to use soapy water, make sure to dry the shields completely before putting them back onto the bearing.

If you choose to use solvents, please make sure to dispose of it properly - NOT down the drain. Most solvents will have disposal instructions on the container. Please be sure to be environmentally friendly and dispose of your cleaning agents in a responsible manner.