Guide to Cleaning and Maintaining Roller Skate Bearings

How do I clean my roller skate bearings? That’s a question we get a lot! In order to preserve the life of your roller skates, it is essential to maintain the skate’s bearings. It is recommended that skate bearings are regularly cleaned and lubricated. Many skaters agree that this should be done after each use in order to maximize the lifespan, durability, and speed of a skate’s wheels. Clean bearings allow for an easy, effortless roll for a skater of any type or level.

Most skaters and skate companies recommend avoiding sand, water, or humid conditions while skating. Moist conditions can rust or hinder the performance of a bearing, specifically in areas of speed, roll, and smoothness of a skate.

How to Clean Skate Bearings

What Types of Bearings Should I Buy?

Below are a couple of our favorite roller skate bearings. You can also find many more recommendations for bearings in Devaskation’s Guide to Roller Skate Bearings.

Bionic Swiss Bearings

Bionic SwissThe Bionic Swiss Bearings are made of titanium and roll forever! These bearings have deeper grooves, double honed races for smoother, faster and longer lasting bearings. They also utilize shields to protect the internal parts of the bearing from dirt and liquids, enhancing their longevity.

Bones Reds Bearings

Bones RedsThe Bones Reds Bearings are great bearings for a great price! Some of the best skaters in the world roll on these bearings because they perform much better then some of the other high priced bearings. Just like the Rollerbones, these are pre-lubricated with Bones Speed Cream so they are ready to skate on right out of the box.

Products that Extend the Life of Your Skate Bearings

Perhaps with the exception of higher-end bearings, most all skate bearings require a bit of maintenance to keep a skate in its best condition. To make any skate last as long as possible and provide the smoothest roll, a skater should consider the following steps in order to maintain the bearings on their favorite skates. Devaskation offers only the best in these products at the lowest prices! Read on to learn more about the advantages of bearing maintenance.

To improve and extend the life of your skates and their performance, it is recommended that the skate bearings are coated with a lubricant. Skating professionals recommend using a low viscosity lubricant applied to bearings. This lubricant maximizes acceleration and speed of the skate, and also reduces friction. Bearing Oil should be applied to bearings after cleaning. You only need a small drop of high-quality bearing oil to keep your bearings in great condition for years! It is highly recommended to use oil on your bearings after every cleaning, but it is also important to keep an eye out for dry bearings. Skaters should apply lubricant once there are any signs of the bearings drying out.

Bionic Bearing Oil

Bionic Bearing OilThe Bionic Bearing Oil is specifically formulated to avoid break-in period while protecting and prolonging bearing life. This oil can be used for any brand bearings on the market to increase longevity. Perfect to throw in your skate bag for on the go maintenance!

YOLO Lube – Light Speed Oil

Yolo Skate BearingsYOLO Lube – Light Speed Oil is synthetic oil that protects metal parts as well as eliminating friction. This great oil will work well on every type of skate bearing!

Types of Bearings and Maintenance

Steel Bearing Maintenance

Steel is a durable, economical metal, and is used in the most common type of skate bearing. Skaters sometimes prefer different materials for bearings, due to the fact that steel bearings don’t handle friction between the skate’s wheel and axle well. In fact, steel often expands with heavy use and fast skating. This can cause the steel bearing to heat up and basically inflate a steel bearing – which will completely ruin the steel bearing. In order to maintain your steel bearings and make them last longer, it is important to clean, dry, and lubricate them after each use. Sometimes this depends on how fast or how long you are skating. Lighter skaters can get away with less maintenance, but the longest-lasting bearings are ones that are cared for often.

Ceramic Bearing Maintenance

Typically, ceramic bearings are ideal for skaters who want a low-maintenance bearing, as well as a skater who skates frequently. Ceramic bearings, compared to steel bearings, encounter less friction. Typically, ceramic skate bearings don’t need as much lubricant, and don’t react to heat such that they expand.

Recommended Bearing Maintenance Products

Roller Bones Bearing Clean And Lube Maintenance Package

Roller Bones Bearing Clean And Lube Maintenance Package The Roller Bones Bearing Clean and Lube Maintenance Package makes it easy to take care of your bearings! This package includes everything you need to remove your bearings and clean them: Bones Bearing Cleaning Unit, Roller Bones Bearing Tool, and Bones Speed Cream.

Devaskation Bearing Maintenance Package

Devaskation Bearing Maintenance PackageThe Devaskation Bearing Maintenance Package is a great, affordable way to keep your bearings in top condition. This package includes Bionic Bearing Cleaner, Bones Bearing Cleaning Unit, Roller Bones Bearing ToolVibe 3-Way tool, Devaskation Lanyard and a Devaskation Sticker. This is everything you’ll need to keep those bearings rolling for a very long time.

PowerDyne Bearing Puller/Press

PowerDyne Bearing Puller/PressThe PowerDyne Bearing Puller/Press is a great tool to have in your bag. This tool allows you to switch out your bearings very easily. Try it once and you will want one in your bag. You can switch out your bearings in record time and get back on the track quicker than your average hand tool.

How to Clean Roller Skate Bearings – Step by Step

If you’re new to skating, or even if you’re a seasoned roller, let this article be your reminder to check and clean your bearings regularly. Our founder, Skip Clinton, a three-time world champion artistic skater says, “Cleaning skate bearings is not a difficult task, but giving your wheels a little love goes a long way toward a lifetime of great skating. I have been skating on the same bearings for over a decade and I don’t foresee new bearings any time soon. That being said, if you haven’t maintained your bearings you might want to start with a new set and a new attitude on keeping them maintained.” There are several methods of cleaning skate bearings, but we’ll share our favorite with you here.

  • 1. First, you must remove the bearings from the wheels. Make sure you get the right tools to do this because using a hammer and chisel could easily ruin your bearings. Be careful not to damage the shield on the race or your bearings will not move properly after cleaning. Next, get ready to use your bearing remover tool. Press the button on the top and place the tool onto the center of the bearing (the hole that slips onto the axel of the skate, like a doughnut hole), release the button, and pull the bearing straight out of the wheel. This type of removal does not work for bearings that are in Aluminum Hub wheels. We recommend using the PowerDyne Bearing Press so as to not damage the wheel hub. You may remove the outer race of the bearings to avoid damage if you so choose.
  • 2. Once the bearings are out of the wheels, place them in a glass jar or plastic jug (a plastic milk jug will do). There are several brands of bearing cleaner including Bionic Cleaner. You will need to place enough bearing cleaner into the jug so all bearings are submerged in the chemical. Let the bearings sit overnight. This will allow all the dirt and grime inside the bearings to break down.
  • 3. The next morning, make sure the lid is secured and shake it up for a few minutes to really get all the dirt out. Drain all the dirty chemicals from the jug – replace with a new amount of chemical to cover the bearings as done previously. Let sit for several minutes and then shake again for another few minutes. Repeat this process several times until your solvent remains mostly clear. This will let you know that the bearings are well cleaned. (Side Note: If you’re on the go and forgot to clean up your undercarriage beforehand, keep a bottle of Bionic’s all-in-one cleaning system in your skate bag. It’s a self-contained unit that will get you through until you can do a more thorough cleaning at home.)
  • 4. Drain a final time and place the bearings on a towel or cloth to wipe down and dry. A great extra step is to BLOW the bearings out with canned air or an air compressor if you have one – this really gets them completely cleaned. If no compressor is available, you can do this manually (try not to pass out).
  • 5. When the bearings are dry, place a drop or two of some good bearing oil on the bearings and let them sit for a few minutes. Take the bearing in your fingers and spin each one to get the oil evenly distributed to each of the ball-bearings inside.
  • 6. The final step is to reinstall the bearings onto your wheel axles. Be sure to take extra care to avoid damaging the race of the bearing when reinstalling into the wheels.

Remember, bearings only need to be cleaned about once every two to three months depending on the environment you are skating in. If you primarily skate inside several times a month but the surface is not cleaned often, you might have to shine up your bearings once a month. Your performance as a skater can be crippled if you neglect your gear. Take the time and do it right! Feel free to visit our Guide to Roller Skate Bearings page and vote for your favorite brand of bearings! We’ve also put together a video explaining how to clean your bearings. The video and the transcription of the video is below!

How to Clean Roller Skate Bearings – Video

Video Transcript

Hey guys, it’s Dan from here. We’re doing a little video today on how to clean and properly maintenance your bearings. you get a lot better performance and a lot longer life out of them. You can breathe some new life into an old set of bearings by just taking them apart and doing a good cleaning on them then putting them back together. You’d be surprised by the results.

A couple of things that you’re gonna want is my favorite, there’s a couple different brands, but I like the Bones bearing cleaning system. It’s a self-contained bottle that’s got a post here to hold all of them with spacers to keep them separated so it really gets all that dirt out while you’re cleaning it. You also want some sort of a solvent. Here at the warehouse, we use Bionic bearing cleaner. Great, long-lasting, it’s a big bottle, with a really good price on that. So these should last you years and years, one bottle of it. So what we’ve got here, I’ve kind of put this all together.

There’s one thing I want to mention, there’s these shields on these bearings. Some people take them off, kind of pry them out. Some people are just going to clean them. Me personally, I don’t. It’s kind of hard to get the bearing shields back in and you risk warping the little bearing shields. There’s enough space in there to get them cleaned out. If you want to take your bearings shields off, feel free to do it. But, I tell you what here, we clean a lot of bearings and we never had any problems with not taking the shields off.

That’s just kind of a personal opinion. Today I’ve got these stacked up right here. So you’ll see that there’s these little spacers and you’re just going to slide these bearings down onto there. Put a spacer in between each bearing. Put another bearing on there. Then it’s got this nice little screw here. That screws down on top. Alright. Now we’ve got our bottle all filled here with our solvent. We’re just gonna put it into there, let them soak a little bit. You can soak, shake it up, Jesse here in the warehouse dances around to Meghan Trainor, cleans our bearings for us, whatever you like.

Just give them a good rinsing. You can always pull them out, visually inspect it and you’ll be able to see the dirt starts coming out a little bit in there. You’ll also notice your solvent has gotten dirty. So just kind of visually inspect, like I said depending on how dirty your bearings are, how long its been since you’ve cleaned them, it may take a little bit more time. But, a pretty quick easy way to breathe some new life into it. Then when we get them out of there, what you’re gonna do is just dry them off. A paper towel works just fine.

Then just the tinniest bit of oil on each bearing, get it kind of down in there, underneath the bearing shield. Let it soak in for a few, then reinstall it. You’d be surprised, the kind of performance, the new roll that you’re gonna get by just taking those older bearings and cleaning them out. So, anyway guys if you have any other questions, feel free. You can always email us at [email protected] and have fun!

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