Unlocking Smoothness: A Guide to Cleaning Inline Skate Bearings

Hello Hello. Stephen @whataspoon here and in this article I will explain how to clean your inline skate bearings. Maintaining your bearings is the key to keeping your wheels spinning smoothly and your sessions enjoyable. Over time, dirt, dust, and debris can find their way into your bearings, causing them to slow down and affect your performance. This is most common with sealed and open bearings as it is much easier for these debris to get inside of these bearings. To learn more about the differences between open, sealed and shielded bearings check out this article on which bearings would be best for you. Keeping your bearings clean doesn't have to be a daunting task as with just a few simple steps, you can ensure that your inline skate bearings are in top condition. 

What You'll Need

To get started on your cleaning adventure you will need Inline skate bearing cleaner or isopropyl alcohol, bearing lubricant, a clean rag or paper towels. A bearing cleaning kit is optional but can make the process much quicker and easier. To remove your wheels you will also need a skate tool.

Check out our bearing cleaner solutions and our cleaning kits are here.

We also have bearing lubricants here.

How it's done

Firstly you'll need to remove the bearings. Start by removing the wheels from your inline skates. Once the wheels are off, use a bearing puller or your skate tool to pop the bearings out of the wheels. Be gentle to avoid damaging the bearings or the wheels. DO NOT TRY TO PUSH THE BEARING OUT. ALWAYS PULL THE BEARINGS OUT. This can be done by placing your tool inside the bearing and then pulling it out at angle. Watch this video to see exactly how to do it.

Once the bearings are removed, it's time to clean them. If you have a bearing cleaning kit, follow the instructions provided. If not, you can use a bearing cleaning solution or isopropyl alcohol. Place the bearings in a container or jar filled with the cleaning solution and give them a good shake to loosen any dirt or grime. You can also use a bearing cleaning tool or an old toothbrush to help scrub away stubborn buildup. Let the bearings soak for a few minutes before moving on to the next step. After cleaning, remove the bearings from the solution and use a clean rag or paper towels to dry them thoroughly. Take this opportunity to inspect the bearings for any signs of damage or wear. Look for rust, dents, or rough spots that could affect performance. If any bearings are damaged, it's best to replace them before reassembling your skates.

Once the bearings are clean and dry, it's time to lubricate them for smooth operation. Apply a couple of small drops of bearing lubricant to each bearing, making sure to distribute it evenly. Spin the bearings between your fingers to ensure that the lubricant is spread throughout. Avoid over-lubricating, as this can attract dirt and debris. With the bearings cleaned and lubricated, it's time to reassemble your skates. Place each bearing back into its corresponding wheel, making sure they are seated properly. Use the axle bolts to secure the wheels back onto your skates, and tighten them securely. Don't forget to place your spacers in between the bearings. Before hitting the pavement, give your skates a quick test to make sure everything is in working order. Spin the wheels with your hand to check for smooth rotation, and listen for any unusual noises. If everything feels good, lace up your skates and enjoy a smooth ride.

Regular Maintenance Tips

Regularly clean your open or sealed bearings, especially following outings in wet or dirty conditions. Before each skate, inspect your bearings for wear or damage. One method is to shake your wheels from side to side with your fingers, listening for any loose noises that could indicate issues. If your axles are securely tightened but you hear suspicious sounds suggestive of looseness, it's likely a bearing problem. While it's generally advisable to avoid skating in puddles or wet areas to prevent bearing damage, I've found through personal experience that brief encounters with moisture during a session are manageable. If your bearings do get wet, spend an additional 10 or 20 minutes skating in a dry area to facilitate drying before storing your skates for the night. Personally, I use shielded bearings and rarely need to replace them, even after skating in various weather conditions and terrains. By adhering to these guidelines and regularly caring for your inline skate bearings, you'll maintain smooth-rolling wheels and prolong the lifespan of your skates.