If you want to learn how to clean roller skate wheels like a pro we’ll show you that it’s not difficult. Your wheels will look like new, perform much better and grip will be vastly improved!
Have you ever come home from the roller rink to find blackish rink gunk on your indoor wheels? Or left the local paved trail to find road grime and gunk stuck to your once, very pretty outdoor wheels? Girl same.
This build up will eventually cause a bumpy feeling and possibly a gnarly vibration you can feel in your skate boots. This can be especially noticeable if you’re skating at the roller rink or on a smooth surface.
Clingy wheel gunk can also cause you to loose wheel grip and totally eat it….that’s no bueno…so we’re going to show you the best way to clean roller skate wheels (it’s also easy too).
It doesn’t matter if they are indoor wheels or outdoor wheels the process is the same. Check out the before and after on my outdoor roller skate wheels!
This is THE secret for how to make roller skate wheels look new again! Now that I’ve thoroughly cleaned my wheels they look brand, spankin’ new!
This doesn’t take much time to do so if you’re already planning on cleaning your bearings or doing normal roller skate maintenance this is just a small additional step that you’ll thank yourself for when it’s all done.
Roller Skate Wheel Cleaning Supplies
In this article we’ll be showing you how to clean outdoor urethane wheels. This process should not be used for wood roller skate wheels but it can be used for most other urethane or plastic type wheels. Here is what you’ll need to gather up before you get started:
Protective Plastic Layer
Small Bucket or Medium Sized Bowl
Towel or Paper Towels
Mild Dish Soap (such as Dawn) & Hot Water
How to clean roller skate wheels step by step
Step 1: Remove Wheels with a Skate Tool
Put on some Disposable Nitrile Gloves. Wheels come into contact with all sorts of disgusting stuff and you really don’t want to be handling them with your bare hands. I also put down some disposable clear plastic sheeting because there is grime, lubricant, grease and water going everywhere during this process.
The first step is removing your wheels from your skates. For a thorough and safe cleaning you HAVE to remove the wheels and bearings from the skates. Using your Skate Tool remove the nut from your axel and slide the wheel off of the axel. Repeat for all 8 wheels of your skates.
Step 2: Remove Bearings with a Bearing Puller
Next we have to remove the bearings from the wheels. The best way to do this is to use a Wheel Bearing Puller | Pusher so you don’t cause any damage or bending to the bearings. The bearing puller will apply pressure in just the right spot. Pull off both bearings from either side of each wheel.
NOTE! You don’t want to try our cleaning process with the wheels and bearings together because too much water will leak into the bearings and cause them to rust. Bearings are almost always made of steel and they will rust if there is too much water sloshing around inside the ball bearings. Rust can cause bearing failure which means a potential fall. Never soak your wheel bearings in water and avoid excessive moisture if possible!
Step 3: Soak Roller Skate Wheels In Solution 5 Minutes
Next we’re going to make a soaking solution for the roller skate wheels. Grab a small bucket or medium sized bowl and add a tablespoon of mild dish soap (like Dawn). Pour warm (not hot) water over the dish soap and mix it around with your hands until the soap to dissolves in the water. Soak all your wheels in the water for about 5 minutes.
Step 5: Scrub With Non Abrasive Brushes | Scotch Pad
Remove all the wheels from the cleaning solution and place on a dry towel. Even after 5 minutes of soaking you should already see a pretty big difference in your wheels! Look how pretty they are (again)!
Using a Non Abrasive Stiff Brush clean the tread area of the wheels, rims and the inside of the hub thoroughly with the soapy water solution. Some road gunk requires a little extra elbow grease and for that I use a Scotch Brite Scour Pads. You should be able to get the entire wheel clean using just these two tools.
NOTE! Never use a wire brush to clean urethane wheels! It can cause permanent damage to soft wheels! Use only bristle brushes!
Step 6: Dry Wheels with Towel
After cleaning, use a towel to dry off all the wheels and let the wheels continue to dry on a towel for about an hour. We want to make sure that we’ve dried off all the moisture on the wheels completely before re-assembly. Don’t forget to stick a towel covered finger through the hub of the wheel and sop up all that moisture hiding in there.
If you have aluminum hubs you’ll want to pay special attention and make sure the hubs are bone dry before putting the bearings back in.
Step 7: Lubricate Bearings & place back inside Wheel
Before you stick your bearings back inside the wheels it’s a good opportunity to lubricate your bearings (I like Speed Cream Lubricant). Lubricant will help repel moisture, inhibit rust and make your bearings go FAST.
If your bearings look pretty gross you may want to clean them while everything is disassembled. Use the Wheel Bearing Puller | Pusher, put the bearings back into each side of the wheel. Place each wheel back onto the axel.
Step 8: Tighten Skate Nuts With Skate Tool
Using your Skate Tool tighten the wheel down with the nut. Make sure that your wheels aren’t tightened down too much. The wheels should spin freely and quickly but they shouldn’t shift back and forth on the axel or “rock”. If your wheels are barely moving when you spin them they are too tight…loosen them a bit!
Wheel Cleaning FAQs
How do you clean roller skate wheels without removing them?
If you’re in-between wheel cleanings or don’t have the time to clean your wheels then you can use an alcohol-based cleaning solution (or just regular isopropyl alcohol) and give the wheel treads a good scrub with a scotch pad. The alcohol will quickly evaporate It won’t be as effective as disassembling and soaking but it’s a good method to use in-between deep wheel cleanings.
How often should I clean my roller skate wheels?
It depends on how often you skate. If you skate a lot I would say once a month. If you don’t skate a lot it might be longer. A visual inspection of your wheels should happen every time you skate. If it looks like your wheels are getting gunky then it’s time to wash them.
can you wash roller skate wheels?
Yes, you can and you should about once a month if your skate often. It doesn’t matter if you’re an indoor skater, outdoor skater OR both. A good, deep wheel cleaning makes your wheels look brand new and improves performance and grip! Please use our step by step wheel cleaning process outlined above to safely clean roller skate wheels.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning how to clean roller skate wheels. It so rewarding to see your wheels shine like new when the process is complete!
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