How To Clean Roller Skate Bearings: The Easier Option

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Roller skating is a fun sport, but with any sport, there is necessary maintenance that must be done to make sure your gear stays in good shape. The bearings located in the wheel of roller skates are an important part of the wheel and need regular cleaning to keep you gliding around for hours! Cleaning your roller skate bearings can lengthen the life of your skates as well as help you perform better when you’re skating. But if you’re not used to doing it, learning how to clean bearings on a pair of skates seems overwhelming.

To Clean Roller Skate Bearings, follow these steps:

  1. Make Sure Your Workspace Is Secure.
  2. Take Out The Wheels And Bearings.
  3. Remove The Shields.
  4. Submerge The Bearings In Isopropyl Alcohol.
  5. Apply Lubrication Or Speed Cream If Desired.
  6. Insertion and finalize.
How To Clean Roller Skate Bearings

When Should You Clean Your Bearings?

Staying on top of your bearings maintenance is the key to making sure you get the most out of your skates. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late and find yourself dealing with damaged bearings.

As a general guideline, spin your tires while looking and listening carefully. If they come to a halt quickly and make lots of noise, then that’s a sign that it may be time for cleaning (or else worse damage might occur over time). The screechy, high-pitched squeaking sound you often hear also means that there could be sand or dirt inside fighting against the ABEC balls – it’s definitely time to clean them!

By following these tips, you will significantly extend their life expectancy and save yourself money – not to mention some fast, smooth skating!

Step 1: Make Sure Your Workspace Is Secure.

When you are ready to clean your bearings, it is important that you have a secure workspace. If you have a nice flat workbench in the garage or backyard, this is the ideal spot for cleaning your bearings. Otherwise, you can use the ground or any relatively flat surface such as a parking lot or skatepark.

Removing bearings from inline skate wheels isn’t as difficult as you may think. To begin, take your wheels and axles off using an Allen wrench or inline wheel tool. Then, it’s time to get the bearings out of the wheels.

Some inline skate wheels have a spacer in them which will require pushing or pulling bearings out. You can use an inline wheel tool for this job since it has both bearing push and pull ends.

Start by inserting the push end into the bearing and applying pressure – you should hear a snap or pop to let you know it’s been released from the wheel. To take out small, floating bearings, grab the handle of your tool and attach it to the bearing then carefully extract them from the wheel.

Step 2: Take Out The Wheels And Bearings.

When you want to clean your Roller Skate bearings, the second step is to get them out of the wheels. You won’t be able to effectively clean your bearings from the outside of the wheel. To do this, you will need a skate tool or wrench to remove the bolts from each of your wheels.

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After removing the bolts, put each wheel onto the edge of a bearing at a 45-degree angle in order to create leverage and begin taking out your bearings. Once all 8 bearings have been taken out and placed in a safe box or container, you can begin cleaning them.

Step 3: Remove The Shields.

In Step 3 of the bearing cleaning process, you will be taking off the shields to get to the ABEC balls inside. To do this, it is common to use a razor blade to remove them but any object that can reach under the shields can work as well.

When you pull off the shields and expose the inner parts of your bearings, the amount of dirt, gunk, and grime present would probably shock you. This is why it’s important to clean off the outside of your bearings with paper towels beforehand.

Once you have done so and after spinning your bearing, you can tell how much better they are performing. However, if you find that they still won’t spin despite being cleaned properly, then maybe it’s time for a new one!

Step 4: Submerge The Bearings In Isopropyl Alcohol.

Good skate-bearing maintenance begins with a thorough cleaning. Start by removing your safety shields, and then place the bearings in a secure container that can be anything from a small plastic jar to an old pill bottle with a lid or even a specially designed lidded container.

Next, immerse the bearings in a cleansing solution made specifically for this purpose. Shake the container so that the solution reaches all parts of the bearings and let them sit for 30 minutes (or however long is recommended on the product packaging). This solution needs time to break down all the dirt and grime built up over your last skating session.

Allow the bearings to dry for 30 minutes after removing them from their container and placing them on a paper towel or cloth. To speed up this process you can do it manually, but make sure not to leave any fibers or lint residue on each individual bearing. An air compressor also works wonders! Just remember that whichever option you go with – hand drying or blowing – must leave you with completely clean skate bearings when done.

Step 5: Apply Lubrication Or Speed Cream If Desired.

Sometimes, after you’ve cleaned your bearings, it can be beneficial to apply some lubrication or speed cream to them. Lubrication allows the bearings to spin faster and last longer. However, it’s not an essential step in the cleaning process.

If your inline skate bearings are dirty, it’s important to clean them in order to get the best performance out of them. You’ll want to start by removing the shields of the bearings and taking out the bearing balls. Put the bearing balls into a bowl of warm, soapy water and let them soak for about 10 minutes. After that, rinse them with clean water and then dry them with a soft cloth.

To keep your skate bearings in good condition, use an oil designed for the task and add two drops to each piece. Once done, spin the bearings between your fingers to spread the lubricant evenly.

Finally, replace the shield and return the bearings back to their wheel assembly. Make sure you insert one bearing into one side of the wheel first before placing a spacer in front of it followed by another bearing on top squeezing everything together.

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Step 6: Insertion and Finalize.

When all of your roller skate bearings have gotten the proper treatment, it’s time to reassemble your skates. After taking your bearings out of their cups and drying them off, they should be ready to put back into place. You can also use compressed air or a hairdryer to get those hard-to-reach spots inside the bearings.

To finish off, apply speed cream and other lubricants if desired before pushing the bearings into each wheel. Make sure they are securely in place on each side of the wheel with your body weight before you reassemble everything else!

After that, remember to throw away any alcohol and sharp materials responsibly. Finally, you’re ready for some clean rolling action with friends!

What You’ll Need to Get Started:

Cleaning your bearings is an important part of roller skating, so it’s important to make sure that you have everything you need before getting started. To clean your skate bearings, you’ll need the following items:

  1. A flat area (such as a table, floor, or desk)
  2. A skate tool or wrench
  3. A razor or knife blade
  4. Paper towels
  5. A disposable or ceramic cup
  6. Isopropyl-based alcohol like nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol
  7. Your roller skates
  8. And optionally a lubricant and/or speed cream and a towel for keeping the area clean.

You may also want to consider getting a separate container for your bearings for easy storage. With all the materials on hand, you’ll be ready to start cleaning your skate bearings!

How To Know Your Roller Skate Bearings Need Cleaning?

If you notice that your roller skates are not performing as well as they used to, it might be time to clean your bearings. One sign of dirty bearings is reduced speed and gliding.

  • When bearings accumulate dirt, they create more friction, leading to slower rolls.
  • Another indication of dirty bearings is increased noise. As dirt and debris build-up, your bearings may start producing more noise while you skate.
  • If you feel your skates wobbling or rolling unevenly, it could be due to dirt unevenly distributed in the bearings.
  • To check for dirty or damaged bearings, remove the wheels and give them a spin with your hand.
  • If some wheels spin freely while others are sluggish or don’t spin at all, it’s a clear sign that your bearings need cleaning.

How Often Should I Clean My Skate Bearings?

Clean skate bearings are important for optimal performance and safety, but many people don’t know how often they should clean them. The answer really depends on how often you use your skates and under what conditions.

For those who use their skates regularly in normal conditions, cleaning the bearings only once every two or three months should suffice. However, if you use your skates indoors a lot and the floor is quite dusty, it’s best to clean them at least once a month.

It’s also beneficial to rotate your wheels when taking them off your chassis as this can help to even out any wear they may have over time – even if they show little visible wear.

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Cleaning your skate bearings doesn’t have to be difficult, either; all you need are a few simple materials and a short amount of time! If you take care of your roller skates and keep the bearings clean on a regular basis, you’ll enjoy smoother rides while improving safety.


Should I Clean My Bearings or Just Replace Them?

When it comes to skateboard bearings, you need to decide whether to clean old, dirty bearings or simply replace them with brand-new ones. While cleaning them might seem like the logical solution, it is important to remember that if the grime is too much or your skating abilities have seen considerable improvements since buying them, then replacement would be the better option.

Why is it important to clean roller skate bearings?

Regular cleaning helps maintain the performance and longevity of roller skate bearings. Dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate within the bearings over time, leading to decreased speed, reduced maneuverability, and potential damage. Cleaning bearings regularly ensures smoother rides and prolongs their lifespan.

How often should roller skate bearings be cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning depends on usage. For regular skaters, cleaning bearings every 2-3 months is recommended. However, if you skate frequently or in harsh conditions, such as dirty or wet surfaces, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.

What tools and materials are needed to clean roller skate bearings?

To clean roller skate bearings, you’ll need a skate tool or wrench, bearing cleaner or solvent (isopropyl alcohol works well), a container for soaking, clean rags or paper towels, and lubricant specifically designed for skate bearings.

Can bearings be cleaned without removing them from the wheels?

While it’s possible to clean bearings without removing them from the wheels, it’s not as effective. Removing bearings from the wheels allows for a more thorough cleaning by accessing both sides of the bearings and ensuring all dirt and debris are properly removed.

What is the step-by-step process for cleaning roller skate bearings?

First, remove the wheels from the skates using a skate tool. Then, take out the bearings from the wheels. Soak the bearings in a container with a bearing cleaner or solvent for a few minutes. Agitate the bearings gently to remove dirt and debris. Once clean, dry the bearings thoroughly using a clean rag or paper towel. Finally, lubricate the bearings lightly before reassembling them into the wheels.

What should be avoided when cleaning roller skate bearings?

Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners that can damage the bearings. Additionally, refrain from soaking bearings for an extended period or using excessive force when cleaning, as these actions can compromise the bearings’ integrity.


Cleaning your roller skate bearings is essential to keep them running smoothly. Without regular maintenance, the result can be reduced speed, increased wear and tear on skaters, and a greater risk of injury.

If you want to maintain peak performance with your roller skates, then understanding proper cleaning techniques should be at the top of your priority list. While there are different ways to clean bearings, I have found one surefire way that will leave them looking as good as new!

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Joseph E. Bogle

This is Joseph E. Bogle, the founder and lead writer of, an enthusiast of skating for over a decade. I'm an aggressive skater and certified skating coach, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and passion for skating with others through his blog. With my unique combination of personal experience and professional expertise, is a valuable resource for skaters of all levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.