As you and your kiddo roll around the house, in the park, down sidewalks, and around the neighborhood, your skates will get dirty. It’s crucial to show them much love as they have shown you since they shipped in. One way to keep your roller skates performing like new and not seizing up on you is to clean them regularly. And in this guide on how to clean roller skates, you’ll learn to take care of every major part or component that keeps your quad skates fully functional.
Clean Your Roller Skates in 4 Easy Steps
Cleaning kids’ and adults’ roller skates may sound like something you want to put on the backburner indefinitely. But while that can be tempting, it’s not a good idea at all.
It is best to take care of your skates on an ongoing basis so they can serve your interests consistently. To clean roller skates properly, you only need to focus on four areas namely:
- Rubber seals
To make this quad skate cleaning guide easy to follow, I decided to dissect the entire skate cleaning process into parts. In each section, the instructions focus solely on cleaning that one part so you can develop a crystal clear understanding of how to complete the task correctly.
This post aims to equip you with the knowledge you need so you can clean your or your child’s roller skates without damaging them. In the end, your skates will good really good, and they’ll reciprocate by rolling better than ever.
How to Clean Roller Skate Wheels
Roller skate wheels collect dirt, grit, and grime even if you and your kiddo ride indoors exclusively. If the wheels aren’t too dirty, all you need to do is give them a wipedown with a clean, soft cloth. Any kind of mild detergent or even regular dishwashing soap will do.
So, dip the cloth or soft sponge in soapy water (preferably better), wring the sponge/cloth to squeeze out excess water. Then, use the soapy sponge to wipe down the wheels.
How to Clean Roller Skate Wheels Without Taking Them Off
Let’s face it, there’s always a day you won’t feel inspired to clean stuff. Not even your roller skates which have given so much satisfaction outdoors.
When that lazy day rolls around, turn to isopropyl alcohol. Dip a clean cloth in isopropyl alcohol and give each wheel a wipedown. I imagine you’re not going to use this cleaning method to clean completely gunked-up roller skate wheels.
But if the wheels are extremely dirty and have all but stopped spinning, nothing but a deep clean will get the dirt and grime out. So, how do you deep-clean dirty roller skate wheels? It’s easy, and below is how to do it.
What You Need
- Warm water
- Mild detergent or dishwashing soap
- Soft brush
- Skate tool
- A pair of gloves
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Several dry towels or tissue paper
Steps to Deep Clean Rollerskate Wheels
Follow these easy steps:
1. Unscrew the dirty wheels from the skate. You can use a regular skate wheel to take the wheels off.
2. Once the wheels come off, remove the bearings. At no point should you soak the wheels with the ball bearings still inside.
So, how do you remove the bearings from roller skate wheels? Use a skate tool, wheel axle, or screwdriver to remove the bearings. I bet you have a skate tool around, every skater does.
But if for some reason you don’t have a skate tool, turn the wheel axle into a tool. It’s easy to lever roller skate wheels out with the tips of the axles.
Every roller skate wheel features a set of two bearings. One ball bearing sits on the outside of the wheel while the other one is on the inner side. Ball bearings are the small spheric metal balls inside the bearings around which the wheel rotates. Once you pop the bearings out, set them aside.
3. Soak the wheels in warm soapy water for about 15 minutes until the grime and dirt loosen. Then, use a soft piece of cloth to scrub the dirt and grime off. BUT, if the wheels have a metal core, don’t soak them. Because water can cause the metal core to rust, an undesirable outcome.
4. Use a clean cloth to rinse off the soap.
5. Dry out the wheels in the sun.
How to Clean Roller Skate Bearings
First off, wear your gloves. You need to protect your hands before touching any solvent.
Once you remove the ball bearings, put them in a small container with a good roller skate bearing cleaner. But before you put the bearings in the cleaner, use a paper clip to pry out the rubber shields.
Put the rubber shields aside and don’t misplace them. Serviceable bearings have a rubber shield, and I assume that’s what you have.
I recommend getting a lidded container instead of using one with an open mouth. Some bearing cleaners such as this Bones Skateboard Cleaner come in a container with a lid. Such a container works best because you can swirl the bearings around to loosen and agitate the bearings.
Soak the bearings for about 15-20 minutes and keep sloshing the bearings around to get the cleaner into every nook and cranny.
If the Isopropyl alcohol or bearing cleaner gets too dirty, drain it and pour in a fresh cleaning solution. Keep repeating this until the cleaner looks reasonably clear.
At that point, your bearings are clean. So, take them out of the alcohol/cleaner and put them somewhere clean (maybe in a small clean bowl)?
Finally, use a dry clean towel or even tissue to dry up the bearings.
How to Clean the Rubber Seals
As for the protective rubber seals, clean them with a soapy sponge if they’re not too dirty. And if they’re too filthy, use a toothbrush and soap to scrub the grime off the seals. Once the bearings are clean, rinse them off with a clean sponge dipped in clean water and the water squeezed out.
Finally, let the seals dry out completely and then put the bearings and seals back into the wheels ready for skate re-assembly.
How to Clean Roller Skate Boots
The boot is the part where you pack your feet as you skate. The best way to clean the boot depends on what material it’s made of. There are three main materials used to make roller skate boots namely:
- Synthetic: plastic, faux leather
Traditionally, quad skate boots have been fashioned using leather. But suede boots are also available, and synthetic boots are becoming increasingly common.
To clean a leather boot, use a proper leather cleaner that’s designed to preserve leather. Dip a clean sponge into the leather cleaner and wipe the boot down. And to clean suede skate boots, repeat the process above but this time around, use a dedicated suede cleaner.
As for cleaning synthetic skate boots, soak a sponge in warm soapy water and give the boots a thorough wipedown. Once clean, dip a clean cloth or sponge in clean water and rinse the soap off.
How to Deodorize Smelly Roller Skates
To tackle odors and leave the inside of your quad skates smelling clean and fresh, spray the interiors with a disinfecting spray. Alternatively, mix white vinegar with water and use it to wipe the inside of the boots.
Right Way to Dry Out Roller Skate Boots
Finally, put the boots out in a sunny place to air out. What if the weather outdoors doesn’t permit you to leave the boots outside?
You should never use any source of unnatural heat to dry out roller skate boots. So, never put your skates near a space heater or radiator. Also, open flames are a no-no. But you can use a dry towel to dry out the boots.
10 Top Roller Skate Maintenance Tips
1. Don’t wait too long before showing your roller skates some tender loving care. Instead, clean and store them properly until the next outdoor adventure with your playful tike.
2. If the skates aren’t too dirty, give them a quick wipedown with a microfiber cloth.
3. Inspect your roller skates on a regular basis, and if any part is worn or broken, replace it immediately. With most quad skates, you can replace the bearings, wheels, axles, baseplate, trucks, laces, and even boot.
4. Avoid roller skating through puddles. Because roller skate bearings start rusting upon coming into contact with water. Well, ceramic bearings may not suffer much even when they encounter water. Nut any bearing with a steel part should stay away from puddles.
5. Keep tweaking your setup so that you’ll always have the perfect balance between skate stability and skate maneuverability.
6. Clean the boot portion of the skate depending on whether it is leather, suede, or synthetic.
7. Don’t ride your quad skates through puddles or in the rain.
8. Don’t clean roller skate bearings with water.
9. Never dry out roller skates in a dryer or blow-dry them. Also, don’t try to hasten the drying process by placing the skate near any heat source such as a space heater radiator, or open flame. Instead, put it outside to air out or dry in the sun.
10. Keep your skates lubed sufficiently with the right lube for smooth rolls and to keep dirt and even moisture out.
Cleaning Roller Skates: Final Thoughts
Clean roller skates look nice, and they give really smooth rolls. If the skates aren’t too dirty, a quick wipedown is adequate to keep them clean.
But if it’s been ages since you last tore them apart and deep cleaned them, it’s time to do that. So, disassemble the skates completely and give each part enough focussed attention.
And if you need to deodorize the boots to tackle odors, a dedicated deodorizer does the job. You can also use a mixture of water and vinegar to deal with smelly roller skates.
Did you find this guide helpful? Let me know in the comments below.