Cleaning and lubricating speed skating bearings
Cleaning bearings removes dirt and old lubricant from inside of the bearing. Often, heavier lubricants cause dirt to become trapped within the bearing over time, so the cleaning agent used should act on the old lubricant as well as flush the bearing clean.
Depending on your choice of lubricant and the frequency you clean your bearings, you may clean them with soapy water, environmentally-friendly cleaner (citrus based), or solvent (White Spirits).
The more regularly you clean your bearings, the easier they are to clean. Dirt that has been inside a bearing for some time is more difficult to remove.
- Clean your bearings in a container that allows the bearing to be suspended off the bottom of the container. This will allow dirt to fall out of, and away from, the bearing.
- Agitate your bearings in cleaning solution with the open (unshielded) side down, to allow dirt to leave the bearing.
- Don’t soak bearings for long periods in cleaning solution as it can promote rust or damage the synthetic parts of the bearing (nylon cages, rubber shields and seals).
- Check the bearing is clean by removing it from solution, tapping it open side down on paper, then spinning it between your fingers. You’ll know if you’ve cleaned it.
- Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the bearing’s free spin.
- Air dry your bearings thoroughly, don’t use hot air.
- Lubricate your bearings as soon as they are dry.
- Store cleaned, lubricated bearings away from moisture.
Following the lubricant instructions, apply a small amount into the open side of each bearing. Spin in your fingers to coat the inner surfaces well, then wipe off any excess from the outside of the bearing.