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How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape — 4-Step Wonder!

How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape — 4-Step Wonder!

Oh, there is nothing better! Fresh sticky grip tape.

Not only is it essential for skateboard safety, but it also makes doing those intricate tricks and ollies possible. However, grip tape tends to act like a magnet for dirt and other foreign particles.

It is very hard to keep it clean, and replacing the grip tape is a mission. It’s not expensive to replace grip tape, but removing it correctly and applying new grip tape professionally can be soul-sucking when all you want to do is skate.

Luckily, you can clean your skateboard’s grip tape with much less effort, and if you do so regularly, you won’t have to replace the tape as frequently.

I’ve got you covered with the low-down on how to clean skateboard grip tape right here.


How to Clean Skateboard Griptape

To clean regular skateboard grip tape, you need to use a grip tape cleaner rubber, a wire brush, and a cloth to clean it out effectively. The process involves lifting grit and grime to renew the grip tape to its natural coarse tacky state.


Steps to Cleaning Your Skateboard Grip Tape

Cleaning your skateboard grip tape should be a regular chore if you are serious about skating. If you clean regularly, there will be less buildup of grime and other crud in the grip surface, making cleaning easier.

If it sounds complicated to clean your skateboard grip tape, relax, it isn’t. Follow my step-by-step guide, and you’ll be doing spins, flips, and ollies with confidence in no time at all.


Step One: Get Your Supplies Ready

Get Your Supplies Ready

To clean your skateboard grip tape, you will need the following materials:

  • A section of natural rubber sheet
  • A microfiber cloth
  • A soft wire brush

That’s right, you only need three items!

When you search for grip tape cleaner online, you will find a specialized product that’s the same price as natural rubber, except it’s half the size.

You can opt for this, or you can order a sheet of natural rubber, which you can cut to size for half the price.

The soft wire brush needs to be a soft kind with firm bristles, but not so firm that you will end up removing the grip tape from your board.

A nail brush won’t do, nor will a toothbrush (sorry YouTube, you’ve got it wrong).


Step Two: Start Rubbing

Hold your board firmly in one hand and the section of natural rubber in the other. Avoid letting your board scrape about.

Firmly rub the rubber strip across the grip tape. Do so repeatedly.

You will notice a sticky sensation as the grip starts to rise when the crud deposited in the grip tape surfaces.

Try changing the angle of your grip on the natural rubber strip, then see if there are still particles trapped in your grip tape. If you do this regularly, the process is much quicker as there is less buildup of grime.

However, if you have never done a cleanup for your skateboard, then you may need to patiently work at the grip tape section to excavate any dirt.


Step Three: Start Scrubbing

Once you have removed as much dirt, crud, and grime from the skateboard grip tape with the rubber, you can switch over to polishing the tape with the soft wire brush.

Work in a combination of directions, moving in circles, using long strokes with a side to side motion. Whichever way you move the brush, you will notice more particles coming up off the grip tape.


Step Four: Rub Some More

Being thorough will give you the best results, so after you have loosened the worst ingrained particles with the wire brush, you can put in another round of rubbing with the natural rubber strip.

The result of the whole rubbing and scrubbing process is a great grip tape that is tacky enough to give you real board traction and ensure you can stick your landings like a pro.


Cleaning a Long Board Grip Tape

Cleaning a Longboard Grip Tape

Okay, so you may be a real pro, and you’ve upgraded from a standard skateboard to a longboard. What about cleaning a long board’s grip tape?

Longboards have a different grip tape than shorter skateboards. For starters, the long board’s grip tape is coarser and it is also not permeable to liquids.

A regular skateboard should never be cleaned with water and cleaning solution as this will penetrate the grip tape and soak through your wooden deck of the board.

You can clean a long board’s grip tape with a cleaning solution such as a regular window cleaning solution and water.

This is great to get grease and real grime out of the grip tape, but with a regular skateboard, you will have to resort to manually scrubbing and rubbing.

If you have used a cleaning solution on your longboard, then wait until the grip tape is completely dry before marking it up with the rubber sheet again. This helps improve the grip or tack of the grip tape, so don’t forget to do it.


Frequently Asked Questions about How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape


How do you clean grip tape without ruining it?

For a regular skateboard, always use a rubber strip or grip cleaner to clean grip tape. Cleaning with a rubber strip or grip cleaner stick is safer and you can also scrub your grip tape with a soft metal brush to loosen any dirt or grime.


What is grip tape made of?

Grip tape is made from silicon carbide, which helps with that sticky feeling that keeps your rubber shoes on the deck of the board. Without grip tape, the board would easily slide out from under your shoes.


The Last Grip

Now that you know how to clean grip tape like a pro, there’s no excuse not to do so frequently.

Seriously! You will get a much better life out of your grip tape, and you will have a neater and cleaner board too.

Be sure to keep a slip of rubber in your skating bag, along with a small metal brush, and you can clean your board grip tape on the fly too.

I remember cleaning mine on the bus as a kid while I headed to the downtown skate parks. Clean when you can and fly those tricks with grip and confidence.