How to clean the grip tape of a skateboard

July 6, 2021 | Skateboarding
Skateboards: once in a while you've got to rub the dirt off your grip tape | Photo: Shutterstock

The skateboard grip tape is in constant contact with mud, sand, soil, liquids, asphalt grime, and wax. Learn how to clean it properly when it really gets dirty.

Skateboarders ride everything, everywhere.

They're on the sidewalks of busy city centers, on dusty skateparks, going down a mountain road and pushing their boards in all types of terrains.

They're also constantly stepping off the skateboard and getting their shoes in contact with dirty pavements and greasy surfaces.

A grimy grip tape is less effective and won't help you land even the most basic tricks.

In other words, a slippery grip tape is pretty much useless and will feel like riding without one.

One of the skaters' greatest challenges is keeping their grip tape clean all the time to maintain its properties intact and make it last longer.

Depending on the spots you're riding at, it's quite easy to get a brand new sheet of grip tape dirty in a matter of minutes or hours.

And if you're one of those who want to keep it shiny and new all the time, a medium dirty deck is not an option.

Obviously, there's no need to replace a grip tape every week - or even every month - even if you're riding your skateboard actively daily.

The solution is learning how to get the dirt off of it, clean it thoroughly, and restore its grip power.

But the trick is to do it without causing any harm to the grip tape's core characteristics - its grippiness has to remain intact.

Sanding belt cleaner: a natural rubber that can be used on a skateboard grip tape

Rubber Instead of Solvents

There are several techniques for keeping your grip tape clean and free from asphalt grime, dirt, and dust.

One of the earliest approaches was using products with solvents like window cleaners to remove the dirt from skateboards.

The problem is that these substances affect the resin that holds the grit together and may even damage the deck if it reaches the wooden layers.

One of the easiest and most effective methods is getting a proper grip tape cleaner for skateboards.

A grip tape cleaner is a small block of a natural rubber-type material that removes the dirt from your deck in seconds.

Several companies sell specific solutions for skateboards, but their formula is similar to sanding belt cleaners.

A single gummy cube costs around five dollars and can be used around 500 times. A longer bar can be bought for under 20 dollars and will last forever.

And then, all you need to do is use it as a pencil rubber.

Cleaning a Skateboard Grip Tape

Once you get the brownish rubber bar, chop it into small pieces for easier handling.

Then, rub the dirt remover across the grip tape in long, firm strokes while applying pressure - you'll notice overall improvements in cleanliness and traction.

The method is similar to a pencil eraser - it does take some work, especially if your deck is filthy, but it's definitely worth it.

If the natural rubber only removes dust from the surface of the grip tape, try using a soft wire brush to remove dirt that is stuck deep into the traction sheet.

Then, once the crud has been released, rub it off with the sanding belt cleaner, and the dirt will come off.

You can also use a little water to loosen up the dirt before scrubbing it with the soft wire brush.

Finally, use a rag or soft towel to soak up the mud that has been created, let it dry, and use the natural rubber to remove the remaining dirt.

If your grip tape is just old and worn down, consider removing it and applying a new traction sheet.