Riding your scooter or skateboard for fun or commuting faster to school or work is great. But just like any other personal item, your scooter also needs maintenance and, if you need help in finding new parts, you can find out more here. However, if you simply need to clean your griptape, which is quite likely to get dirty especially if you’ve been riding in bad weather, here is what you need to know.
Why clean the griptape?
One obvious reason is that it looks bad if it’s full of dust, dried mud, or other stains. Of course, since this is the part of the scooter or skateboard where you keep your feet on, it’s not like you have to make it squeaky clean. Nonetheless, you can give it a proper clean every now and then so that it doesn’t look bad, making you less eager to go for a ride.
Another good reason to want to maintain your griptape clean is that this way you can enjoy a better experience. When the deck is dirty and covered in mud, the grip traction and resistance are reduced. This makes it harder for you to keep your feet on the deck and, in case of skateboards, to manage to perform your usual stunts.
Overall, cleaning the griptape is recommended on the one hand because it will enable you to enjoy a lasting grip and, on the other hand, it will help you maintain your scooter or skateboard in a good shape and maximize its lifespan.
Of course, you could opt for replacing the griptape instead of cleaning it, but that would be a costly and time-consuming solution. On the other hand, by taking only a few minutes to clean it, you can make it look and feel good.
What do you need to clean the griptape?
There aren’t a lot of items you need if you want to clean your griptape. A soft wire brush and a cloth, ideally made of microfiber, can be enough. The brush you choose should be solid enough to do a good job, but not too sharp, as otherwise, it can actually ruin the texture of the griptape.
The smaller the brush is, the easier it will be for you to thoroughly clean the griptape. If you don’t have a brush and you desperately need to clean your griptape, an old toothbrush will do the job equally well, although it will take more time to get the job done.
Since these items are quite cheap and you probably already have them at home and use them for cleaning different other objects, you can get down to work at any time. One piece of advice you shouldn’t ignore is making sure the cloth and brush are clean both before and after you use them.
How to clean the griptape efficiently?
There are a few easy steps you have to take to clean it efficiently. You start by brushing the griptape, starting from one of its ends and slowly moving toward the opposite end. You might be surprised to see how much dirt and dry mud adhere to this surface, but don’t rush to clean it all off in a matter of seconds.
Take your time to do a thorough job and, most importantly, don’t press the brush too hard because it can tear the griptape. Move the brush slowly until you see that there is no more dirt or stains left.
After you are done brushing the surface, you should use grip gum to remove the leftovers. This product is easy to find in any shop that sells skateboards, for example, but you can also order it online. The gum is very easy to use; cleaning tape with it is like eliminating pencil marks from a piece of paper.
The grip gum is a special cleaning product that does a great job at restoring the tape’s good looks. If you can’t find this type of gum, you can use a cement eraser that can work equally well.
An alternative to cleaning the grip tape only with brush and gum is cleaning it with water. This method is usually better for longboards. If you want to try this on your longboard or scooter, you start by filling a bowl with water and soap.
You don’t need a lot of water and, if you want to enhance the result, you can add lemon juice to the mixture. This will also enhance the smell. Another common alternative that can work well is using a window cleaner.
Remember that you won’t submerge the scooter or longboard in water, so you don’t need to fill the tub. You only apply the cleaning solution with the brush. You start by scrubbing the tape at one end and move toward the opposite end.
If the board is dirty, scrub it thoroughly until the stains are gone. If you have a wooden longboard, make sure you don’t spill water on its surface as it can damage it. Proceed slowly with the brush until the griptape is clean. Each time the brush becomes dirty, dip it again in water.
When you are done and there are no more stains left, it’s time to dry the grip tape and any other parts of the skateboard or the scooter that are wet. You need to use the microfiber cloth for this and slowly pat the surface to soak up the moisture.
It’s important to dry the tape after you clean it with soap and water because, otherwise, it can start peeling as the water reaches the adhesive that keeps it in place.
Finally, check that the bottom of the skateboard or scooter is also dry before you conclude the operation. Also, it’s good to avoid using toilet paper or paper towels to dry the board because they will get moist and leave a mess behind.
When you are done, you should wait for two or three hours until the surface is completely dry and then, you can safely go out for a ride.
Griptape replacement and maintenance tips
Besides cleaning your griptape every now and then, there are a few tips that can help you take care of it so that it has a long lifespan. One of these maintenance tips implies applying a homemade solution onto the griptape in order to eliminate the persistent stains that won’t go away with soap and water.
This solution is a mixture of white vinegar and baking powder. Mix the two ingredients separately and then, apply the solution to your scooter or skateboard griptape. Wait for a few minutes and then clean the surface with water. After you rinse, dry the surface carefully using a clean cloth or towel.
If you’ve been cleaning your old griptape repeatedly and you see that it has started to wear out despite your maintenance efforts, it might be time to change it. This material is not meant to last for decades and if you step on it every day, or perform ‘aggressive’ tricks, you will surely need to replace it after a while.
Once you buy a new griptape, you start by detaching the truck from the scooter or skateboard deck. Then, you need to get a knife and a hairdryer. With the hairdryer, you have to heat the griptape’s surface so that the adhesive that keeps it in place gets warm and allows the material to come off.
You start heating the board at either one of its ends, and not in the middle, as you will later need to pull the griptape from one of the extremities. After the adhesive is no longer solid, it’s time to take the griptape off by inserting the knife beneath the edges slowly and peeling it off. Be careful when you do this and take your time because hurrying might lead to injuries.
To apply the new griptape, follow the instructions provided on the product you purchased. Typically, you have to take off the paper that’s attached to the tape’s back, carefully position the new tape on the surface and press it. In the end, use a file to scrape the edges.
Cleaning the griptape of your scooter or skateboard is not difficult, but you have to take your time and do this slowly and carefully if you want to get good results.