skateboard bearing lubricant alternatives

Skateboard Bearing Lubricant Alternatives: How to Keep Your Board Rolling Smooth

Debris, dirt and even dried up lubricant can kill your skateboard bearings. A pile up of these substances further increase the wear and tear of the bearings. When the bearings are no longer in their best condition, your wheels are no longer fun to ride. As such, cleaning and lubricating your bearings regularly is important. 

If you are in a tight situation and need to apply lubricant on your skateboard bearing, using skateboard bearing lubricant alternatives will save you and ensures that your board stays smooth rolling. Some use motor oil, and some swear on cooking oil. Are they really good at doing the job? Let us find out in this article. Also, we will look into the most effective alternative options that you can use for your bearings. 

What You Need

  • Preferred lubricant/alternative
  • 91% acetone or alcohol
  • Jar, bowl or cup
  • Razor blade or bobby pin
  • Rag
  • Q-tips

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Remove the Shields

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This part is quite easy. Simply remove the shields using a bobby pin or a razor blade. There is no need to worry even if it is broken. Make sure that when you put the bearings into the wheels again, you should see the outer part of the wheel that has the shield. 

Step 2 – Soak the Bearings

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Next, you can soak the bearings in either acetone or alcohol for about 15 to 30 minutes. It is recommended to use 91% acetone or alcohol in cleaning the bearings. You can also allow the bearings to sit longer as needed, as it is better in removing dirt from the bearings. 

Step 3 – Clean the Bearings

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Before removing the bearings, you may want to shake them first inside a container with a lid. This will further remove grimes and dirt from the bearings. Then, take them off, and clean them using a rag or a q-tip. 

Step 4 – Grease and Lubricate

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Now that the bearings are clean, you can now grease the bearings or oil them using your lubricant or alternative.  

Step 5 – Apply Lubricant or Lubricant Alternative

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If your lubricant of choice is not available, no fret! There are some alternatives that may be available at home that you can use. 

  • Mixture of Turpentine and Beeswax

This combination is a natural alternative to your usual lubricant. It does not need any equipment or skills. Melt beeswax properly, and add turpentine. The latter is also known as paint thinner. Combine them together over medium heat, until the temperature reaches 150 degrees Celsius. Pour the mixture into a container, allowing it to cool before applying on the bearings. 

  • White Lithium Grease

An advantage of using white lithium grease is that it last long. This is because white lithium grease is composed of synthetic oils and natural waxes. It is also naturally able to offer low volatility, which means that it will not degrade or evaporate through time like other lubricants. The only downside of this alternative is its cost. 

  • Silicone Spray

Another popular alternative is silicone spray. It forms a thin layer of lubricant on the bearings. Since it can be directly sprayed from any angle of the bearings, there is no need to worry about oily mess. It also leaves less residue, thus allowing for easier cleanup. 

  • Dry Bearing Cleaner

If your bearing has become dry, there is no need to worry. Apply dry bearing cleaner on a side of the bearing to avoid getting too much oil on the wheels. Unlike grease, this type of lubricant alternative does not evaporate fast. 

  • Oil-Based Lubricant

While WD-40 is a choice that you may have in your mind, it is actually not a recommended option as a lubricant alternative because it is not technically a lubricant, but a solvent. As such, it has the tendency to eat away the plastics in the bearing, thus increasing wear and tear, and the overall lifespan of your bearings. Cooking oils, on the other hand, are better than nothing. They do not evaporate fast, but make sure to apply on one side of the bearings only to avoid your bearing being too oily. 

  • Motor Oil

Motor oil works fine as one of the best skateboard bearing lubricant alternatives. If you opt for this, you can apply two drops, which is usually enough to lubricate your bearings. As mentioned, this is an oil-based lubricant, which is why it is best to apply just lightly. 

  • Vegetable Oil 

Vegetable oil can also serve as a fast substitute for your bearings. Note, however, that this type of oil may have the tendency to attract dust. 

  • Canola Oil

Canola oil is available in both industrial and edible form. You may want to use the industrial form as a bearing lubricant alternative, as it performs really well when applied on skateboard bearings, doorknobs and bikes. 

  • Olive Oil

Olive oil is used by many, just like other vegetable oils, as a bearing lubricant alternative. 

  • PAM Cooking Oil

PAM cooking oil is a cooking spray which may be applied conveniently around the bearings to ensure that they are greased well. 

Step 6 – Re-Seal the Bearings

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Now that you have finally cleaned the bearings, making them dirt and grit free, you can now re-seal the bearings. Remember that the bearing lubricant alternatives mentioned above are just your temporary solution when you are in a pinch. If possible, you can still use your favorite lubricant to relubricate them. This will make sure that the bearings, and thus the skateboard, will function as expected. 


Lubricating and cleaning your skateboard bearings is very important. The good thing about this task is that it is very easy to do. If you cannot find actual bearing lubricants, using skateboard bearing lubricant alternatives will do the job for you. Simply follow the steps mentioned above and get your bearings rolling like new! Also, make sure that the bearings have been thoroughly cleaned before the lubricant is applied. Or else, it will not work. Make sure to do this regularly, as needed. What other alternatives have you tried? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below. 

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