Skateboard Tech: Clean Skateboard Grip Tape

Author: Rat Vision – Skateboard Tech | Source: YouTube.com

Learn How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape by using natural rubber pieces. Most videos and websites explain how to clean grip tape using window cleaner and scrubbing with a toothbrush. This can actually do more harm than good.

Grip tape is made of different layers of material. The windex can affect the material and damage the grip tape. Some brands of skateboard grip tape are perforated. This means very tiny holes are all over the grip tape. What this does is help eliminate air bubbles when applying the grip tape to a skateboard.

Perforated grip tape allows window cleaner or water to soak through and possibly ruin the adhesive of the grip tape and damage the wood of the deck.

We recommend cleaning skateboard grip tape with natural rubber pieces. At skate shops this rubber is sold as the brand name Grip Gum. This same rubber can be found at almost any hardware store and is known as “belt sander cleaner”. Grip Gum and belt sander cleaner are sold between $6-8. These pieces will last for a large number of grip tape cleanings. At nearly any art supply store you can find small pieces of rubber for about $2 that is called “rubber cement pick-up” or “crepe rubber”.

Unfortunately, these rubber pieces clean only the dirt and dust on the top surface of the grip tape. In order to get into deep in the grit you need to scrub it off. Many videos demonstrate using a toothbrush. This may work for some jobs, but for most jobs a toothbrush will not get down deep or scrub hard enough. The bristles are not tough and durable enough to do a good job on street or longboard skateboard grip tape.

The best brush to use is a soft brass wire brush. A brass wire brush is able to scrub hard enough to remove crud down deep in the grip tape, and the bristles are not too stiff or hard to damage the sharp edges of the grit.

Steps for cleaning standard (Street) grip tape:
1. Scrub dirty spots with wire brush
2. Scrub/wipe off dirt with natural rubber piece.

For really coarse grit in longboard grip tape the wire brush and rubber piece may not get the job done. Since, these grip tapes are very coarse they require a lot of resin to hold the grit, which makes these grip tapes incapable of being perforated. Because these grip tapes are not perforated it is OK to use water if needed.

Steps for Cleaning coarse longboard grip tape:
1. Dip wire brush in water
2. Scrub dirty spots with wire brush
3. Pat the wet or “muddy” area with a towel until dry. Avoid paper if possible, since it tears in the grip tape. Use a hair dryer to dry the grip tape quickly. Avoid high heat. The rubber will slide easily and clean poorly when wet or on a wet surface. This is why it is best to dry the grip tape as much as possible before using the rubber.
4. Scrub the remaining dirt/dust with the rubber piece.

Clear or colored grip tape cleaning:
Clear and colored grip tape use Aluminum Oxide grip. DO NOT use a wire brush for clear or colored grip tape. Colored grip tape actually uses a colored resin that holds the clear (aluminum oxide) grit in place. If you scratch this grip tape with a bush it will make the grit turn white.

Instructions:
1. Try using a natural rubber and see if that cleans the grip tape to your satisfaction.
2. If the grip is still too dirty you can use a lightly damp cloth to clean the grip tape, and then use the rubber to clean it even further.

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