How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape without Ruining Deck

Is your skateboard slipping out of your feet due to dirty grip tape? Perhaps you are wondering if cleaning will damage the deck. No, it will not! I’m going to explain pro guide on how to clean skateboard grip tape without ruining it. This method is tested and used by professionals.

Skateboarders perform better when this gritty layer is dirt-free. And it’s true that a skateboard grip tape is not just an accessory, it’s the difference between controlling your board or watching it fly off in different directions.

Remember not to use household objects or hard scrubbers to clean it, chances are to damage the deck. Let’s get to the cleaning process.

How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape


How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape at Home

When a skateboard gets dirty and grimy, you feel like you are walking on a sandpaper. Thus, just like anything else that gets used on a daily basis, skateboards need to be cleaned and maintained periodically.

You probably got a skateboard deck full of mud, dirt and stains and want to know how to clean skateboard grip tape at home. It’s actually pretty easy by using household items – here’s how to do it;

Things Required

  • Soft brass wired brush
  • Clean microfiber cloth or towel
  • Toothbrush and water (for dry mud)
  • Paper towel
  • Natural rubber
  • Hairdryer

“All of these items are inexpensive and mostly kept at home”.

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Step: 1

Wipe all the dirt nicely from the grip tape using a piece of towel. Make sure to clear all corners and sides of the deck. This should clean the soft dust that sticks on the board while riding and stepping on it.


Step: 2

Take a Soft Wired Brush and scrub the grip tape gently from one end to the other. This will clear the dirt hidden deep in the holes. It is recommended to use soft bristles brush, hard bristles will scratch and damage the tape.


Step: 3

Take a piece of natural rubber and rub it back and forth across the grip tape. This will erase the dirt, and brush away the residue.

Is it too dirty to clean? Here’s how you can remove grip tape and apply a new one on a deck.


Clean Dry Mud on the Deck

cleaning grip tapeDid you leave your skateboard without cleaning it after skating in a valley? Well, that mud must have been dried on the grip tape and now it’s time to clean it nicely without ruining the deck.

Note: do not wash the deck with water, the grip tape may lose the adhesive due to wetness.

Here’s what you should do to clean the dry mud,

  • Dip a brass brush or a toothbrush to soak the bristles nicely
  • Gently rub wet bristles on the mud in the circle
  • Immediately wipe the dirty water from the grip tape using a towel or Paper Towel and do not let the water soak into the grip tape
  • Repeat the process until all the mud has been cleaned
  • Dry the grip tape in sun or use a Hairdryer (do not use high heat)
  • Scrub the natural rubber back and forth to eliminate the leftover dirt, wipe away the residue

Avoid using any liquid to clean electric skateboards.


Cleaning Grip Tape with Skateboard Cleaner

Grip Tape is the sandpaper-like material on your deck that you put your feet on to help keep you from slipping off while coasting. Eventually, this stuff gets covered in all kinds of dirt, grime, and filth. This can be very dangerous for several reasons.

Not only could you injure yourself by slipping off when riding, but you could also hurt someone else when they step on your board. Also, the dirt and grime build-up causes your grip tape to lose traction. Even though this is a safety issue, it’s probably the least serious problem you’ll have if you neglect cleaning your grip tape.

cleaning skateboard grip tape

A skateboard cleaner is a Grip Gum that is used to clean the grip tape on the deck. Most skate shops sell this rubber-like grip gum specifically for skateboards. It works perfectly to eliminate dirt from the grip tape.

This is how you clean grip tape using skateboard cleaner: thoroughly rub or scrub the grip gum on the grip tape like a pencil eraser. You will see dirt accumulating and bulking up some residue. Gently wipe away the remainder and keep repeating the process until the deck looks new.

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What to Avoid while Cleaning Grip Tape

Avoid the following when cleaning your grip tape because you could ruin your deck, your grip tape, or both.

  • Avoid using anything abrasive on your grip tape, this will wear down the top layer of your deck, causing it to be “brittle.” It can also ruin the adhesive that attaches the grip tape to the board, which causes it to peel off.
  • Do not use Sandpaper or Steel Wool because they are too abrasive for most decks and will ruin your grip tape by wearing down the top layer of your deck.
  • Do not use Acetone or Lacquer thinner because they are solvent-based, which means that it’s oil-based. The grip tape is made of urethane, which is also an oil-based product. Essentially this will dissolve your grip tape.
  • Avoid Window Cleaner or any liquid cleaner that has chemicals in it

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Neglecting Cleaning Grip Tape

Neglecting to clean your grip tape can lead to major problems for your deck in the long run, including broken or ripped grip tape or even little pieces peeling off of the top layer of wood that is then in turn ground into dust by the bearings in the wheels. These are both very expensive repairs to make.

But before you go out spending money on a skateboard, consider cleaning your grip tape first. Do not neglect grip tape cleaning to avoid major repairs.

Also, read the guide on cleaning your skateboard bearings for smoother rides.


Final Verdict

Some skaters don’t care about the dirt on the grip tape, even though it affects their performance. It’s not hard to clean the deck. It is recommended to clean the grip tape right away to maintain the performance of the board.

On the other hand, it will be difficult to clean the grip tape if you leave the dirt on it for a long time. I personally hate when my feet slip off the deck, this is why I prefer to keep the deck clean by performing the aforementioned method of how to clean skateboard grip tape.

Also, read the guide on cleaning skateboard wheels to regain speed.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you clean skate board grip tape?

Yes, you can clean skate board grip tape easily by using a Grip Gum. It is like a rubber gum that most skate shops sell to clean skateboards. Rub the grip gum back and forth on the deck repeatedly and wipe away the residue. Keep repeating the process from one side to the other until the grip tape looks new.


How do you wash grip tape without ruining it?

It is recommended to clean the grip tape using a skateboard cleaner. Purchase grip gum from a skateboard shop, rub it on the grip tape back and forth just like pencil rubber and wipe the residue. Repeat the process until the deck looks neat.


Does water ruin grip tape?

Yes, water can ruin grip tape. Water is bad for grip tape, it may damage the adhesive, or deck, or both. The gripe tape may lose the adhesive and gets lost due to repeated wetting and drying processes.



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