How to Clean Grip Tape? A depth Guideline


Something that every skateboard owner should know is; how to clean grip tape. The reason to this is simple; cleaning grip tape is quite tacky. It is not something one can do without any knowledge about it. 

The grip tapes of a skateboard gets dirty quite fast and it is something that annoys most users. Not only is this annoying, but it also reduces the overall grip of the board and reduces performance. 

But worry no more, this article will cover everything you need to know on the following topics. How to clean grip tape, how to clean skateboard grip tape, and how to clean grip tape on a longboard etc. 

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    What is grip tape?

    This is a type of sandpaper or emery that is glued onto the top side of a skateboard or a longboard. Grip tape allows the user to use the board without tripping and helps them have a firm grip of the board.

    What is it made of?

    The grip tape of any board is usually made out of silicone carbide. And it gives friction and resistance between the soles of your shoes and the deck. If there is no friction, you cannot lift board up in the air and you cannot do tricks.

    Almost all grip tapes wears out the more you use it because of the friction. When this happens you will begin to realize that doing tricks is much harder than when you first bought it. but this is nothing to worry about.

    If you come across such a situation, you can either replace the grip or avoid it by good maintenance. To avoid this you need to know how to clean grip tape which this article will guide you on.

    How to clean grip tape

    The following are methods on how to clean your grip tape without grip tape cleaner. It also guides you on how to clean skateboard grip tape at home.

    Method 1

    1. Pour a gentle amount of water onto the skateboard grip tape. 
    2. Now, scrub on the area that you poured water to using a toothbrush
    3. Firmly scrub in a circular motion. Make sure that you are gently pressing the brush onto the grip tape so that it gets all the dirt out. 
    4. Afterwards, use a paper towel to dab on the cleaned area so that it will absorb all the water. 

    This particular method does the least amount of damage to your skateboard unlike most methods. But keep in mind that this method consumes a lot of time and requires a lot of paper towels. And also, it might not get all the dirt out of the grip tape. 

    Method 2

    This method is one of the easiest methods out there. It’s similar to a rubber eraser which you use to remove pencil marks and removes all the dirt from the grip tape. 

    In this method all you have to do is rub the piece of rubber back and forth on the grip tape. You must keep doing this until all the dirt comes out. But keep in mind; in this method if the dirt id deep in the grip tape it might not come off. 

    If you decide to buy this equipment, you can easily find it on Amazon.  You can buy a small piece which is quite affordable and inexpensive. 

    Method 3a

    This particular method is the best option for long board grip tapes. It is one of the cleanest, easiest and sustainable methods out there. This method is done as follows;

    1. Put some water onto your longboard or skateboard. 
    2. Now you must use the wire brush and rub the grip tape in a circular motion.
    3. The more you keep doing this you will start to realize that the dirt is coming out. 
    4. After all the dirt comes off the grip tape you can use a paper towel and dab off all the dirt and water. 

    However, this particular method takes a bit of time. If you’re in a hurry you can try the method below using the same equipment. But keep in mind that this method is a bit harmful on your board. It might also make the grip take less effective. 

    Method 3b

    1. Put your skateboard or longboard under a running tap. But don’t let the board soak in there. 
    2. Next you must find a scrubber that has thick rigid bristles in it. 
    3. While the water is running, use the scrubber and rub the grip tape with it. The water will wash away all the dirt the moment it comes off. 
    4. Now you must use a towel and dry the longboard or skateboard so that it will absorb the water.

    How to clean grip tape WikiHow

    Short Board grip tape

    1. First you must buy a soft wire brush. Keep in mind that it shouldn’t be too sharp that it’ll tear of the grip tape. But rather, sturdy bristles are suitable. You can easily find these from any hardware store or even your local skate shop. 

    2. Brush the grip tape- Starting from one side of the board make your way towards the other side. The more you do this you will see that all the dirt on the grip tape is coming to the surface. 

    When you start to see this brush it off the board with your hand. But keep these points in mind when doing this method. 

    » Don’t press too hard that the tape starts to tear

    » Don’t strip the grit

    » Do this until you can see no dirty spots on the board

    » If there are stains that aren’t coming out, you must replace the grip tape.

    3. Next you must use grip gum and remove the leftover grime. Finding grip gum is not difficult at all, it might even be available at local skate shops. The grip gum you find at skate shops are made specifically for skate boards.

    All you must do is rub the grip gum on the board similar to a pencil eraser. Afterwards, brush away the residue that comes off. Using grip gum helps to make your skateboard look brand new. 

    Longboard grip tape 

    1. Firstly, buy a soft wire brush. Find these at any local skate shop.

    2. Soap water bowl- because long boards are thick they are much resistant to water. Because of this it is safe to use water on longboards. You must mix tap water and soap to make a good skateboard cleaning solution. 

    A medium size bowl is more than enough for this purpose. And you can put a piece of lemon for good smell. But make sure that you don’t submerge your longboard. In case you’re wondering, you can also use window cleaner to clean the grip tape. 

    3. Next dip the brush in cleaning solution and rub the grip tape. You can start from one side make your way towards the other side. Take your time to carefully clean the spots that are messier. 

    Because there is thick grip tape on longboards it takes time to get the dirt out completely. Keep in mind; you can rinse the brush every time it gets dirty. But make sure not to let water get into the board. Also, avoid pushing too hard when brushing as this damage the grit. 

    4. Using a microfiber cloth, dry the grip until it’s dry.

    5. Before you use the board make sure you dried it for at least 3 hours. 

    Note: In case there is residue, use grip gum to get the small spots of dirt out.

    How to clean grip tape without ruining the deck

    A little bit of dirt on your grip tape is not a big issue. But if you step on it with mud you must clean it. But the biggest issue many users face is, many grip tape cleaning methods tend to damage the deck. 

    But the following is one way you can clean grip tape without ruining the deck. 

    The belt sander cleaner method

    There are many ways that you can use to clean grip tape. But this particular method is the easiest and cheapest way to clean skateboard grip tape. The belt sander does a great job at removing dirt off the grip tape. 

    However, this method does take some time. So you will need a good amount of patience if you want it to work.

    1. Firstly you must cut out a piece as long as you can firmly grip it. Or if you want, you can even use the entire block. 

    2. Afterwards, you must rub it on the grip tape firmly in straight lines. Keep checking if you can see the dirt coming off of it. If you don’t see any difference, feel free to rub a bit harder.

    3. The moment you see residue, remove it immediately and keep on rubbing the grip tape. 

    4. You can keep doing this until you feel the grip tape is completely clean. 

    You can do this method if you don’t want to buy new grip tapes. But keep in mind that buying new grip tapes is actually much cheaper. 

    Does water ruin grip tape?

    Most people use skateboards even when it’s raining it affects not only the grip tape but the entire board. When it comes to the deck of the board it is usually made out of wood. When wood gets wet, it becomes soft and deforms. This makes the performance of the board to reduce. 

    When it comes to the grip tape, water makes the grip tape less sticky and makes it ineffective. This might not be obvious if the board gets wet just once. But the more often it gets wet you will realize that the grip tape does not stick as much. 

    Some signs of this are when the tape starts to peel off the board. This is because the grip tape is no longer usable. This is one main reason why you need to know how to clean grip tape carefully without damaging it. 

    Water also has a negative effect on the bearings and the bolts of the skateboard. When the board comes in contact with the bearings, it loses its lubrication. This makes the bolts rust and unusable. When the bolts rust, the skateboard will not move as smoothly as it did before. 

    How to avoid getting the grip tape dirty?

    After you know how to clean grip tape, next you must know how to avoid getting it dirty. The following points are helpful in this case.

    Firstly, you must keep few things in your mind. Do not step on dirt, mud or wet shoes. This is because when your shoes are wet, it rubs on the grip tape. This makes it easier for mud or dirt to stick to it. 

    Also, whenever it is possible, try your best not to skate in dusty areas. This is because when you skate in dusty areas, the chances of your grip tape becoming dirty are high.

    Best grip tape cleaner

    One of the best ways to clean your grip tape is by using grip gum. Grip gum takes out dust, dirt, and mud out of your skate board grip tapes. 

    To use this product all you have to do is using long firm strokes; rub the grip gum on the board. Make sure that you rub it length wise across your skateboard. 

    You can also use grip gum as frequently as you want in order to keep your grip tapes clean. This will help to ensure long lasting grip tapes. You won’t have to replace the tapes all the time once you begin to use grip gum. 

    This product has been there in the market since 1996. And it is one of the world’s leading grip tape cleaners. So if you want to have long lasting grip tapes that are clean, try using grip gum.

    How to apply skateboard grip tape

    Apply skateboard grip tape is not a difficult tasks. All you have to do is follow the proper instructions for brand new grip tape. It is important that you know how to do this as changing skateboard grip tape is necessary. Because damaged grip tape is not effective. 

     Step 1  

    Remove the paper back out of the tape so that the sticky side of the tape is visible. Then use that same paper backing to cover the rough side of the grip tape. This helps to protect your hands from getting hurt when smoothing out the grip tape on the board.  

     Step 2  

    While you hold the grip tape on top of the board make sure to center it carefully. Let the center of the grip tape sag so that it will adhere first. After the center of the tape is adhered, adhere the center from the outer part. Be careful when doing this step as the grip tape is quite sticky. 

    And if you adhere it without centering the tape, the edges of the board won’t have grip tape. This is why you must stick the tape center out so that no air bubbles are there. In case you see air bubbles, pop them with a pin and smooth it out. 

     Step 3  

    In this step use a sharp tool such as the edge of a screw driver and scrape the edges. Do these until you see that the grains are wearing out. When it’s complete you can see a white outline on the grip tape. This shows the outline of the board. 

     Step 4  

    Now you must cutout the excess grip tape. To do this you can use a razor blade and cut starting from the bottom and upwards. You can start at nose or tail and the follow the outline and then move the blade around the edge. Then you can remove the extra grip tape on the board. 

     Step 5  

    And then you must use a metal file to smooth out the edges of the skateboard

     Step 6  

    Where the skateboard truck is mounted, using a screwdriver, poke holes in it.

    Final Verdict

    Said in short, learning how to clean grip tape is not a hard task at all. But you must carefully do this process. This is because, if you recklessly clean it, it damages the grip tape. There are several methods that you can follow when cleaning grip tape. 

    These types depend on the type of board you have, and how efficiently and quickly you want to clean it. But keep in mind the faster you want it clean, the more damage it does to the grip tape. So it is best that you choose a method that requires patience.

    And also, make sure to choose the method depending on what type of board you have. Make sure not to use longboard grip tape cleaning methods on short boards. This harms your board and in worst cases it makes it unusable. 

    So follow all the methods carefully to get clean grip tapes. Hope this article gave you the insight you were looking for on how to clean grip tape.