One of the most important components on a skateboard is the grip tape. It provides traction between your feet and the board so that you can push or flip while riding. But over time, this piece of equipment tends to get dirty from the dirt and other substances such as dust. It can also get damaged, which makes it lose its adhesive property. Once that happens, you will find it pretty hard to keep your feet on the board.
The good thing is that getting dirty grip tape doesn’t mean you need to buy a new one because it can be cleaned using items found in your home.
Here’s how to clean grip tape:
1. Use toothpaste and baking soda
Toothpaste has components like sodium lauryl sulfate, calcium carbonate, sorbitol, hydrated silica, glycerine, flavorings, and color additives which are abrasives that can help deep clean your grip tape, especially if they’re made of wood or fiberglass boards (not plastic). For this method, mix two parts of water with one part baking soda, then add about 4-5 drops of toothpaste until you get desired consistency. Pour the solution on your grip tape and rub one side of it with a piece of soft foam, then rinse it thoroughly afterward.
2. Use WD-40
WD-40 is an abbreviation for water displacement 40th formula, which was developed in 1953 by the Rocket Chemical Company (now known as WD-40 Company). This product has many uses, lubricating metal parts being one of them. It also contains petroleum distillates like kerosene or lighter fluid, but they evaporate quickly after spraying, making this product safe to use even on skin contact without leaving stains. To clean your dirty grip tape using this method, apply some WD-40 directly on it, then wipe off excess oil dishwashing liquid or dish soap.
3. Use rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol has a solvent effect on dirt and stains, making it effective in clean grip tape. This is especially helpful if your skateboard or longboard is made of plastic, as other solvents may leave marks that are hard to remove. To this method, you have to pour a bit of rubbing alcohol directly on the grip tape then rub it with a soft cloth until all residues are removed. Afterward, wipe off excess liquid using a dry towel or cloth so you can dry the board properly before putting shoes over it again.
4. Use acetone
Acetone is a colorless organic compound that easily dissolves substances like grease, rubber, nail polish, and solid plastics through permanent solvation. This product dries quickly, so you should wear protective gloves to avoid skin contact then cover surrounding areas before applying. It also has a strong odor, so be sure to work in an area with good ventilation. To use this method, pour acetone on the grip tape, wipe off residues using your hand or soft cloth until clean after about 5 minutes. Wipe excess dry liquid afterward.
5. Use biodegradable dish soap
Dishwashing liquid contains ingredients that help break down greasy dirt, making them easy to wash away. Mix one part water with two parts dishwashing liquid, then spray the solution directly on the grip tape and wipe it off using a piece of soft sponge or cloth until all grime is removed from it. Rinse thoroughly afterward, then wipe excess dry liquid using a dry towel or cloth.
6. Use a toothbrush and baking soda paste
A toothbrush can help deep clean rubber parts, especially when combined with baking soda to make a paste that has mild abrasive properties, making it great in cleaning dirt and other stains on your grip tape without damaging them completely. To this method, start by mixing water with salt until you get a pasty consistency, then add in some baking soda until the solution is in a thick but fluid state (feel free to add more if needed). Dab mixture onto dirty areas of grip tape then rubs in a circular motion using a toothbrush. Wipe off residues using dampened cotton swabs or soft cloths.
7. Use a pumice stone
Pumice stone is a porous rock formed by the accumulation and consolidation of foam glass which contains air bubbles during the formation process. This makes it great to scrub dirt and grease from surfaces like plastic, rubber, and grip tape. To this method, dampen your grip tape, then rub it with a piece of pumice until clean or no visible residues are left on it after about 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly afterward so you can dry it properly before putting shoes over it again.
8. Use PVC pipe
Scouring pads or disks made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or other abrasive materials can help deep clean dirty areas on your grip tape, especially if they’re wood or fiberglass. To use this, dampen the grip tape, then rub it back and forth with a piece of PVC until the dirt is completely removed from it or until there are no residues left after about 5 minutes.
9. Use Denture cleaning tablets
Denture cleaning tablets contain an abrasive material called Calcium Carbonate, which can help clean your dirty grip tape without scrubbing too hard, damaging it several times. Just pour water on your grip tape, then dip one tablet in it before placing it inside of a zip-lock baggie to dissolve fully after about 30 seconds. Let sit for another 2 minutes before removing and wiping excess liquid with a dry towel or cloth. Afterward, wipe dry to have a clean surface again before putting shoes over it again.
10. Use baby oil
Baby oil is a good alternative for cleaning your grip tape without the use of harsh and abrasive chemicals like acetone and gasoline, which can damage your board after several times. Just pour some baby oil on dirty areas, then wipe off using a dry cloth or towel after several minutes. You can also add some baking soda to make a paste out of it, then apply on grip tape before wiping clean with a clean piece of cloth or towel afterward.
11. Use Lighter Fluid
Lighter fluid is a mixture of different hydrocarbons that can help remove dirt from your grip tape and other surfaces due to its low boiling point and having properties similar to those found in gasoline, which is why you need to use gloves when handling it. To this method, pour lighter fluid onto dirty areas, then wipe it clean using a dampened cloth or sponge until all residues are removed from the grip tape after about 5 minutes before wiping excess dry liquid with a dry cloth or towel afterward.
12. Use Metal Polish Cream
Metal polish cream contains mild abrasive material like carnauba wax and sometimes even oxalic acid, which can help remove dirt and grime from surfaces, including your grip tape. Just apply a small amount on dirty areas of the grip tape, then scrub using a soft piece of cloth or cotton bud covered with one end with some 00 steel wool until clean after about 5 minutes or until all dirt is gone. Rinse thoroughly afterward so you can dry it properly before putting shoes over it again.
If you want to keep your grip tape looking good for the long haul, the discussed methods on how to clean grip tape. If you want the easiest way, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub it in with your hands until the surface is dry. To ensure that all of the dirt has been removed from under your grips, take them off and scrub thoroughly using soap or dish detergent mixed with warm water. Once they’re done washing up, let them air dry before putting them back on.