As a skateboarder, it’s important to know how your skateboard works and how to take care of it. Hence, you’ll need to understand about each component on the board and their maintenances.
The grip tape, being one of the most important components on your skateboard, require frequent cleaning to ensure its longevity and functionality.
What’s a grip tape and why you need to clean your grip tape?
In case you’re a beginner and haven’t noticed yet, the surface of your skateboard feature a rough and sticky layer. It’s called the grip tape, and it’s responsible for providing better grip for your feet. This allows you to stand on the board comfortably while maintaining better control over it. The frictional surface also enhances your grip when doing tricks.
After extended use, your grip tape would likely to be covered in dust and stain. This reduces the amount of grip you have on the board and makes it more difficult to skate on it. In additions, it’s also more dangerous to skate on a skateboard with dirty grip tape, you can easily lose your grip and fall off the board, causing serious injuries.
With that being said, it’s always good to know how to clean your grip tape if you’re into skateboarding.
How to clean grip tape?
It’s always important to clean your grip tape frequently. This helps maintain its good condition and make your grip tape more durable. If you neglect for too long, simple dust particles will turn into giant and bulky stains that are hard to wipe out.
Most of the time, your skateboard will get dirty due to the dust and dirt that are on your shoes. So dusty grip tape has always been a norm if you’ve been practicing skateboarding long enough. To clean it, there are many different methods, and to be honest, whatever you do, it’ll probably work. It’s only dust, you can easily wipe them out or wash them out using water.
But if you’re looking for a quick and easy method, then the grip gum would be an awesome choice. You can purchase it in any skate shop around you and they’re great for fast cleaning your board. You’ll just have to lay the board on the ground with the deck facing up. Use the grip gum to scrub on the dusty surface and it’ll suck all the small particles that are sticking on your grip tape.
The effect is instantaneously and it’ll only take about 30 seconds before your board becomes clean once again.
Not like dust, stains can be really difficult to deal with. And even with the useful grip gum, it wouldn’t work. However, if the stain is still relatively new, you can easily treat them using any cleaning solutions, sometimes even water.
Just spray some of the cleaning solutions on the board and wait a little bit until the stain and dirt are softened. The use a brush and give your grip tape a few scrubs to break off the dirt and stain. Do this until you’ve gotten rid of all the dirt.
And occasionally, your grip tape might get dirty from paints and things like that. In these cases, petrol can be great detergent.
For tougher ones
If you’ve neglected your skateboard for long enough, then the grip tape will likely to be covered in stains and dirty spots. This requires a more throughout cleaning. And here is how you should do it:
- Start by using the grip gum to get rid of all the dust on the surface of your grip tape. After you do this, there might still be dust that is stuck deep on the surface of the board. So using a brass brush would be a good idea. The flexible brush will help you reach the tough and sticky dust that can’t be removed by a grip gum, then force them to the surface. Then you can use the grip gum to wipe them away.
- For sticky stains, a steel brush might come in handy if your usual brass brush doesn’t work. Start by applying any detergent on your grip tape just like what you always do with stain. Once it starts to kick in, you’ll need to use your steel brush to scrub on the grip tape to force the stain away. Then use clean tissues and gently tap on the surface to suck it away.
How to remove grip tape?
But no matter how good you’ve taken care of your grip tape, it’ll eventually wear down and become unusable. If that happens to you, then it’s time to replace your old grip tape with a new one.
Now, I’ve seen people try many different ways on it and they all have their points. For me, I’ve developed a method of my own over the years and I’ve always found it quite effective. Plus, it’s also quite simple to do. Here how you do it:
- For this method, the only thing you’ll need is a blow dryer, a flat screwdriver, and maybe a razor blade if you have one. Start by removing the trucks from your deck using the screwdriver. Then position the deck firmly between your thighs with its tail pointing upward.
- Use your screwdriver to penetrate the glue between the grip tape and the deck to create a gap between them. The gap should be enough for placing your finger in to pull the tape out. If you have a razor blade, things could be a little easier. But make sure you’re old enough to handle it, for kids, it’s best to ask your parents to do it to keep you from hurting yourself.
- After you’ve done it, place your board on the ground with the grip tape facing up and sit on it to position it firmly. Set the blow dryer to its maximum heat level and apply it directly on the grip tape, specifically the area that you’re going to pull out first.
- Once you finish doing it, place your fingers on the gap between the board and the grip tape, and start pulling it toward you. Make sure you distribute the force evenly so the grip tape will come off all the way through. Stop whenever you feel like it is getting a lot difficult to pull and reapply the heat on the grip tape surface. Keep doing it until you’ve completely ripped it off your board.
Note: Once you’ve reached halfway through the board, you need to switch your position and start sitting on the peeled side. Then pull the grip tape to the opposite direction. Moreover, you need to pay attention when pulling through the holes for mounting the trucks, since the grip can easily tear apart. Keep your finger close to the board when pulling to ensure the tape come out properly.
How to apply new grip tape?
Now you’ve ripped off your old grip tape, it’s time to put on a new one. You can purchase grip tape at any of your local skate store or online shops. Once you’ve got it, let’s apply it on your board:
- First, you need to clean your deck to get rid of any excess glue or dust that might affect the grip tape. Once it’s properly cleaned, you can start putting the new grip tape on it.
- Start by peeling away the paper backing of your grip tape and stretch it with both of your hands. Gently stick one end on the surface board while still stretch the other. Use your free hand to slowly tap on the grip tape to apply it on the board, make sure you do it carefully to avoid air bubbles.
- Once you’ve done, hold the deck straight to your eyes to check for air bubbles. If you notice a few of them, you can use a razor blade to create a hole on it to force the air out. With that being done, the last thing to do is cutting off the excess tape.
- Place your deck firmly on the table, use anything that has a rough texture to rub around the edges of the board. This would print the shape of the skateboard on its grip tape making it extremely easy to cut off the excess tape. After that, all you’ll need to do is using your razor blade and follow the printed shape to cut off the tape. But don’t throw the leftover tape away just yet, you can use it to scrub around the edges of your board as sandpaper. Use nails to penetrate through the mounting holes and you can reinstall the trucks on it.
And that’s all you need to know about cleaning your grip tape. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in our future posts.