How to Clean Your Skateboard’s Grip Tape And NOT Ruin It

One of the most annoying things that can happen to you in skateboarding is simply getting your grip tape dirty. It happens so easily sometimes without you realizing. You simply get home after a session and realize your grip tape has is caked in mud.

Getting mud on your grip tape is bad, it clots, sticks together, makes your skateboard look bad and reduces the overall grip. This is especially bad if you need the best performance from your grip.

In today’s article, I’ll go over the best ways to clean skateboard’s grip tape, I’ll give you a few methods so you can find the best solution for your needs and resources.

Method 1: A toothbrush, some water and bunch of paper towels

This method is the least damaging to your grip but it takes the longest time to do and it will use a lot of paper towels and not get ALL the dirt out.

  1. Pour a little bit of water on your grip
  2. Using the toothbrush, scrub on the spot you poured the water.
  3. Scrub firmly in small circles. Make sure you’re really pushing into the grip tape so the dirt is brought out.
  4. Lightly dab with the paper towel so it can absorb the dirty water.

At this point, the grip won’t be 100% clean and you’ll have to repeat the process until you are satisfied. It can be a bit cumbersome and annoying, to be honest, but if you are patient and persistent, you will have pretty clean grip tape.

Finally, I recommend using a single sheet of the towel roll and patting it down so it can really get into the grip and absorb the dirty water. This is key to effectively getting the scrubbed up dirt out.

Method 2: Belt sander cleaner

A bit like a rubber eraser used to remove pencil marks, this will remove the dirt from your grip, it’s the simplest method to use.

You simply rub the rubber back and forth across your grip and the dirt comes out. However, it doesn’t reach too deeply and the dirt that’s harder to get to stays.

You can buy the cleaner at your local hardware store or even off Amazon – some skate companies are now selling small affordable sizes of these. If your grip isn’t too dirty, this is a great longboard maintenance method to use.

Method 3: Wire brush/Plastic brush with tough, rigid bristles

This is the easiest, cleanest and sustainable method in my opinion and probably the best for coarse longboard grip tape.

  1. Pour a bit of water on your board.
  2. Using the wire brush, rub in circles.
  3. All the dirt should come up. Use a paper towel (or a towel) and dab all the dirt away. 

The above method isn’t too fast but it’s the most effective method available. However, below I’ve included my personal method for doing things. Last time I used it literally took me under 15 secs to clean my longboard after skating in the rain and getting it really dirty.

It is a bit destructive and your grip will lose a bit of ‘bite’.

  1. Find a running tap that you can put your board under and get a scrubber that has thick, rigid plastic bristles.
  2. Let the tap run and place your board under it – don’t leave it there to soak in the water.
  3. As the water runs, use the coarse scrubber and scrub across the grip tape back and forth – the water should wash away any dirt as it comes up
  4. Use a cloth to wipe down your board and to absorb any water left on the grip tape.

This method using a wire brush is the best to clean clear grip tape. It gets in real deep and gets all the dirt out, but the scrubber is fastest.

How do I keep my grip from getting dirty?

Keep a couple things in mind, don’t step in mud, dirt or step on your board with wet soles.

When your board gets wet it basically becomes a magnet for dirt.

Also, skating in really dusty spots and stepping in the dirt will make your board dirty but it won’t affect the performance as much.

Dirt and water will also affect the rest of your board, you’ll have to learn how to clean bearings to keep your board in good shape.

So is cleaning your grip worth it?

It depends. For longboarders who spend more than $15 on sheets of grip it certainly is – it isn’t cost effective to replace grip that expensive every time it gets dirty, plus cleaning your grip gives ‘new life’ to your tape and makes it feel almost like new.

However, if you don’t get your grip dirty that often and it comes by cheap ($5 a sheet), it might be easier to replace it and move on with your life.