Save 20% and Come Along for the Ride!

Hey there, Ethan here from WAVE ARCADE. This project has been a hobby of mine, but I'm finally giving it the attention it deserves. Sign up to save on WAVE ARCADE art, plus hear some stories about surfing, skating in your 30s, creating things, and more. Talk soon!

How to Clean Your Skateboard’s Grip Tape (Full Guide)

Your skateboard’s grip tape is bound to get dirty over time.

You might be here because you like to keep your board clean… or it’s gotten to the point where you’ve noticed the debris on your deck is compromising the grip.

Look no further for the best methods to return your grip tape to top shape.

When and Why Should You Clean Your Grip Tape

Your skateboarding performance relies on grip tape that’s in decent condition.

Without it, you won’t be able to ride your board or perform tricks—you’ll slide right off your board. When grip tape is in an ideal condition, your shoes will stick to your deck and give you great control.

Getting into the habit of regularly cleaning your grip tape is a great practice because the more you do it, the longer it will last.

Keep an eye on how dirty your board is getting—anything from dust from storing your board indoors to dirt from riding outside can compromise your next skate session.

It’s impossible to fully avoid getting your skateboard dirty, but it is best practice to avoid skating outdoors where it’s muddy, dirty, or wet.

If you’re just now learning about this important chore while your grip tape performance has already been compromised, don’t worry, you can still clean it. 

Method for Cleaning Grip Tape

There are a few different proven methods to get your grip tape back into good condition.

But, you should never try to use water or household cleaning products. Any liquid should be kept away from your board as it will damage the wood. Check out these proven methods below with step-by-step instructions.

1. Belt Sander Method

This is the most popular method for cleaning grip tape because it is cheap and effective.

Tools Needed

  • Belt sander cleaner (can usually be purchased online for about $10)
  • (Optional) a glove to protect your fingers and knuckles from getting hurt in the grinding process

Steps to Clean

  1. Decide if you want to use the whole block or cut off a smaller piece that is easier to hold.
  2. Use the belt sander to firmly rub the dirty part of your skateboard deck. If it isn’t making a difference at first, apply more pressure.
  3. Remove any residue that gets stuck to the stick and continue rubbing.
  4. Repeat until you are happy with the results.

2. Grip Tape Gum Method

This method is great for debris that is loose and relatively easy to remove.

Tools Needed

  • “Grip gum” from your local skate store or online OR go to an art store and ask for a “rubber cement pickup eraser” if you want a cheaper option

Steps to Clean

  1. Firmly grip the grip gum.
  2. Rub it across the dirty areas of your grip tape.
  3. Repeat until your deck is clean.

3. Brass Wire Brush Method

This method is best used for stubborn messes on your grip tape that you weren’t able to clean up with the above methods. Important: be careful with this one, as the brush is strong and can damage the tape if used with too much pressure.

Tools Needed

  • Brass wire brush

Steps to Clean

  1. Brush the grip tape using circular movements.
  2. Wipe off the dirt that comes to the surface.
  3. Repeat until the deck is clean.

4. Hair Dryer Method

This method is best if you are trying to remove wax from your grip tape. It’s not rare to step onto waxed ledges and then back onto your board, caking it deep into the surface. Heat is your best friend.

Tools Needed

  • Hair dryer
  • Paper towel

Steps to Clean

  1. Use the hair dryer to heat up the wax.
  2. Wipe off the melted wax.
  3. Repeat until all wax is removed.
Shopping Cart