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How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape: Keep Landing Tricks

Stop missing tricks. Learn how to clean grip tape so you can land them properly.

If you enjoy riding on a scooter or a Onewheel or landing tricks on a skateboard, then you know how important it is to have clean grip tape. Dirty grip tape not only makes skateboards harder to ride but may also cost you money and make it difficult to keep your board in good shape. Plus if you have Mouse grip tape, you’ll want to keep it clean.

We are here today to share tips on how to clean skateboard grip tape at home so you can continue to land your favorite tricks.

Key Takeaways

  • Clean grip tape improves skateboard traction and helps maintain its condition.
  • Use grip gum and a soft wire brush to clean grip tape on skateboards, avoiding water and liquid cleaners.
  • Longboard grip tape can be cleaned with soapy water or glass cleaner, using a soft wire brush and a microfiber cloth to dry.
  • Grip tape typically lasts 6 to 18 months before needing replacement.

How Often to Clean Grip Tape

The increased traction you get with clean grip tape makes riding a skateboard so much easier. It also helps you keep your board in good shape. You’ll need to clean your board when you have mild to heavy spots of dirt on it.

How quickly this happens depends on how much dirt and mud you have on your feet when you hop on your skateboard. If you keep your shoes clean, you’ll be able to go much longer before needing to clean or replace your grip tape.

Can Grip Tape Get Wet?

Grip tape, especially shortboard grip tape, should not get wet. Shortboard grip tape isn’t impermeable to water so the wood of your board may get wet which could cause it to warp. You’ll also want to avoid any liquids when cleaning shortboards because the grip tape is thinner and will allow water to get through.

Longboard grip tape is thicker and impermeable to water so it’s safe to use small amounts of liquid to clean.

How to Clean Grip Tape On a Skateboard

The best method for cleaning grip tape on a skateboard is to pick up some grip gum and a soft wire brush to clean it. Do not use water, glass cleaner, or a liquid to clean the board as the tape isn’t water-resistant and may cause the wood to warp.

  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

1. Grab Supplies

You will need a sturdy soft wire brush that doesn’t have sharp bristles. You can clean your skateboard with a toothbrush instead of a wire brush, but it may not clean deep-seated dirt as well as a wire brush.

Also, make sure that you have grip gum. If you don’t you can substitute a rubber cement eraser from an art store for the grip gum.

2. Wipe Skateboard

Wipe the grip gum all over the skateboard from one end to the other end. Be sure to wipe firmly so you can remove the top layer of dust and dirt from your board.

3. Brush Grip Tape

Use the wire brush to brush the grip tape on your skateboard. You will be working section by section starting at one end of the board and working to the other end.

Be sure not to push too hard as the grip tape may tear or you may strip the grit off of the grip tape.

Keep working until all the filthy areas on the board have been removed. If you have deep stains that won’t disappear, you may need to replace the tape.

4. Use Grip Gum

Wipe your board with the grip gum a second time. This time you’re looking to remove all the leftover grime. Run the gum over the grip tape just like you would a pencil eraser then use your fingers to brush away the residue.

A thorough pass with the gum should leave your board looking almost new.

How to Clean Grip Tape On a Longboard

The grip tape on a longboard is impermeable to water making it safe to use a window cleaner on the tape.

  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

1. Set Up Grip Tape Cleaner

Fill a medium-sized bowl with soapy water by mixing tap water with a squirt of dish soap. If you’d like, you can add some lemon juice to the mixture for a clean smell. You can also use a window cleaner to clean your longboard as well.

2. Scrub Grip Tape

Dip your soft wire brush into the bowl of soapy water or lightly mist your grip tape with the glass cleaner. Starting at one end, scrub the messy spots on your board. Work systematically to the other end without allowing the water to pool on your board. The liquid may seep into the wood causing damage or warping to its structure.

Also, be careful not to push too hard when you scrub or you may strip the grit from the tape or tear it. Rinse your brush in the bowl whenever the brush becomes dirty.

3. Dry Skateboard

Use a microfiber cloth to dry your grip tape and skateboard. You’ll do this by laying a cloth across the top of the board and patting it to soak up the moisture. Continue pressing the cloth against the grip tape until it’s mostly dry.

You will need to make sure that the bottom wood remains dry so it doesn’t warp.

Leave the cloth on top of the deck of your skateboard and let it sit on the grip tape for at least 3-4 hours or until the tape feels completely dry.


Riding your skateboard when the tape is wet may cause the moisture to get into the wood. This may cause it to bend or warp. Your skateboard may not roll straight if this happens.

4. Wipe with Grip Gum

Once your skateboard is completely dry, use the grip gum to remove all the residue that’s still on your board.

How to Clean Grip Tape Without Grip Gum

If you don’t have grip gum, you can use a rubber cement eraser from an art store or use a toothbrush to scrub away the residue.

Another option is to use a belt sander cleaner. Cut off a piece that you can hold firmly and rub it firmly in a straight line on the surface of the grip tape. Rub as hard as you need to remove the dirt and grime on the tape.

Remove the residue on the belt sander cleaner and keep rubbing the grip tape with it until the tape is clean.

How Long Does Grip Tape Last?

Grip tape usually lasts between 6 and 18 months before needing to be replaced. You’ll know when it does need replacing because you’ll feel your grip starting to slip as you ride your skateboard. You may also have bald spots on your tape or it starts to peel.

How to Remove Old Grip Tape

When you go to remove old grip tape from your skateboard, the first step is to remove the trucks from your skateboard. Then apply heat to the tape using an appliance such as a hair dryer.

Peel off the tape starting from one of the sides or edges. Keep applying the heat as needed to loosen the tape.

A flat razor blade can be used as it’s thin enough to slide underneath the tape. Be careful not to cut yourself or your board as you work.

You will need to make sure that you remove all the grip tape from your board, but don’t worry about sticky glue being left behind. New tape can be applied on top of the glue.


What Household Items Can You Use to Clean Grip Tape?

You can clean the grip tape of your longboard with household items such as window cleaner, toothbrushes, and rags.

Another option is to make a paste using toothpaste and baking soda. First mix the water and baking soda in a 2:1 ratio. Add 4-5 drops of toothpaste and mix until you have the desired consistency.

Use a piece of soft foam or a soft sponge to gently scrub the grip tape with the paste. After cleaning your board, rinse the foam or sponge clean. Wring it out to make sure that it’s not dripping wet. Now use the damp sponge to wipe the residue off of the board. Make sure that you work without soaking the wood.

WD-40 can be used to clean your grip tape as well. Apply it directly to the tape and then remove the WD-40 using a soft sponge with dish soap on it to carefully wash the WD-40 off of your longboard.

Is Grip Tape Supposed to Get Dirty?

Yes, you stand on the grip tape and some dirt will transfer from your shoes to the tape. However, it’s best to wear clean shoes. Mud on the grip tape causes it to lose its grip and you will need to clean the grip tape when it becomes dirty. So, if you use dirty or muddy shoes you will need to clean your grip tape more often.

Can You Put Griptape Over Griptape?

It’s not recommended that you put grip tape over grip tape. The old grip tape won’t continue to adhere strongly to the deck surface, especially along the edge. This means that you’ll end up needing to replace both the old tape and the new tape sooner than you otherwise would.

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About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.