Scooterlay is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more


How to Clean Griptape of a Short & Long Board: 9 Easy Steps

how to clean griptape
Written by Colin Kint

A dirty grip tape on the deck of a skateboard makes the deck less attractive and a bit difficult to ride on. When the deck has layers of mud on its surface, it reduces the traction of the grip and the level of resistance on grip surface, as to this effect it becomes a bit difficult to carry out any form of trick or stunts.

So a step further to learning how to clean griptape can be an additional advantage, since it will help make the grip last longer and also help to keep the board in shape for a protracted period. As you read further, you will discover that the process you once thought as complicated becoming easy as A, B, C.

Besides replacement; which will often take a couple of busk from you, you can decide to clean the surface, doing this will help restore your skateboard or longboard back in shape

Things You’ll Need

The price of a grip tape range from $5 to $10 on each board. But most times, a quick replacement can be overwhelming. If you observe some difference on the surface of your grip tap, like becoming more slippery, you will need to buy the following items:

  • Get a natural rubber
  • Wire brush (soft is preferable)
  • A piece of microfiber cloth.

As a skateboarder, the above listed item should be kept close; since they are inexpensive and accessible in most stores.  Using them rightly will help prolong your skateboard life span and make it more suitable for stunts.  

What to Expect

This is not a magic, cleaning the surface of the grip tape using this procedure won’t change the grip entirely but will:

  • Increase the level of stickiness on the grip tape.
  • Ensure the life span of your grip tape is prolong.

But if you prefer a new appearance, then replacing the grip tape on your board surface can be a considerable option.

How To Clean Griptape And Not Ruin It

Cleaning Grip Tape on a Short Board

Cleaning Grip Tape on a Short Board

Use Rubber to Remove Surface Crud

The use of Grip Gum on the surface of the skateboard can be a perfect idea. Grip Gum is use reduce the grime on the surface of the grip tape. The cleaning material is attainable in most stores with skateboard materials. It is usually used to reduce or remove rubbers that are cemented on surfaces. Once you have your Grip Gum, wipe it over the grip tape firmly. Doing this will help reduce amount of dust on the surface of the grip tape.

Buy a soft wire brush

You can buy and use a metal brush that is affordable from a skate shop close to you.

  • The use of small brushes gives room for more precision.
  • A durable toothbrush will as well get the job done.

Brush the grip tape thoroughly

Brush the grip tape from end to end, move on from section to section.  Doing this will help remove dirt stains on the surface and will make it easy for you to sweep it off with hands.

  • Try not to push too hard on the grip tape –to avoid tears or wears.
  • Do not strip the grip.
  • Repeat the steps until there are no dirt spots on the surface of the board.
  • But if the grip tape has deep stains then replacing the grip entirely will be the suitable option.

Cleaning Grip Tape on a Longboard

Cleaning Grip Tape on a Longboard

Buy a soft wire brush

You can use a metal brush that is affordable from a skate shop close to you.

  • The use of small brushes gives room for more precision.
  • A durable toothbrush will as well get the job done.

Fill a bowl with soapy water

Longboard are thicker and exhibit more resistance to water when compared with short boards, this makes the surface suitable enough when cleaning with water.

You will need to add tap water with detergent to create the cleaning concoction.  You will also need a bowl that is medium-sized to wash the grip tape properly. Use the following steps below to carry this out:

  • Use lemon to improve the freshness of the concoction.
  • Try not to submerge the longboard in the concoction.
  • Use a window cleaner or a piece of towel to clean the surface of the grip tape.

Dip in the bowl and scrub your grip tape using your brush

Use the brush from a specific end and roll over the other end, ensure you dig through each spots that appears messy.  Most longboard are created with grip tape that are thick, so cleaning the surface can require some measure of effort. You will need to:

  • Raise the brush you are using once it has stains of dirt on its surface.
  • Use the concoction in the bow to rinse the brush, this will reduce the dirt that are piled up on the surface of the brush.
  • Avoid water pool on the surface of the board. Excess liquid on the board surface can lead to damage on the deck.
  • Applying to much pressure on the grip will lead to tears on its surface.

Dry the grip and board with a microfiber cloth

Place the fiber on the surface of the longboard and pat it to absorb excess moisture on the surface of the deck. Repeat the process by folding the cloth to trap the water on the surface of the deck.  Do this until the surface is dried and free of moist.

  • Ensure the board is dried underneath.
  • Avoid the use of paper, since this can only absorb a little amount of water and lead to mess on the surface of the board.
  • If the moist on the surface is not dried properly, the adhesive on the grip tape becomes weaker and goes off the surface of the board with time.

Allow your board to dry for at least three hours

Riding on a damp or wet skateboard is accompanied by a negative effect. If the wood on your longboard absorbs moisture, riding on it can lead to warp or bend of the entire deck. And once the deck is affected, the speed will also be limited. To be on the safe side all you need is to expose the board to air and allow it to get dried completely before using it.

Use grip gum

Rub grip gum on the surface of the grip tape if it still has residues on its surface. Similarly to the way you use an eraser.

Caring for Your Board as You Clean

To effectively clear for your board, you will need to create a mixture of baking powder and a dash of white vinegar on the board. Allow the mixture to sit on the board for a couple of minutes afterward, give a board a rinse. Doing this will help remove tough stains on the surface of the board, ensure the board is dried immediately using a dash towel.

Replacing Old Griptape

Replacing Old Griptape

The first thing you will need to do is detach the truck from the deck. After that, use a hand dryer and a utility knife. Use the dryer to heat up the surface of the grip tape on the nose or tail of the board, this will help to weaken the adhesive. Once that is done, slide the knife underneath the edges of the grip tape and peel it off gently.

The only way your shoes will stick to your board is by getting the right response from the grips. A lot depends on it. There are cases when replacement of the grips can be the only suitable option though. In cases of permanent stains, or damages on the surface of the grip tape, replacing it will be the best decision. However, this should be done only when the skateboard grip tape is damaged beyond cleaning.


How do you clean a clear griptape?

  • Brush the surface of the Grip Tape. Use a window leaner or water to clean off the surface of the board.
  • Ensure the surface is dried thoroughly. Use a towel or a microfiber, to dry up the surface of the grip tape before carrying out any further action on the board.
  • Clean off the surface with a rubber.

Is water bad for grip tape?

Whenever your skateboard becomes wet, it limits the action of lubricant within the bearing and can weaken the adhesive of the gripe tape with time.

Can you put Griptape over griptape?

No. you will need to remove the first grip on the surface of the board before introducing the new one to the surface.

How do you apply grip tape?

Applying grip tape is a crucial part if you’re going to build your own skateboard. Remember the following tips to do it like an expert.

  • You will need to remove the paper that is attached on the back of the tape board to unveil the sticky part of the grip tape.
  • Position the grip tape on the skateboard and ensure it is positioned –right in the middle of the skateboard. Allow the grip tape to sage a little bit in the middle and try to attach the middle of the grip tape on the board, and distribute it evenly all over the surface of the board.
  • Use a metal file, skate tool or a metal shaft to scrape the edges of the deck. Ensure the grains on the surface of the board are worn off to form a white outline on the edge of the deck.
  • Trim of the grip tape to reduce excess on the surface of the board using a razor at an angle of 450 and create a perfect cut on the surface of the board.
  • Use a metal file on the edge of the board to create a smoother surface on the board.
  • Poke holes on the drip tape where screws can pass through when mounting the truck.

About the author

Colin Kint

Colin is in his mid twenties and a professional skateboarder whom you may already know. He participated in most of the skateboarding competitions in San Francisco. His innate passion for the sport drove him to pursue his career as a professional skateboarder. Another reason why he’s so good at it could be his relentless practice sessions with his friends. Apart from that, Todd also volunteers in various community awareness programs. He’s an environmental activist with an undergraduate law degree and an expert photographer as well. He does most of the photography of our site.

Leave a Comment