How do I clean my bearings?

Required aids

Before you start cleaning your ball bearings, you should go through the following checklist to be fully equipped:

  • Thin gloves, so fingers and bearings are protected from contamination. The gloves should be as thin that they do not interfere with the "fingertip feeling".

    Tip: Use disposable gloves

  • A pad to protect against dirt

    Tip: Use a large piece of cardboard, an old writing pad or plastic placemats

    Never use a soiled surface. The workplace must be clean!

  • Paper towel that absorbs moisture after the cleaning process
  • The best possible illumination of your workstation to detect soiling

    Tip: If daylight is not enough, you can align a desk lamp with your desk.

  • A rag, a brush

    Tip: Check beforehand if the cloth is fiber-free and the brush does not lose its components. For example. a toothbrush with hard bristles is suitable.

  • Cleaning supplies

    Tip: You can use a simple detergent for the sealing discs. The bearings can be cleaned with WD-40, acetone, benzine or brake cleaner

  • Two containers in which all ball bearings and, if necessary, sealing washers fit during the cleaning process

    Tip: Use preserving jars

    If you are working with an aggressive cleaning agent, you should under no circumstances use plastic containers.

  • Air pressure compressor or air pressure spray
cleaning utensils
Instructions for the bearing cleaning

Prerequisite: The sealing washers of the ball bearings have already been removed. Instructions can be found here. For double-sealed ZZ bearings, however, you can also perform the cleaning process as described, without removing the cover plates.

  1. If you have a compressed air can or a compressor, it is advisable to blow out the old grease in advance - otherwise you can simply clean the bearing roughly with a cloth.

    When blowing out, keep the bearing in a rag or container so that the grease does not splash over.

    Blow out ball bearing grease
    1. Place the sealing washers in a water bath with detergent.
    2. Now place the ball bearings in the second jar, which is filled with cleaning oil or another suitable cleaning agent.

      Tip: Blow out the ball bearing beforehand, if present, with a compressed air compressor. This way you can already remove large quantities of the grease. Use a tear-resistant cloth or a dish as a base. This will help prevent grease from spreading to your clean work surface.

    3. Pivot both jars lightly so that the detergent can reach all areas and spreads well. Leave the ball bearings and sealing washers in the cleaning bath until the dirt has dissolved.
    4. Remove both the sealing washers and the ball bearings from the cleaning bath and lay each on a piece of double-laid paper towel.
    5. Fill the jars with a fresh cleaning bath.
    6. Repeat steps 2-5 until the cleaning bath remains clear and discoloration of dirt is no longer evident.
    Cleaning with cloth
  2. Now use your air pressure compressor or a compressed air spray to remove any remaining residues, such as the cleaning agent.

    Tip: If you should not have both, you can rinse the ball bearings with clean water.

    Cleaning with cloth
  3. Now place the ball bearings and sealing washers on a double piece of kitchen paper and let them dry. Change the paper as soon as it is soaked.

    Tip: To speed up the process, you can also blow-dry the ball bearings.

    Do not use the hair dryer on a warm level, set it to cold!

  4. Oil or grease your bearings now. Information on oiling and greasing of bearings can be found here.
  5. Now gently press the sealing washers back onto the ball bearing with both thumbs under light pressure.