Bearing cleaning gone wrong??

I’ve got a bit of a problem right now with my bearings. I cleaned 3 of my bearings in lighter fluid. I’ve been using lighter fluid to clean my bearings for a year now and it works every time. But this time something weird happened. All 3 of the bearings are seizing during play or becoming responsive. Two were lubed with dry lube, the other was not lubed at all. I’ve come to the conclusion it is from the lighter fluid? What might be causing this? And how can I fix my bearings to work properly again?? All help is needed. Thank you.

Might be too much dry lube. I’ve done that countless times without noticing. Also, if you’re gonna use dry lube, I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to use acetone. That’s what fjh123 says.

I thought it was the lube too. So I cleaned a bearing in the same lighter fluid, and put no lube whatsoever in it. It still became responsive and seized.

It’s not the lighter fluid. Been using it forever w/o any sort of problem you describe.

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All bearings will eventually lock up or go responsive over time due to particles sneaking into them.

Clean them again, make sure your response isn’t breaking down and perhaps change your string.

Acetone has water in it don’t use it because it will rust them. Use a high quality(odorless mineral spirits).

Try just using canned air to spin them with the shields off. That might blow out any excess dry lube.

You can get denatured acetone. But the more likely scenario is that the acetone (including the miniscule water content) will have evaporated before you even put it back into the yoyo. It’s not inherently going to rust your bearing.

There’s probably more moisture in the air of your house at any given point than leftover on a bearing after the acetone evaporates.

I’m not even certain there’s 0% h20 in Mineral Spirits. Never looked into it, truthfully.

All that said… you don’t actually “need” acetone to apply the DryPlay. It’s just recommended by Frank if there’s a bit too much DryPlay and you need to distribute it throughout the bearing a bit better. You can clean your bearing with something like Mineral Spirits (despite the above counter-argument, my preference) and after it’s fully dry, apply the DryPlay without any liquid assistance.

You have to spin and “grind” it around in your bearing for a good while before it loosens up and starts to work. If it doesn’t loosen up after a few minutes of work, there was probably too much. Clean and start again.

In my experience (with literally hundreds of bearings, from every manufacturer), we place far too much value in the cleaning and lubing of bearings. Honestly, pretty much any solvent will work fine to clean bearings and most all thin lubes work adequately well.

You’re unlikely to see a sustained difference in cleaning and lubing techniques, because at the end of the day a little piece of dust is going to enter the bearing and you’re just going to have to clean and lube it again. No matter which lube you use, none of them is going to make spinning a dust particle around any smoother.

Just find a process that is easy and economical and don’t stress about the differences. If it gets responsive, just clean it again.


Unless you cleaned them in a dirty bowl a dirty area. Or they are just spin doing what Jasonwongzero says, “bearings eventually lock up.”

Are they really old? Try buying a new bottle and go somewhere w/out dust or dirt. (Outside?)

One of the bearings is a Buddha bearing that I’ve only had a week. The others may be old, but its odd that they all locked up at the same time. I’m gonna get some acetone today and try cleaning them. I’ll use bottle caps to clean them in is time too.

Another one of my bearings just went bad. Is there something wrong with my yoyos? Could temperature affect the bearings? I can’t figure out what’s wrong with them.

There is absolutely zero water in mineral spirits. They do not mix to form a solution. They ware each polar and non-polar respectively.

Would nail polish remover work to clean a bearing? I got this stuff laying around from my sister, and I have run out of lighter fluid.

It’d work, but it’d leave a lot of residue because of the additives in most nail polish remover. Don’t use it.

I did read something about that. If its under something near 40F then it will lock up after cleaning.

Awh NARDS! I was about to go ham on bearing cleaning now, since I’m waiting for the silli to dry.

Mineral spirits and any paint thinner. Acetone and lighter fluid will work.

You can also use Gum Spirits or Gum Spirits of turpentine. (from my experience they work fine)

I believe that’s an urban myth.

That’s fine. The point is that it doesn’t matter. The tiny amount in acetone absolutely will not cause your stainless steel bearing to rust.

Here is something.