Bearing cleaning problem


So I clean my bearing in acetone. And I did everything right but for some reason the bearing spins worse like there a residue or the one of the balls got eaten or shrunk.(No pun intended) Can some one help me out here?


Did you lube it some, this is most likely the problem…

If you leave it in for a looooonnnggg time, it is possible for some bad stuff to get back in.

Also, you have to use 100% pure acetone. Not nail polish acetone stuff…


Acetone alone will not get rid of grit. Acetone treatment will likely not get rid of dust, grit, hair, skin and so the list goes on (at very least it will not directly dissolve them). It will howe’er help you remove lube. Therefore, in combination with your acetone, ensure you use high pressure air. And then re-rinse in acetone. And I can’t really emphasize rinse enough. A static solution of acetone, in which the bearing sits until all the acetone evaporates will not really help much at all, and depending on the quality of the acetone may in fact make things worse. Happy re-cleansing - hopefully some of this will help…
Oh, and the balls will never shrink. And never get eaten by the acetone. Ever. So don’t worry about having messed up your bearing.


Walmart has some stuff in the beauty section labeled pure acetone… Which is not pure acetone. Also, I use tweezers to get a dip and to stir it around in the acetone. Afterward I take it out, put it on a paper towel or piece of paper to get excess acetone off the outside of the bearing, then I do a few slow spins, followed by a few hard spins. I use a 1/8 to 1/4 gold stereo adapter; which fits perfectly for a c sized bearing; I then hold the bearing and spin the adapter. If this doesn’t give me 20ish second spin times, I spin the bearing on the tweezers and submerge it into the acetone while its still moving to ensure motion happens within the races. Then I do the previous drying steps. If I’m still having problems (or possible before and/or after I start) I use the paper cleaning method. Long story short (shocka braa) you cut small pieces of paper in an triangular shape and set them, one at a time between the gaps of the races/cage. Then slowly rotate the bearing if on the inside track, or hold the paper and move it around while holding the outside if on the outside of the track. Good luck; feel free to message me if you need further assistance.


I just soak my bearings in mineral spirits and it works fine, no air required…

He needs lube, dry bearings need some lube eventually…


The other stuff in nail polish acetone is bitter flavor so kids/pets don’t drink it.
I have used nail polish acetone before and as long as I clean it right (same as with non-nail polish acetone) it works perfectly fine.


Can I just blow on the bearing instead of high pressurized air


blowing won’t hurt as long as you do another acetone rinse (to get rid of the saliva you’re putting into the bearing).

When I do the acetone/mineral spirits part, I always make sure I’m not just soaking. You need to agitate the heck out of that thing! Put it in a sealed container that’s safe for the solvent and have at it! I do also use compressed air when I REALLY need to get’r done, but sometimes I can pass that step by.


1: Acetone, as well as other solvents, merely break down oils and lubricants. They can loosen up dirt, dust and other crud in there, but that’s not what you’re really using the acetone for. The agitation may help move out some solid contaminants, but it won’t remove all of it.

2: While there is still liquid acetone in the bearing, BLOW IT OUT using compressed air. I am debating getting a small air compressor for the job, or at least something I can use easily on demand for a good price. This may dislodge and blow out any solid contaminants. This is also why you need to remove BOTH shields: so when you’re blowing the crud out, it keeps going OUT instead of coming back at you!!

Don’t blow. You don’t want this stuff on your lips. You need higher and more focused pressure.

3: The paper slip method of cleaning bearings works best when using mineral spirits because mineral spirits take longer to evaporate, which gives you a lot more time to work the paper slips through the bearing and pull out more solid contaminants. You can always go back and clean again in acetone if you desire. I will often use mineral spirits for my “getting the crud out” cleanings, followed by acetone for a final cleaning.


You CAN remove debris simply by agitating it. This is exactly what happens when we rinse our mouths out. The principle is the same: fluid moving forcefully through the small spaces will flush out debris.

There’s nothing wrong with at least trying it. You can tell pretty quickly if it worked or not.


Studio42 your back?
And can some one do a video demonstration of the paper cleaning method and where to buy compressed air?


I’m a big compressed air fan. And I use a sonic cleaner when my bearings are in acetone.


Paper cleaning method is not working.


It’s worth noting that sometimes it pays more to give up on a bearing. Some are defective from the factory and some become defective through galling or other damage. Each bearing is worth roughly a half-hour of my time trying to save. If I find I’ve gone much beyond that, it’s garbage (more accurately, “container of stuff that doesn’t work but which I might find some strange use for”) time.


well this happened to five of my yo-yos.
Is there good cheap bearings on yoyoexpert


There are, but having it happen 5 times makes me believe it’s not quite time to give up yet. Try to get access to some compressed air. Gas station air pump maybe? :wink: I use canned air unless I’ll be visiting my parents, at which point I can use my dad’s compressor.


Thank Greg! I just needed to agitate it. From what I heard i cant shake it or do anything to it for 5 minuets. There is just so many conflicting information out there.


All you need to do is shake heavily for a minute to get get the solvent into all the nooks and crannies of the bearing. The solvent’s primary job is to break down and remove any lubricants, such a grease, oil and other lubes. By letting it soak, you let the solvent do a better job. Anything longer than 15 minutes is a waste of time. I find 2-3 minutes in pure acetone after a 1 minute agitation cycle is more than sufficient. I find mineral spirits really needs a longer soak. If I am removing grease from bearings, I will clean with mineral spirits as many times as needed, using fresh mineral spirits each time.

I recently bought 6 B-sized bearings at a RC hobby shop(bought all their C-clip/shielded bearings!!) and they were grease packed. Took 5 cleaning cycles to get the grease out. Shake for a minute, soak for 2, remove, dump from then mineral spirits and repeat. In this case, it was important to get rid of the broken down grease ASAP so it doesn’t get a chance to get back in. After 5 cleanings, I then used acetone. As I was going to use these bearings in my Unleashed(to replace the bearings that were stock that had shields but no C-clips), I did not Dry Play treat these bearings.

Blowing out the excess solvent will cause the bearing to dry out faster. It may also remove some other contaminants, but not all of it in the case of really, really bad bearings. You can always clean more than once to try to get more stuff out with no harm.

Everyone does this a bit differently based on what they feel gives them the best results. Once you know how to properly clean a bearing, you can then experiment with other methods or variations. I don’t find there’s a lot of conflicting information outside of “which solvent should I use”. I personally find I get the best results with acetone. Others prefer mineral spirits, some only use lighter fluid, and some use other stuff like Grease Lightning, Simple Green and even brake cleaner and electrical contact cleaner.


I kinda came up with my own variation on cleaning.
Heres what I did.
put the bearing in a glass jar.

submerge bearing in acetone.

Shake vigorously for 5 min.

Take the bearing out put it on a pencil. Then spin and blow the excess stuff out.

Dump out old acetone and put some new acetone in.

Put bearing back in jar and soak for 5 min.

Take bearing out put it on a pencil. Spin 'n blow the stuff out of the bearing dry.

Put lube in

Plug and play.

So can anyone correct me if I’m wrong on what I’m doing.