Do I need to clean my bearing or just lube it?


I’ve been into yoyoing for a little over a year now and I really love it. Though one thing I’ve never gotten around to doing is cleaning my bearings. I’ve noticed some of my yoyos are starting to play less good than they used to, so I’m wondering if I need to clean them, or maybe just apply a tiny bit of thin lube. If cleaning’s the answer, what should I use to clean it? I have a lot of little siblings, and I’ve got a bunch of cats, so I’m kinda worried about using too noxious of chemicals, though I’ll use it if I have to.



My vote definitely goes to cleaning. It’s not really too hard of a process, and there are guides around the forum that can help you out.

For my personal process, I use Odorless Mineral Spirits (even tho it still has an chemical-ey odor).

I believe they use it as a paint thinner, but I spill some on my hands all the time and all it does it dry the skin out. Doesn’t bother me.

I have a little baby food jar that I keep half filled with the stuff and plop my bearing in there, twirl them around with a chop stick and then let it sit for 15 minutes or so. I have also used contact lens container, works equally as well.

Dry your bearing on a paper towel for X amount of time, then spin it on a pencil to make sure she’s good and dry. I put a smidgeon of lube on because I don’t like loud bearings.

I play with bearing shields removed, those things are a pain.


That sounds like a good idea. I’ll have to get a bottle of that stuff and try it. Sorry to sound like a noob, but what’s the bearing shield? Is it the metal part on the side of the bearing?


On the rare occasions I clean a bearing I usually dry it with compressed air. The cans of air used for cleaning keyboards are handy.


Yes the bearing shields help protect the balls from exterior debris. In order to remove them, you must first remove a metal spring called the c-clip. The c-clip lines the inside edge of the outside race of the bearing (.-.). In order to pop it out, you’ll have to get something sharp like a needle and find the space in the clip. Using the needle, you’ll need to get under it and move it towards the center of the bearing so that it can pop out. If you can’t seem to get a grip on one of the ends with the needle, try the other side.


I’ll remember to get one of those too.

Do I need to remove the shield to clean the bearing? Or can I leave the shield on while I clean it?


Remove the shields. Check the link below for how to do it.

Useful modification and maintenance guides - Clean, repair, tune, fix yoyos


For what its worth, I pretty much don’t clean a bearing until there is a problem that can’t be fixed with a small drop of lube and a few minutes of throwing hard sleepers.

Is it possible that the bearing isn’t the issue, but the response? All you said was your yoyos aren’t playing as well as they used to. How so?


Good question. I left it kind of purposefully ambiguous because I’m not quite sure. It’s more that it just doesn’t feel quite right. The response feels fine, it comes back when I want and there aren’t any slips. So I’m pretty sure it’s the bearing.

I’ll try that first and if it doesn’t help, then I’ll clean the bearing.


Definitely clean them. Makes a world of difference if your bearing is dirty. I always add a drop of OneDrop lube as well.


Actually here’s a question I hadn’t thought of. Is there much of a difference between lubes? Would it be better to use OneDrop lube on a OneDrop bearing?


Lubes and bearings aren’t matched to one another. The One Drop Lube is an awesome lube for any bearing. I have a love for the MFD Gorillus Lubricus after it’s broken in, but man… it takes a LOT of effort to get your bearing unresponsive after Gorillus. The V4M breaks in quickly but won’t silence a bearing quite as effectively.

The middle ground as I recall (and I may not be recalling correctly; it’s been a while) is the YYJ stuff.


Well that’s good because I’ve been using YYJ’s lube. Maybe I’ll try some other kinds to see what I think.


YYJ Thin I hope. :wink:


Just asking, how long does it usually take you to break in Gorillius? In terms of hours/day and how many days it takes. I have a bearing that I’ve been playing for over a week constantly and it still hasn’t gotten completely unresponsive. Still tugs back on a vibey throw


It used to be that if it wasn’t unresponsive after 2 hours, I would pass a few drops of acetone through it and keep trying.

But I’m lazy. I made a “bearing spinner” out of a hobby motor and a rubber tire from a toy car. :wink: Put’r on there and let the spinner do its work for an hour. That usually seems to do it.

I do also use the V4M pretty regularly, though. I only bust out the Gorillus if I need to redo a bearing or two for “watching TV with my wife”. Beyond that, even though I like the quiet regardless of play environment (even if I’m playing along with no TV!) I’m just too lazy and impatient to even wait for the spinner, so V4M more often gets the nod.


Wow an hour of running. At what RPM? I’ve noticed that, back when I used to use the ol’ dremel, I’d kill my bearings really quickly, so I’m afraid to use that now. I assume that you’re running the motor at a speed similar to a hard throw?


I could never find the official specs for the motor I was using, but I imagine it was anywhere between 4,000 and 8,000 RPM. The rig is totally ghetto, but the important thing is that there’s not a lot of pressure on the bearing; it’s got just enough friction to spin it up. Here’s a picture!


Haha okay, gotcha. I’ll look into it, maybe I’ll hook something up so I can do several bearings at once. I imagine I could just use a belt wrapped around ANOTHER bearing haha.