How long do unresponsive bearings last?

I have had success removing all the dark matter lube from two bearings with 91% isopropyl. I put them in a small canister and shook it then dumped and repeated. It says on the yyf website, “be sure to thoroughly clean the bearing before reapplying dark matter. “ so I don’t think that over applying the dark matter would permanently coat a bearing I think you just have to reclean it and reapply lube or don’t. I decided to repeat after one alcohol session right away because I could see all the minuscule black particles floating in the liquid.

For me, the dark matter worked like I didn’t have any response issues and the bearings still spun forever, but it didn’t quiet them down like thin lube. Also some bearings for me can be much naughtier than others like the only od 10 ball I have is constantly getting Dirty and needing to be cleaned. So idk maybe those pixels are naughty too? Either way good luck

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I still have my original bearings in most of my YYF 888s from 07- 09, so well over 15 years for me lol the 888s have never been unscrewed though which i think helped :laughing:


Thank you. I think that is exactly what I read somewhere to remove dark matter but couldn’t remember. I actually just found a huge bottle of 91% alcohol from the days of making homemade hand sanitizer during covid. I might give that a try. Thanks for the help!

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Wonder what the other 9% is? Water, etc? It may be something that could add gunk to bearings. For $1.00 I got a large bottle of 100% acetone at wally world.


I’ve got bearings going back to 2000 - 2003. Playing an OG Hitman right now and that’s on its original bearing. They’ll last.


From what I understand and someone else was saying on here Dark Matter can’t be cleaned with just Acetone. I have been using Acetone. I actually just saw on the dark matter instructions online it says to use rubbing alcohol for the initial clean of the bearing. I’m gonna make sure to dry it real good afterwards.

I think that other 9% is water, it might say on the bottle. I agree that acetone is a better option though.



I feel like most bearings should last a very long time if kept clean and maintained, unless it was just faulty/a dud from the factory, which will happen from time to time btw. I’m still rocking og bearings from throws I got in 2010.


This is spot on. I have an OD 10 ball from 2009 in my Project 2. I cleaned and lubed it one time after getting the yoyo, and haven’t touched it since. Still works flawlessly.


I dunno. I seen @yoyodoc say he uses alcohol. I’m gonna read around some. If acetone cannot remove dark matter I don’t know what else I can do really beside use alcohol. I have used acetone maybe 5-6 in the two months since getting them.

Yes it is.

Acetone will remove most anything. It’s a very potent solvent.


I absolutely recommend against doing this, it’ll only cause the problem to be worse than it already is.

From @GTDropKnot’s post, it seems that the dark matter lube doesn’t eventually get stuck to the inner parts of the bearing, which would mean that you can actually remove the lube. Note that not all dry lube can be removed, those that coat or get stuck to the inner parts of the bearing are effectively impossible to remove. What you need to do is to just put the bearing any kind of solution, it doesn’t even have to be isopropyl alcohol or acetone and even water will work as well (I don’t recommend this unless you want your bearings to rust), and shake the container thoroughly. Then, throw away the solution. Repeat the steps above 3 times in total and your bearing should be free of dark matter lube. Repeat the steps a few more times if you still find the carbon powder in the solution after already doing it 3 times. What this is doing is basically suspending the carbon based powder in the solution and just flushing out the powder with the solution when you shake the container. Be sure to use a water-tight container if you’re using acetone, you really don’t want that stuff spraying everywhere and getting on your skin. The fumes are pretty dangerous to be breathing in and it’s not very nice to your skin.

Don’t worry too much about how often the bearings become noisy or responsive, it is pretty much random. There’s no way to predict when a bearing would become noisy or responsive, which is why the advice here is to clean your bearings when necessary, instead of cleaning your bearings in a routine fashion. Dust and other random stuff can get into a bearing at any time, so it’s really just a matter of time before the bearing becomes noisy or responsive. Shielded bearings may help a little with staying clean for a longer period of time, but in my experience the difference has always been minimal so I always just leave my bearings unshielded for easier cleaning. I’m guessing the difference isn’t huge thanks to the bearings already being enclosed between the yoyo halves which is a form of shielding already. Also, yoyos generally don’t come into contact with mud or dirt, which would require shielding. So yeah, just clean your bearings when necessary and don’t worry about how often it gets noisy or responsive. If it bothers you, you can try getting shielded bearings. Take note that investing in an expensive bearing does absolutely nothing to how often the bearing will become responsive or noisy, so don’t waste your money. Invest in expensive bearings only if you want to do so.


I would only counter that statement with the absolute fact that NSK bearings are designed to run dry without lube and are shipped dry without lube. So unless you are literally dipping them into dirt and muck they will run longer between cleanings. Not to mention that they can be cleaned with just compressed air and no solvents or cleaners. I have never seen one turn responsive

Appreciate all the help. I’m going to do that this weekend. I usually put them in a film container and shake a little before and after but never really did a deep cleanse 3 times in a row with it. Hopefully I can get it cleaned out.

I have been trying not to worry as much when I notice stuff like that. When I first started down this journey of yoyoing alot of noises and stuff made me curious/worried. I noticed today something must of got in one of my bearings as I heard a scratchy noise and it became a little responsive. I just kept playing it to see if it would go away and it did seem too. The thing that prompted me to clean all 3 of them bearings last time was I just started trying to learn the trick laceration. Every yoyo I picked up seemed to return to my hand when trying that trick. All of them seem to be working ok at this point. I just wasn’t aware how often bearings can become responsive. Glad to hear that about the shields. Those shields seem to be a pain to put back on. The center trac I took the shields off of when cleaning I still got in a little bag because I didn’t feel like dealing with putting them back on.

I appreciate you taking the time to help me out. Thanks again!

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I always have my yoyofactory lube when i hear noise but i have had bearings go crazy bad

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I use konkaves from Duncan original throw magic yoyo

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No worries! Hopefully you managed to clean your bearings out and they’re spinning well now.

I see. That’s great! Glad to hear that all 3 bearings are working alright after cleaning them. Those shields are indeed a huge pain to put back on, and honestly are way more painful to take off, so I also leave them in a little bag as well.

You’re welcome!