Killed a bearing with tap water, what now


I rinsed out a YYF Gold Center Trac bearing with tap water, and now it spins for 2 seconds. I’m guessing either the water’s impurities are stuck in it, or maybe YYF laced it with a secret coating that ruins the bearing while cleaning. Can’t trust these bearing manufacturers when some of them go around selling fake gold and nobody says anything…

Assuming the impurities are stuck in it, what’s the best solvent to clean this thing? People seem to use mineral spirits (naphtha) and lighter fluid (hexane/heptane). I’ve dug around and found recommendations for some other stuff like d-limonene, and for cleaning gold, ethanol promptly rinsed with isopropyl alcohol. Assuming I use 100% concentration of whichever I use, which would be the best solvent? I’ll probably rinse with IPA no matter what since anything good enough to clean is probably strong enough to eat through the gold.


use acetone


I’m asking this on the chemistry StackExchange, so maybe we can get some more info there. It’s a notch above Yahoo Answers so maybe someone’ll post a good method.


Like oops says…
Or mineral spirits or lighter fluid.
It’s not rocket science.

Unless you’re drinking swamp water, I highly doubt it’s anything in the water that’s causing your bearing to slow down. Just make sure you dry it good.

Or, you could check here:,17792.0.html


I thought it might be the oversensitive bearing. I read on another site that ethanol can destroy gold plating, and it’s recommended to use an isopropyl alcohol rinse IMMEDIATELY afterward. Considering that yoyo bearings are the most sensitive gold-plated objects to ever be invented, it seems like we should be extra careful.

I’ve never had a problem with my other bearings, just this one. It must be a bit different if it shouldn’t be used with lube, don’t you think? Or maybe I’m drinking swamp water.


Well I don’t have my isopropyl alcohol on me so I yoloed it and rinsed with heptane. It’s not the heaviest of solvents so I figure it’ll be dry before it murders my bearing.


It’s probably dry now, but it sounds like a chainsaw with a finger-flick. There goes $20 I guess. I saw one guy post that his lasted for 10 months; how does that happen without cleaning it?


Cleaning a bearing, thus removing all the lube, will make it louder. Applying a small amount of lube will quiet it significantly. The key is “small” amount. Cleaning a bearing does not have an appreciable affect on bearing longevity, and depending on your technique may shorten it. Clean it once (or never), lube it (or not) and go. Re-lube as needed to maintain the response you desire.


“Don’t mess with your bearings much at all, let them do their thing and they will do it”


I just leave my bearing in my throws till they die

They can last a couple months dry and I just don’t unscrew it. Adding a drop of lube every once in a while when it gets too loud is another thing you can do to prolong life on the bearing.


YYF Gold Bearings are built with precision. Go talk to Customer Service if you are really unhappy… BS


I rinse my bearings in tap water all the time. Use a hair dryer next time.


The odds of tap water itself being the “killer” are extremely low. Clean the bearing again. Agitate it more to get out any solid debris (don’t just soak it). Hair dryer or continuous spinning on a rod/chopstick/whatever until it is dry.


I had been getting clingy-clangy little ticks with this bearing before cleaning, which indicated some debris within the bearing. That kind of thing is why bearings would ever need to be cleaned.

I tried putting it in a little jar of heptane and shook it like a monkey for 5 minutes, and now it’s spinning like new. I think the monkey shake is the key; before that I was just shaking it casually. Is there a tool to monkey shake a jar for me?


One of those arm machines that just go up and down… Quite sure like when making salsa and guac. Stuff like that


Hm I tried googling “salsa shaker”. Not a good idea.

Any idea what those are called?


I like using a Dremel or hand drill when cleaning bearings. Just find a bit that fits the inner diameter well, submerge the bearing in whatever cleaning fluid you prefer, and spin the hell out of it for a minute or so. Then take it out and spin it for another few seconds until it dries.

I then put a single drop of lube on one of the balls and spin the hell out of it until it gets very quiet. The whole process takes about 3 minutes and you wind up with perfect bearings every time with minimal effort.


Try the paper slip method. I use this on bearings that dont clean up with a soak or ultrasonic bath. Youll be amazed how much more gunk you can pull out of the bearing.


I’ve used these bearings a lot. They get damaged easily and yours could be “dead” at this point irrespective of how you clean it. You’re not lubing it or anything are you?

Try soaking the bearing in acetone while twirling it around with a rod for a few minutes. Then grab the bearing with some tweezers, shake it a bit, pull it out of the solution, and dry it with compressed air, a blow dryer, or by spin-drying it on a rod/stick.

I use a more complicated/expensive method but that should work pretty well if you’re careful.

Oh and don’t flick bearings hard. Shock forces can cause damage. On bearings with high tolerances it’s not much of an issue but this is a precision bearing with low tolerances. That’s why they work so phenomenally at first, but even small amounts of debris and/or damage can lower their performance into the realm of “normal” bearings.

As far as chemical solvents pure ethanol is better than acetone but you won’t be able to find any at reasonable prices that isn’t laced with garbage to keep people from drinking it. In other words, not lab grade. Acetone is a much better solvent than mineral spirits or lighter fluid though. You just have to deal with the rapid evaporation issue by blowing out the bearing right after cleaning it (with compressed air, a blow-dryer, or if neither option is available then rotational force on a pencil or similar).

By the way a lot of the advice you’ve been given in this thread is bad. Not intentionally, just people giving anecdotal advice about bearings in general. Gold-plated bearings are different. Be careful what you try. For example, lubing these bearings is a very bad idea, though it’s been suggested more than once.


Yeah this thread has a lot of bad advice. Assuming all solvents are lab-grade, do you know if acetane, ethanol, or heptane is a better solvent? Pure acetone is dirt cheap, followed by heptane then ethanol last time I checked. But if I’m spending $20 per bearing and $150 per yoyo, that’s nothing. lool