How to Clean a Metal Bearing

Cleaning your bearings remove the dirt and grime that slows your yo-yo down, and lengthens its sleep time. It also removes any oil in the bearing.

Caution: dry bearings let yo-yos sleep much longer, but it considerably shortens the lifespan of the bearing, and can lead to breakdowns. During cleaning, you will use flammable liquids which only adults should handle in a well-ventilated space.

Also, we cannot accept returns of any bearing, used or unused, once it is cleaned in this manner.


You will need:

Parts Cleaner or Brake Cleaner, available at any home center store
A cleaning bottle
tissue paper
pliers (in case the bearing cannot be removed by hand)

0. Open the body

1. Remove the Bearing

For instructions on this step, click here.

2. Wipe the bearing down

The bearing can catch string particles and other gunk, wipe it out gently.

3. Place the bearing into the cleaning container

The bearing is a delicate part and the bottle is breakable, handle them appropriately. Also, make sure the inside of the bottle is clean.

4. Pour in the cleaning fluid

Pour in just enough cleaner to wash one bearing. To use a spray-type cleaner, cover the opening of the bottle to avoid splashback.

5. Let it breathe

Leave the cap off and let it sit for a minute. Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated place. If you put the cap on immediately, the expanding gas will cause pressure to build up inside the bottle.

6. Close the cap and shake for a minute

Replace the cap and shake gently for a minute. You just need to agitate the cleaning fluid; shaking violently will not get the bearing any more clean, and it may cause damage to your bottle or bearing.

7. Reopen the cap and remove the bearing

Use your fancy tweezers to remove the bearing, preparing a tissue to lay the bearing on.

8. Wipe it down again

Use a couple of tissues to clean off the excess oil and cleaning fluid.

9. Lay the bearing down to dry

Lay the bearing down on some tissues to absorb the remaining cleaner that’s permeated the bearing.

Yay! You now have a dry bearing!

When you put your dry bearing on a string trick yo-yo, it will no longer respond when you tug, and you will have to learn how to bind! But you’ll soon notice the real advantage to a dry bearing when your yo-yo starts setting record sleep times. Dry bearings are considerably louder, so don’t be too shocked when you wake the neighbors. If you want a tug response again, just add some oil back to the bearing.

10. Wipe down the yo-yo.

Grab a Q-tip and give the yo-yo a once-over, concentrating on the bearing seat and area around the bearing.

11. Reassemble your yo-yo and enjoy!

Ta-Da! You’ve successfully passed Bearing Cleaning 101.

Is there a way to lengthen the life of my dry bearings?

You can use string trick oil to maintain your string trick bearings, and it will lengthen its lifespan. We have a variety available, including REWIND String Trick Oil, YYF Performance Oil (Long Spin), and V4M Bearing Lube. Just one or two drops on the bearing is all it takes. Compared to a completely dry bearing, your sleep time will go down, and the yo-yo may be more responsive, so use sparingly.

Is it preferable to use a dry bearing?

In the competition scene, dry bearings are popular and generally used, but outside of the die-hard performance junkies, it’s the exception to the rule. Dry bearings are more prone to friction, which greatly shortens the life of a bearing before it breaks down. There are bearings that come already dry, but they are for more advanced players who think of bearings as consumable goods, and realize that they will need to be replaced more frequently. So, if you understand the pros and cons of using dry bearings, you are already well enough informed to make that decision for yourself. While we can’t readily recommend using dry bearings, we thought it was important to introduce you to this maintenance method. Of course, you must accept responsibility for the maintenance of your yo-yo parts.