How to Care For Ice Skates

Page Ventresca

Give proper care to a pair of ice skates and if they aren’t outgrown they should last a good while. Let your maintenance program slip and your expensive ice skates could be ruined within weeks or months.

When off the ice but still wearing skates, always and without fail wear plastic or rubber skate guards over ice skate blades. Skate guards protect the blades from hard surfaces and grit that can very quickly ruin a well-sharpened blade. Keep skate guards at the edge of the ice and place them on your skate blades even if you only plan to be off the ice for a few steps.

However, if you are not wearing your skates, do not leave skate guards on the blades. Guards are meant only for walking and should actually be on your skates only for short periods of time. They will trap unwelcome moisture against the skate blades even when you are nowhere near the ice.

Because they are constantly exposed to moisture when you are skating, the skate blades require the most immediate and careful maintenance. Once skate blades begin to rust it is difficult, if not impossible to repair the damage. The best cure for rust on ice skate blades is prevention.

Skate blades should be manually dried immediately after skating. Use one or two very absorbent golf size terry cloth towels to meticulously wipe down the metal plate, the blades, and the boot, paying particular attention to the metal parts of the skate. Never leave skate wipedown for later.

When all visible moisture has been removed from the skates, cover the blades with fabric blade covers. Never use plastic or rubber skate guards as blade covers for storage. Skate guards are designed for walking only. They will trap any remaining moisture, even just the moisture in the air, against the steel skate blade. This will simply encourage rust. A professional quality fabric ice skate cover is designed with an absorbent lining to wick any remaining moisture away from the metal blade. It will also be padded to cushion the skates when they are carried in a skate bag.

Once at home, do not store ice skates in their travel bag. Remove them immediately from their bag so that both the leather and the metal parts can air dry. Loosen the laces and pull the tongue of each boot slightly forward. Lay the skates on their sides on a dry towel so that they do not touch. Allow them to air dry in a place where they will be exposed to light but out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source, which will dry and crack the leather.

Store ice skates separately, each in its own cloth or toweling bag so that they can “breathe” and do not damage each other. Carrying cases for skate pairs are designed for transporting skates, not for storage. Avoid hanging ice skates by their blades as this can cause the blades to pull away from the boot soles. Don’t stand them on their blades on the floor of a dark closet, which can damage the shape of the boot.

Occasionally give dry skate blades a light coat of petroleum jelly or automotive paste wax to further protect the steel from rusting. If you live in a humid climate and are putting your skates up for the summer season, be sure to wax the blades and use the least humid spot you can find for storage.

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