How to Polish a Yoyo

To many of us, a Yoyo is just a hazy memory from our childhood of a fun toy that tied us up in knots, but for some, the Yoyo is an art form that requires mastery and dedication.

For many, the pinnacle of Yoyo perfection is the metal (often aluminium) Yoyo that’s perfectly balanced for a range of tricks, grinds and throws of all kinds. The best Yoyos are well looked after and much loved.

If you want to keep your Yoyo performing to the best of its ability then you need to properly maintain it. Obviously keeping the bearings well lubricated is part of this maintenance, but so too is keeping the Yoyo clean and polished. Over time dirt, grime and oil will build up on the surface of your Yoyo and prevent proper spin and fluid movement. So keeping it clean is important, polishing your Yoyo will make it perform even better.

Things You’ll Need to Polish Your Yoyo

There aren’t many things you’ll need to polish your Yoyo; it’s a relatively straightforward task. This is a brief list of the items, though you may choose to use slightly different products:

  1. Polishing Cloths – an obvious requirement for any polishing task, polishing cloths are soft, lint-free and highly absorbent, making them ideal for getting the perfect sheen on the metal surface.
  2. Autosol Metal Polish – This is recommended by Yoyo lovers everywhere. A simple, yet effective metal polish that can be used on a variety of metal surfaces. You don’t have to use this brand, but it does what it says on the tin.
  3. Rubber Gloves – some hand protection is essential to stop the metal polish irritating your skin but also to prevent oils and dirt from your fingers interfering with the polishing process
  4. The Yoyo – obviously!

Getting Started Polishing Your Yoyo

The following technique should be applied when cleaning and polishing any metal/aluminium Yoyo to achieve the best results, shine and finish. NOTE – if your Yoyo is coated it may first require sanding with some wet and dry sandpaper. We’d recommend using a variety of coarse and fine sandpaper to get the surface as smooth and problem free as possible before attempting to polish. Some Yoyos are produced as ‘raw’ – that is raw metal. These are the best kind of Yoyos for polishing.

  1. Unscrew your Yoyo and take it apart. Obviously the inside of the Yoyo (the part that has most contact with the string) will need to be polished in the same way as the outside in order to achieve the best possible results.
  2. Once you’ve taken the Yoyo apart, pop the rubber gloves on and prepare your polishing cloths. We’d recommend using multiple polishing cloths so that you have some for putting the polish on and some for taking it off.
  3. Start by wiping down the surface of the Yoyo as thoroughly as possible. This pre-polishing will remove any build-up of dirt and oil that you don’t want contaminating the polishing itself. While you’re wiping, be sure to regularly turn and fold your polishing cloth to keep the cleanest surface in constant contact.
  4. Squeeze a pea sized amount of metal polish onto a clean polishing cloth and apply to the surface of the Yoyo. Use small circular motions and apply the polish to the entire Yoyo. Then, once it is nicely coated, allow 2 minutes for the polish to react with the surface of the metal before continuing.
  5. With a clean polishing cloth, begin to remove the metal polish by polishing in small circles again and turning the cloth regularly to ensure you are using clean material and getting all the polish off. Apply plenty of pressure and change cloths if necessary to get the best results.
  6. Continuing rubbing the Yoyo vigorously until you develop a brilliant shine.
  7. If necessary apply another layer of polish and repeat the above steps.

You should now have a clean and freshly polished Yoyo. How often you polish your Yoyo in future will obviously depend on how often you use it and other factors such as how hot and sweaty your hands get when practicing tricks. Some people polish their Yoyo every day, other just once a month so it really is personal choice. Whatever you do, you’ll soon find out what a difference polishing makes to your tricks.

Check out the tricks in this demo video of the SR-71 polished metal Yoyo.

In the end you’ll see results like this: