Ski Base Cleaner Substitutes (Great Alternatives)

Ski Base Cleaner Substitutes

Cleaning the bases of your skis before waxing them is a very important part of the ski maintenance process. Dirt, grit, grease, and oil can cling to the wax on the bases and even get pushed into the pores, rendering the waxing less effective and compromising the integrity and durability of the bases.

There are many commercial ski-base cleaning solutions available in the market, but they are not the only stuff that can get the job done for you. There are many alternatives that can serve as good ski base cleaner substitutes.

If you are someone who likes a more affordable and environmentally friendly way to clean your ski bases, read on to learn about a few substitutes for commercial ski base cleaners. 

Dish Soap

Dish soap can be a very convenient alternative to commercial ski-base cleaners in terms of both cost and availability.

dish soap

Also check out our guide on do new skis need to be waxed.

It does not contain any hazardous chemicals either and allows for easy application. It will do a pretty good job of dissolving and removing greasy and oily muck from your skis. 

You can mix some liquid dish soap with warm water to prepare your substitute base cleaner. 

Clean the base with a fine copper brush as thoroughly as you can first. Then soak a piece of a lint-free cloth in the dish soap solution and clean the base gently.

Then rinse well with cold water, wipe well with a dry piece of lint-free cloth, and air dry the skis properly before moving on to waxing. 


Vinegar is another commonly available and cheap substitute for commercial ski base cleaners. It is fairly capable of removing greasy and oily residue sticking to your ski bases.

You don’t have to use gloves while using it either, as it does not have any bio-hazardous chemicals in them.


Also read how to keep snow from sticking to cross country skis here.

Use a piece of lint-free cloth soaked in vinegar to gently clean the already-brushed ski base. Make sure to rinse well using cold water at the end and air dry your skis well.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol a.k.a. Isopropyl alcohol is something most households have about, as it is useful in many ways, such as sterilizing and cleaning stuff.

Its ability to dissolve greasy and oily substances makes them a good alternative for ski base cleaning solutions on the market. Plus, it is not expensive, and not harmful to the skin. 

Simply dabbing a piece of lint-free cloth in rubbing alcohol and gently and thoroughly cleaning the ski base will do the trick. Remember to brush in advance. 

Isopropyl alcohol dries almost instantly, so you can move on to waxing the ski, after 10-15 minutes tops.

Citrus-Based Cleaning Solutions

Citrus-Based Cleaning Solutions

It is possible to use citrus-based all-purpose cleaners to clean your ski bases too. The main active ingredient is the solvent d-limonene, extracted from Orange peels.

Its degreasing property makes it a good alternative to commercial ski base cleaners in removing grease and oil. 

And they are organic, biodegradable, and non-hazardous.

You can clean your skis with a piece of lint-free cloth soaked in the citrus-based cleaner. Do rinse with cold water well afterward. You can proceed to wax once your skis have been properly air-dried. 

Final Thoughts

When cleaning ski bases, you don’t always have to rely on a cleaning solution specifically manufactured for the job. There are cheaper, non-hazardous, commonly available ski base cleaner substitutes that will do a pretty decent cleaning.

Dish soap, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and Citrus-based cleaning liquids can be used as substitutes to ski base cleaners with fairly good results.

Also read our guide on how to get skin glue off skis

However if the cleaning process is done prior to repairing some damages to a ski base, you are better off using a commercial ski base cleaning product, because a repair job requires a more thorough removal of old ski wax and foreign contaminants.

It all comes down to how dirty the skis are, how much time you can spend cleaning them, your budget, and your personal views regarding the environmental and health impacts of the ski cleaners in the market in deciding which way to go about cleaning your skis.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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