How To Clean A Fishing Reel?

How To Clean A Fishing Reel

The fishing reels available today offer integrity and durability for a long time, and there is a catch to it; they require regular maintenance.

Cleaning fishing reels is no biggie because you can add an incredible increase to their lifespan if you do it right. Moreover, a fisher with a spinning reel can’t make it on the third trip to fishing with his pals because he hasn’t cleaned his fishing reel. A messy and clogged fishing reel can reduce the chances of you landing a nice chunk of fish.

Man Open A Fishing Reel

Of course, things can be different for a beginner, and it can be challenging to understand the fundamental elements of a reel, but here’s some good news: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If you lack the knowledge of how to clean or maintain your fishing reel, today is your lucky day!

Don’t know anything about maintaining a fishing reel? Need some advice? Stop lurking around and start reading our professional yet accessible guide to cleaning a fishing reel. Here we go.

A Beginner’s Tip 

Even if you are not planning to do deep cleaning, just trying to remove fishing reel grease from the interior, you’ll need to learn several steps.

For starters, you should focus on the external components of the fishing reel, as it is a great place to start cleaning. If you fish on the lake or in Saltwater, scraping away the grime won’t be difficult. 

It would help if you had a soft cloth to wipe off the reel after washing it with a low-pressure garden hose. That would eliminate sand, debris, salt, or any other contaminant from the coil. 

If you tend to remove the dirty elements right away, you can prevent the grime from entering into the interior of the reel.

Man clean A Fishing Reel

Furthermore, some fishing reels feature a maintenance port. You can apply oil to the maintenance port. It is best to put a tiny droplet of oil to the maintenance port after every 3-4 outings. Additionally, check to see if the oil you are using is suitable for the reel.

Essential Tools You Will Need

You cannot clean your fishing reel with water, a cleaning agent, and a piece of cloth; you need proper tools. Take a look at some essential tools you will need to assist you in the cleaning process:

  • Wrench 
  • Instruction Manual of the Reel 
  • Wrench 
  • Toothbrush 
  • Screwdrivers: Phillips and Standard
  • Toothpick 
  • A notepad 
  • Toothbrush 
opened Fishing Reel

Some of these tools may seem arbitrary, but they can surely help get rid of the grease from the fishing reel. Moreover, make sure your tools align with the size of your fishing reel. 

Cleaning Tips 

Before you start cleaning your fishing reel, you need to understand a few things. For all the beginners out there, here are some of the best cleaning tips that will enhance your fishing reel cleaning experience effortlessly.

  • Before you break the fishing reel into parts, make sure you have all the cleaning agents and tools ready and near you. In addition to this, lay the reel parts on a flat surface where you can easily access them without losing them.
  • For your ease, write down the placing order of every piece. It is best to number each part as you detach it.
  • Handle tiny components like springs, screws, or wire clips with the help of tweezers.
  • Before you tend to remove the spool, make sure to lock the fishing line with a clip or duct tape.
  • After using cleaning agents to clean your fishing reel, add grease or oil for lubrication.

The Real Deal: Cleaning your Fishing Reel 

How To Clean A Fishing Reel

STEP 1: Arrange 

The first step to deep cleaning a spinning reel is to organize your equipment, as well as the platform where you’ll be placing your coil. As you already have your tools lined up, you must know that there are plenty of complicated parts inside a fishing reel, and these parts require special care while cleaning. 

To avoid losing anything, carefully organize your supplies together because that will make it easier for you to re-arrange the reel parts back collectively.

STEP 2: Secure The Reel

Hold the fishing reel in your non-dominant hand and use your dominant hand to perform all the work. That will make it easier and more functional for you to secure the tools and parts of the reel. 

In addition to this, ensure the spinning reel is in a comfortable and tight position so that you can have access to every component properly. Also, holding the coil in the right place will allow you to assemble and disassemble it effortlessly.

STEP 3: Take Care Of Your Equipment 

Other than the tools, you will need the right quality cleaning agent, grease, reel oil, hot water, and some lighter fluid. With these fluids, you can clean your reel correctly. Furthermore, it is essential to re-oil the coil after washing it so that it works as smoothly as possible.

Moreover, never use dishwashing agents or household greases or oils because they can quickly harden and ruin your reel’s surface. So, it is best to use the recommended agent for cleaning your fishing reel. 

You can prefer to take a look at the user manual to get an idea about the reel manufacturer and what cleaning agents you should use.

STEP 4: Be Precise And Gentle

Never attach metal with metal when cleaning a fishing reel. It would help if you used sponges or fiber cloth, so you don’t damage or create scars on any coil components. As a result, your reel will work well and last for a long time.

STEP 5: It’s Time To Use Tweezers

As mentioned in the cleaning tips, tweezers are useful for handling minor components of the reel. That said, you tweezers on turning or spring-loaded components to keep them stable while cleaning your coil. However, it’s not crucial, but it enhances the process of deep cleaning delicate parts of the reel.

STEP 6: Keep The Fishing Line in Place 

You can either detach the fishing line for an extensive cleaning process or prefer to keep it aside with duct tape. That way, the line will not get in the form of the mechanisms. If it does get in the way, then consider everything to be spoiled.

However, it is a useful choice to completely detach the fishing line during cleaning to prevent potential damages. Plus, it will help you in cleaning hidden places of the spool without any disturbance.

STEP 7: Grease Or Oil The Fishing Gear

There is a unique trick involved in greasing the reel. Before you start oiling, you must use a fishing reel grease, according to the one mentioned in the user manual of your fishing reel. Begin from the bottom of the coil, and gently grease your way up.

On the other hand, if you start greasing the reel from the top, you will have to clean excess grease that runs down the spool, creating a mess. 

So, use a toothbrush and put oil on the bottom. That way, you can maintain the functionality of your fishing reel by increasing its lifespan.

STEP 8: Cleaning A Reel Dipped In Saltwater

Now, this is the part where you learn how to clean a fishing reel after saltwater use. If you fish in Saltwater more than in freshwater, then you must soak your fishing reel in clean, warm water and hose the rod to increase the reel’s longevity.

Saltwater can potentially damage, rust, or corrode parts of the reel and rod, and if it gets worse, no amount of cleaning will fix it. So, clean your rod and fishing reel after every dip in Saltwater.

What To Do In The Offseason 

The offseason is when you are not using your rod and fishing reel. That is when you should keep your fishing equipment in a flannel pack, as fishing reel components can easily absorb moisture and water. As a result, the humidity can destroy your reel. Therefore, make sure your reel remains dry when not in use.

Moreover, most high-end fishing reels come with carrying bags, but most fishers throw them away. It is essential to keep the bags and store your fishing reel in them during the offseason. Additionally, reel bags are designed to protect the fishing equipment from damage, so never throw them away.

cleaning a fishing reel

The Verdict

Nobody likes to watch something they bought with happiness lose its flare. That said, fishing reels are exceptionally delicate. Even the slightest amount of negligence can cause you a lifetime of regret.

For both professionals and beginners, knowing how to clean a fishing reel sets you apart from those who destroy their fishing reels after one or two uses.

Furthermore, the offseason is the essential time to maintain your fishing reel because you won’t be able to use it. 

Clean it properly before putting it in a bag and place it somewhere safe and easily accessible. Moreover, we hope our guide turns you into a responsible and caring person when it comes to fishing reels.


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