How to Clean a Fishing Reel

How to Clean a Fishing Reel | Maintenance Tips For Beginners

Today we will discuss How to Clean a Fishing Reel. The key to achieving the best value out of a fishing reel is to maintain it properly. No matter how expensive the reel is, if it’s not maintained and taken care of regularly, it’ll eventually wear out.

You’re probably thinking that freshwater reels don’t require as much maintenance as salt water, however, that’s not the case. All sorts of reels need to be cleaned and well-maintained in order to increase their lifespan.

Now the question is, how do you take care of the reels? What are the effective measures you can take so that you can carry them along to as many fishing expeditions as possible?

You don’t need to follow any rigorous cleaning regimes to keep these bad boys in shape. Some basic cleaning and marinating procedures will give you the result you want. So, let’s take a quick look at how to clean a fishing reel.

How to Clean a Fishing Reel?

Gather Up The Tools:

Before you start with the cleaning process, keep the necessary tools handy so that you don’t have to waste time looking for them while cleaning. Keep a small screwdriver, a brush, a tweezer, a toothpick, and any other tool that came with the reel.

Get a cleaner solution that will help you get rid of all the dirt and gunk from the reel. Also, keep a good reel grease handy as you’ll need to grease the reel once you’re done cleaning it.

It’s Cleaning Time:

Baitcasting Reel:

The cleaning process slightly differs with the reel type. Baitcasting reels need to be cleaned with a clean damp cloth. After every trip, put light grease on the handle rivets of both shafts and the place where it comes in contact with the pinion gear.

If you’re into saltwater fishing then cleaning the reels is a must after every fishing expedition. Make sure you take off the spool and body and rinse them with clean water. It’s very important to get rid of salt residues as otherwise, it’ll corrode away the metal.

Spinning Reel:

Spinning reels are essential equipment for every novice angler and it’s a must to properly take care of them in order to increase their longevity. Cleaning a spinning reel is easier compared to others as the pieces are more accessible.

Take off the spool assembly by removing the drag dial. Most reels include a maintenance port that allows you to oil the internal parts that aren’t accessible. For the parts that you can disassemble, clean them thoroughly as you remove them with a fresh cloth and grease them properly before putting them back in place.

Dissemble The Reel:

Every once in a while the reel needs a more intensive cleaning procedure to keep it up and running. This part is extremely vital if you accidentally submerge the reel under water. 

Now comes the crucial part, it’s time to disassemble the reel. Go to a clean area and lay the parts on a mattress so that they don’t roll away. For extra caution, you can put double-sided masking tape to ensure the small nuts and bolts stay in place.

Assemble Them Back:

Number each of the parts as you remove them so that you can easily assemble them back together once you’re done cleaning them. You can also take help from the instruction manual for further assistance, in case you have trouble setting them back up again.

Use fresh water to clean and dry them under the sun. Also, make sure you properly grease them to prevent rusting and keep them running smoothly.

Give Some Love to The Rod:

What good would the reel be if the fishing rod is all old and rusty? Give the rod some loving too after finishing the trip. If you’re into saltwater fishing then it’s a must to clean the rod with freshwater to stop the rod from corroding away. Wash the rod with mild soap if necessary and put light grease once you’re done with the cleaning.


how often should i clean the reel?

This depends on how many fishing trips you take and the type of water. If you’re into saltwater fishing then we recommend you clean the reels after every expedition. On the other hand, if you’re fishing in freshwater, cleaning the reels after four to five trips will suffice.

what are the basic tools required for cleaning the reels?

Cleaning the reels don’t require a lot of tools. Some basic tools such as a small screwdriver, a brush, a tweezer, and a toothpick will be enough to conduct the cleaning process.

what kind of grease should i use on the reel?

Any sort of reel grease will do the job. You can also use light motor grease if you don’t have a reel grease handy.

How to Clean a Fishing Reel

Wrapping Up:

Anglers have always struggled with the reel cleaning process. In this article, we have introduced step-by-step clear instructions on how to clean the reel so that they can have a smooth hassle-free fishing experience. Following these few simple steps will make your life a lot simpler and easier.

For every angler, a fishing reel bears immense importance. There’s no point in having an expensive rod and pairing it up with a lousy reel. Maintaining the reel is extremely important as that determines how long its lifespan will be.

Saltwater reels should be cleaned after every trip and you can clean the freshwater reels after every five to six trips. This cleaning routine is super easy to follow and it will increase the effectiveness of your fishing reel to a great extent. So, keep your reels clean and happy fishing!

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