How to Clean a Fishing Reel

How to Clean a Fishing Reel

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When it comes to improving the effectiveness and overall lifespan of your fishing reel, it is highly imperative to clean it on a consistent basis. Whether you use it for fishing saltwater or even in fresh water, cleaning up your fishing gear can improve its durability.​

Provided proper maintenance, this equipment can last for years to come while providing a high-quality performance. So if you’re looking for a useful way of how to clean a fishing reel, you’ve just landed at the right place. Featuring step by step information, we’ve prepared this guide for all such outdoor enthusiasts who want to have their fishing gear in the best shape possible.

How to Clean a Fishing Reel and the Required Accessories

In this method of how to clean a fishing reel, you’re going to need

  • Fresh Water
  • Sink or hose Water
  • Container
  • Reel lubricant
  • Reel Oil

Step 1: Soak the Reel

Take out a small to medium sized container and fill it up with fresh water. Untie the drag knob, take out the spool before soaking it in water. Now if the lines on your reel aren’t excessively worn, you can leave it as such. However, if there are worn/old lines, remove them from the reel before placing them in a recycling container. As per the reel, soak it as well.

Step 2: Rinse it

Remove the soaked reel and place it under running water. Make sure that all the external areas of this fishing gear are completely rinsed. Remember, it is highly important to avoid putting your reel under high-pressure water.

Some people would like to wash their reel with fishing hose but when you can use this equipment for washing your rod off, never use it directly over the reel, especially if you have one of the best fishing reels in the market. Because if you do so, water will entire inside the gearing systems before causing extreme damage. At the end, you might have to purchase a new fishing gear for your next outdoor trip.

Step 3: Dry the Reel

Once you’ve rinsed the reel in a thorough manner, dry it up with a clean cloth/rag. Apply the cloth over the reel carefully so it comes into contact with as much area as possible for effective drying. Pay special attention to the hard to reach areas because this is where the water might be left unattended. Excess water can wreak havoc on a reel, even if it is one of the best fishing reels around.

Step 4: Reel Lubricant

As per your preference, take out a reel lubricant before applying it gently over the entire reel. Try to keep the lubricant away from the line because some products might end up reacting with it.

The basic purpose behind this step is that the lubricant will wick away all the moisture which might still be present after drying the reel with a clean cloth. In this way, it acts as a protective barrier between the reel and the outside moisture.

Step 5: Reattach the Spool

Remove the spool, which has been placed in water soak in step 1, and dry it up in a similar fashion as that of the reel. Afterward, take out the reel oil and apply it gently over the spool. Once you feel that all the moisture is removed from the spool’s surface, attach it back to the reel.

How to Clean a Fishing Reel: Useful Tips

  • If you haven’t used your fishing reel for quite some time, it is imperative to apply a thin coating of lubricant before using it for your next fishing trip.
  • Saltwater fishing reels should be cleaned after every single fishing trip.
  • Freshwater fishing reels can be cleaned once in a week or even a month depending on the frequency on which you’re using this equipment.
  • Once the cleaning is complete, try to remove as much water as possible.
  • If damaged, replace the gears and ball bearings at the earnest.
  • After cleaning the fishing reel, store it in a proper place.
  • If you’re going to place the fishing reel in storage for a while, don’t forget to check on it from time to time and lubricate as needed.


Proper maintenance is the key if you want your fishing gear to serve you for an extended duration of time. Nowadays, there are all kinds of fishing equipment which you can purchase from the market. But none of them can produce a consistent performance against dirt, mud, sand and salt without proper care. So make sure that you clean your fishing gear at regular intervals and keep using this equipment for years to come.

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