How to Clean a Fishing Reel
How to Clean a Fishing Reel


What You Need

Like any other tool or piece of equipment, your fishing reel needs consistent maintenance to continue to work well and remain durable. If you usually fish in freshwater, you should clean your reel at least once every five fishing trips, whereas saltwater fishers need to clean their reels after every trip.

Never use gasoline, lighter fluid, or similar products to clean an old fishing reel, as these will melt most plastic pieces. Soaking is not the best way to clean a fishing reel, either, despite widespread internet advice. Excess moisture could get into the gear system and cause long-term damage.

Simple Green Marine All-Purpose Boat Cleaner is specially formulated to remove grease, grime, oil, gas, diesel fuel, fish blood, and more from washable surfaces in or near marine environments.

If you are not comfortable disassembling and cleaning your fishing reel because of all of the small pieces, opt to use a professional cleaning service.

Directions for Cleaning Fishing Reels:

  1. Take the reel apart. You can use masking tape to number each part so it will be easier to reassemble later. Use tweezers for handling wire clips and springs. Remove the line from the spool.
  2. Strip or tape the line. Either strip the fishing line from the spool or secure it with masking tape before removing the spool. The line will get caught between the spool and the frame if you skip this step.
  3. Rinse. Rinse the entire reel with clean water before you begin cleaning the spool.
  4. Apply Simple Green Marine All-Purpose Boat Cleaner.
  5. Use a toothbrush or small paintbrush to scrub.
  6. Make sure to rinse all the cleaner. Thoroughly rinse with running water after cleaning.
  7. Thoroughly dry to prevent rust. You can first dry with a soft cloth, then use a blow dryer to ensure there is no moisture left behind.
  8. Apply grease and oil. You can use WD40. Apply a light coating of grease on the gears using a toothpick or small brush, then do the same with a couple of drops of oil on the ball bearings. Lubrication prevents corrosion.
  9. Reassemble. Use the number system you laid out in the beginning to put your reel back together. Check to make sure all of the parts are working the way they should.


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