Cleaning Fishing Reels – How to Guide

Cleaning Fishing Reels

​Do you want to keep your spinning reel for longer while maintaining its effectiveness?

Well, the secret to that lies in its proper cleaning. Do you think that you have been cleaning it right? Just hold on because you will soon find out.

Most people including the experts among anglers still do not know how to clean fishing reels. If your reel is dear to you then be responsible enough to give it a proper clean-up.

As much as reels have different uses, the basics necessary when it comes to cleaning them are almost similar even when using a baitcaster rod and reel.

Simply create some time off your busy schedule and administer proper cleaning to your fishing reel. It’s actually one of the best decisions you can ever make as a focused angler.

Below is a guideline that will assist you in performing proper cleaning for your fishing reel.

Table of Contents

​Cleaning Fishing Reels – Step by Step

​1. Cleaning Equipment

Laying out the appropriate items for cleaning the reel and supplies. Before you commence your cleaning, exercise to ensure that you have the following tools at your disposal; an unused toothbrush, two screwdrivers small in size, tweezers, and a piece of toothpick. Have the parts list in your hand that accompanied the reel during purchase and a wrench.

Among the supplies for cleaning you should have during this initial stage include a portion of hot water, a reel cleaner, a Simple green product for cleaning, or a lighter fluid (Ronsonol).

Such components will help you to easily remove the accumulated oils or grease. Do you have all this on your checklist? If yes, then you are ready for the next step.

2. Taking Apart

​Carefully separate your fishing reel in parts keeping each piece nicely laid out on a mat. In order to keep track of each piece laid out, try marking each piece using masking tape and numbering them.

This step will help to ensure that during assembling the pieces back none of it will get lost or forgotten. Remember the reel will only function effectively when you fix all its pieces separately.

​3. Handling

Try to be very cautious about how you handle your fishing reel when dissembling it and also during its reconstruction. You should hold the reel using your left hand while the right hand does the rest of the activities.

Practicing this ensures that everything stays in place and you can manage it easily. It will be more rewarding if you adopted handling the exercise in a similar manner. Why is this important? It’s important because that way putting the pieces back together is also made easier.

4. Separate

Take proper precautions by ensuring that metal isn’t placed against another.  Putting a mental on another could have adverse effects on your reel. This is because different parts of a reel are tailor-made to fit a metal to fiber.  Always keep that in mind.

5. Use a Tweezers

Employing the proper use of the tweezers when it comes to handling clips made of wire and springs. This will help ensure that the pieces are not flying and dropping all over the place while reducing their chances of getting lost. Keep in mind that for your reel to keep functioning after this, all its pieces are important.

​6. Secure your Line 

Ensure to take off your fishing line and secure it before getting to remove the spool. You can choose to either have it secured first using a masking tape before getting the spool away from the reel or simply pulling out the fishing line from the spool.

If you don’t exercise the above precaution, you may find your line end up stuck between the frame and the spool.  If this happens it may become very difficult for you to remove it. Such an occurrence might end up spoiling your fishing reel in the long run.

​8. Clean the Parts

Use Simple green in keeping your reel parts clean. Do not attempt to employ gasoline or other products with similar effects when it comes to cleaning off grease and dirt for your reel. This is because gasoline has an effect on plastics that melts them.

Simple green is a biodegradable component that won’t pose such an effect on the parts of the reel made of fiber. Using it together with a used toothbrush will work wonders on your reel giving it a very clean look.

​9. Greasing

Keep your gears greased by applying the grease on the lower end of the teeth. Applying grease on the upper ends of the teeth will make the gears splash the grease all over. To ensure that you achieve great greasing for your gears, simply apply a light coverage using a tiny brush or toothpick. Actually, a light cover of grease is all good to go.

​10. Clean Bearings 

Adopt using lighter fluid during the cleaning of oil bearings. This will ensure that all the dirty and unwanted disposals are cleaned out. Run a spin in order to be sure of their clean condition thereafter.

With the help of a toothpick keep them oiled using the Rocket fuel (TG) which has an average velocity. Placing one drop on each bearing is enough to make it even more effective.


Like an expert angler, it’s important to note that exercising proper cleaning of your reel will as well help increase its durability and performance. Saltwater is one of the major dangers your reel has to face as you continuously use it.

But this does not mean that sand and dirt are exceptional. However, it’s still very easy to manage the effect of saltwater. You will only need to exercise immediate cleaning of your reel after every fishing activity compared to anglers who fish in freshwaters.

Note that this doesn’t mean that you don’t clean it when fishing in freshwaters. The only difference is that with the fresh waters it’s still safe to clean your reel a number of times in a year, weekly and even monthly.

Do not allow your reel to get spoiled because you failed to clean it using the right approach. The above guideline on how to clean fishing reels is very simple and easy to follow. Take your chances and improve the lifespan of your reel as you engage in more and more fishing activities.