Latest Fishing Gear Reviews and Discounts

How do you clean and lubricate a fishing reel? : How do you clean and lubricate a fishing reel?

How to Clean and Lubricate a Fishing Reel

Key Takeaways

  • Cleaning and lubricating your fishing reel is essential for optimal performance and longevity.
  • The best way to clean a fishing reel involves gathering necessary tools, preparing the workspace, disassembling the reel, cleaning the drag system and the reel itself, applying lubrication, reassembling the reel, and applying oil to moving parts.
  • Additional tips for reel care and maintenance include loosening the drag after fishing, respooling regularly, tightening loose screws, and protecting the reel from direct sunlight.

Cleaning and lubricating your fishing reel is an essential part of reel maintenance that ensures optimal performance and longevity. Regular cleaning and lubrication help remove dirt, salt, sand, and other debris that can accumulate over time and impact the smooth operation of your reel. In this article, we will explore various methods and steps you can follow to clean and lubricate your fishing reel effectively.

The Best Way to Clean a Fishing Reel

There are several approaches to cleaning a fishing reel, and it’s important to choose a method that suits your reel’s specific needs. Here are some common steps you can follow:

  1. Gather the necessary tools: Before you begin, gather the tools you’ll need for the cleaning process. These tools may include screwdrivers, tweezers, a wrench, toothbrush and toothpaste, specialized reel cleaning agent, reel oil, microfiber cloth, and the reel part listing and user-manual.
  2. Prepare the workspace: Find a suitable place to keep the disassembled parts. It’s essential to have a clean and organized workspace to prevent any loss or confusion during the cleaning process.
  3. Disassemble the reel: Use a screwdriver to open up each part of the fishing reel for thorough cleaning, following the user manual. As you disassemble the reel, note down the order and part numbers to ensure proper reassembly later.
  4. Clean the drag system: Cleaning the drag system is crucial for optimal performance. Tighten it with optimal pressure, sponge it with lukewarm water, and use a fishing reel cleaning agent to remove any dirt or grime. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the cleaning agent.
  5. Clean the reel itself: Use a clean cloth, fresh water, and a toothbrush with toothpaste to clean the exterior surfaces of the reel. Pay special attention to the fishing line, as it can accumulate dirt and debris over time.
  6. Apply lubrication: Apply synthetic fishing reel oil on the drag system and lubricate it with reel oil or designated lubricant. Also, clean the spool separately by detaching it from the reel and cleaning the underside. Use lubricants such as grease for the spool.
  7. Reassemble the reel: Assemble the reel, keeping the drag system loose to prevent persistent pressure on the drag washers. Make sure to refer to the user manual and the notes you took during disassembly to ensure proper reassembly.
  8. Apply oil to moving parts: Apply quality reel oil on the handles, knobs, springs, and line rollers, and wipe off any excess. This helps to ensure smooth movement and prevent rusting or corrosion.

Cleaning your fishing reel after each fishing session is highly recommended to maintain its optimal performance. Regular cleaning helps to prevent the buildup of dirt, salt, and sand, which can cause damage to the reel’s internal components.

Additional Tips for Reel Care and Maintenance

While cleaning and lubricating your fishing reel is essential, there are additional steps you can take to ensure its longevity and performance:

  • Loosen the drag after fishing: After each fishing session, it’s important to loosen the drag on your reel. This helps to relieve pressure on the drag washers and prevents them from compressing over time.
  • Respool regularly: Regularly respooling your fishing line helps to prevent line memory and ensures smooth casting and retrieval.
  • Tighten the screws: Check and tighten any loose screws on your reel. Loose screws can affect the reel’s stability and performance.
  • Protect your reel from direct sunlight: Storing your reel away from direct sunlight helps to prevent UV damage and extends its lifespan.


Cleaning and lubricating your fishing reel is a vital part of reel maintenance that should not be overlooked. By following the proper cleaning steps and regularly lubricating the moving parts, you can ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your reel. Remember to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and user manual for specific cleaning recommendations and always seek guidance from experienced anglers or professionals if needed.

Related Websites:


Q: Why is it important to clean and lubricate a fishing reel?

Cleaning and lubricating a fishing reel is essential for maintaining its performance and longevity. Regular maintenance helps prevent dirt, debris, and grime buildup, which can negatively impact the reel’s functionality. By cleaning and lubricating the reel, you ensure smooth operation, extend its lifespan, and optimize its performance.

Q: What are the essential tools required for cleaning and lubricating a fishing reel?

The essential tools for cleaning and lubricating a fishing reel include a screwdriver, toothbrush or soft brush, cotton swabs, reel grease, reel oil, and a lint-free cloth. These tools will help you remove dirt, debris, and grime from different parts of the reel and apply lubricant to ensure smooth operation.

Q: Can I use DIY cleaning solutions and lubricants for my fishing reel?

While it is recommended to use reel-specific cleaning agents and lubricants for optimal performance, you can use some DIY alternatives. For cleaning, a mild dish soap diluted in water can be used, and for lubrication, a small amount of high-quality machine oil or silicone-based lubricant can suffice. However, it’s important to avoid using harsh chemicals or excessive amounts of lubricant that may damage the reel.

Q: How often should I clean and lubricate my fishing reel?

The frequency of cleaning and lubricating your fishing reel depends on how frequently you use it and the conditions it is exposed to. As a general guideline, it is recommended to clean and lubricate your reel at least once every fishing season or every 30-40 hours of use. However, if you fish in saltwater or harsh environments, more frequent maintenance may be required.

Q: What are the steps for testing the functionality of a cleaned and lubricated fishing reel?

After cleaning and lubricating your fishing reel, you can test its functionality by checking the smoothness of the drag system and retrieve. Ensure the drag system engages and releases smoothly, and the retrieve is free from any unexpected resistance or noise. Additionally, assess the overall performance during a test cast to identify any issues that may require further attention or repair.

Related Reading