How to Clean a Spinning Reel – A Step-by-Step Maintenance Guide

Popular spinning reels for fishing now provide more features than just a hook and line. Spinning reels have the advantage of being able to handle heavier lines due to the anti-reverse bearings that are typically installed.

In addition to their other pieces of gear, most freshwater anglers utilize spinning gear, especially if they fish lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. If saltwater fishing is your thing, there are many spinning reels available that can withstand even the worst saltwater conditions.

spinning reel maintenance

Thanks to their excellent drag systems and robust components, spinning reels enable the angler to fight fish under constant tension. There has never been a simpler way to catch more and bigger fish.

We’re going to concentrate on the first two categories of cleaning today. These cleans, in my opinion, are the secret to significantly prolonging the useful life of your spinning reel.

There are three categories of spinning reel cleaning, in my opinion.

  1. First, there is the straightforward hose down.
  2. Second, there is a thorough outside clean with cleaning supplies, which involves taking the line and spool off.
  3. Lastly, a comprehensive exterior and internal deep clean, which entails removing the side plate and many of the moving parts, including gears and bearings, is the third method of cleaning.

Spinning Reel Cleaning Tip 1: The Superficial Wash Down

Regardless of whether you fishing in freshwater or saltwater, you should always undertake this type of spinning reel cleaning after each outing on the water.

It should be highlighted that the saltwater angler absolutely needs this.

Even the priciest spinning reel, equipped with cutting-edge anti-corrosion treatments, coatings, and alloys, may deteriorate due to corrosion.

Continuous saltwater exposure will eventually deteriorate nearly anything. And it will devour your preferred spin reel slowly, or frequently quickly.

The form of cleaning I consider to be most important is the superficial washdown.

First off, it’s quick and simple. It’s also simple to complete because we don’t need to set aside time for it.

Spinning Reel Cleaning Tip 2: It Significantly Reduces Accumulation By Removing A Tonne Of Salt And Reel-Killing Debris

To wash down and clean a spinning reel, follow these instructions:

  1. Take the rod with the reel off of it. While it is possible to do so while the reel is still attached, you won’t be able to effectively clear the buildup from where the reel feet attach to the reel seat. Remove the reel and thoroughly clean your rod, paying close care to the reel seat. The drag is constricted due to wind. A slack drag invites water into the drag washers, which is something you should want to avoid.
  2. Use a hose to lightly mist-spray the reel. NEVER immerse your reel, and NEVER apply strong pressure. NOTE: Many fishermen would advise you to just use a wet towel and to never submerge your reel in water. This is partially true, but if you’re anything like me, a thorough cloth treatment following each session would be a step too far and unlikely to happen. The majority of it can be eliminated with a fast spray, and if you are careful, you won’t shove filth into the joints and cracks. If you’re concerned about this, concentrate your Reel Guard spray at the joins to disintegrate any minerals that might have washed into inaccessible locations.
  3. As you hold the reel with the spool facing up, make sure to wash all exposed surfaces. Avoid shooting water as much as possible underneath the spool. With heavy port spools, water infiltration is unavoidable and this might be challenging. Before storing, shake off any extra water and let the item drain and dry. I give the handle a couple of cracks to blow away any lingering water once the reel appears to be dry.

Spinning Reel Cleaning Tip 3: The Comprehensive External Clean For Spinning Reels

  1. The quantity of these cleans will depend on how frequently you fish, where you fish, and under what conditions.
  2. This kind of cleaning should be completed at least once a month if you fish the surf twice a week, as I make an effort to do.No matter where or how often you fish, you should go through this procedure at least once every six months. Some fishermen will wait years between trips. Others will perform this kind of cleaning after each session. It’s not difficult by any means, but it will take some time because you’ll be paying closer attention to folds, joins, and difficult-to-reach areas.
  3. The fishing line and spool will be taken off.

The Procedures For A Thorough External Spinning Reel Clean Are As Follows:

  1. Follow the superficial clean’s first three steps, one through three. A cloth, water, some cue tips, and a bottle of your preferred Reel Guard are all necessary (or similar). A few people use soapy water. I’d prefer not to because leaving it in place can help corrosion. Also used by some is WD40. Absolutely, but it also gets rid of grease. Any grease that has been taken off MUST be put back on.
  2. You must now unwind your line from the spool. My friends doubt the necessity of this, but I have two justifications. First of all, whenever I take the line out, I discover salt, sand, and whatever else has found its way to the arbor. This requires cleaning. Second, the line that was closer to the arbor will be on top when I put the line back on the spool, meaning that I will be fishing with a line that is in much better condition.
  3. The spool must be taken away from the rotor. Clean the bends, nuts, and wrinkles on the shaft of the reel as well as on the underside of the spool using a moist cloth and a wet cue tip. Reel Guard should be sprayed on both parts. equivalent, etc. From the reel, remove the handle. To get into joins and rebates once more and get rid of as much dirt as you can, use a cue tip. Then use a moist towel to clean the entire reel. From the handle, remove the bail arm and knob. Take care not to misplace any screws. Reassemble after lubricating the reel guard and cue tip. Reconnect the handle and spool after wiping the reel dry. Use a cloth to dry off.
  4. If your guides are covered in a lot of build-ups, your line may suffer significant damage and break. You will consequently lose a fish. You want to make sure you clean all of the minerals and vegetation off there because as the line goes in, they build up during the day. To clean the guides, use a Q-tip or a soft brush and some Simple Green or WD-40. The best way to achieve this is to keep these things close to you so you may use them while fishing. But if you have to wait until you get home, that’s fine too. Maintaining the Rod Handle
  5. This is primarily for aesthetic reasons, however, if you fish in saltwater, the water might damage the handle and make it more difficult to handle when battling a larger fish. The best way to clean the rod handle is to scrub and wipe it down with some rubbing alcohol. Repeat this procedure until everything is flawless.
  6. If a reel is not properly cleaned, saltwater can be devastating to it. By misting the reel with fresh water and wiping it down, you can start cleaning even while you are out fishing. After a day of saltwater fishing, cut off all the used lines when you arrive home, and take the reel off the pole. Rinse the rods using a reel cleaner, such as one of the suggestions listed above, with mild pressure. To avoid simply spreading salt, use a small brush to reach the tight spaces. Also, make sure to thoroughly rinse the brush after use.
  7. After giving it a good scrub, rinse the reel and pat everything dry.
  8. Cleaning Supplies on Reels
  9. When it comes to cleaning your reel, a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels won’t do; you must have the appropriate tools and supplies on hand.

Lay out a clean towel so you may arrange everything in front of you before you start cleaning. Here are just a few of the several items you’ll need to thoroughly clean your rod and reel.

  • few little screwdrivers
  • one set of tweezers
  • The toothpicks box
  • outdated toothbrush
  • a little wrench
  • likewise, your preferred reel cleaning products

Two Types Of Spinning Reel Cleaners

Ardent Reel Kleen and Penn Rod and Reel Cleaner are two of the best fishing reel cleaning products. The Ardent Rod Cleaning Kit is a fantastic item that has everything you require in a handy kit. The cleaning kit has been in use by us for many years. Use regular lighter fluid to remove excess filth from the rod and reel if you don’t want to spend the money on something like that.

You are prepared to begin cleaning the reel once you have acquired all of the required supplies. To ensure that there is no extra weed buildup in the eyes, thoroughly clean the entire blank and all of the guides.


You are prepared to begin cleaning the reel once you have acquired all of the required supplies. To ensure that there is no extra weed buildup in the eyes, thoroughly clean the entire blank and all of the guides. We hope that this article could help you the very right way!

Additional Resources:

Young has worked on charter fishing boats in the Florida Keys, Virgin Islands, and Alaska. Growing up in Pennsylvania Young has also done extensive freshwater fishing including bass fishing tournaments. Young strives to provide detailed information about the best fishing gear and tactics to help both novice and experienced anglers have a more productive and enjoyable time on the water.

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