How to Clean and Maintain a Spinning Reel

Cleaning your spinning reel is an essential part of keeping it up and running.

If you don’t regularly clean and lubricate your reel, it will gradually lose its functionality.

And if you think taking care of a spinning reel is a tough task, we have all the tips and tricks you need to do it as easily and effectively as possible.

There are two types of cleaning and maintenance. The one that is quick and can be frequent, and the one that takes time and is done from time to time.

Spinning Reel Maintenance & Cleaning: Outside

Spinning Reel Maintenance & Cleaning

Step 1: Organize Your Tools

Gather all the supplies and tools you’ll need and keep them organized to start taking apart your reel.

There are many parts on a spinning reel, and a lot of them are small and can be lost easily.

A helpful trick is to lay a mat or a towel over the area in which you’ll work.

Then, you should stick long pieces of tape that are labeled with numbers that go in the order you took apart your reel. This way, you’ll know how to put it back together step-by-step.

Step 2: Take Your Reel Apart

Make sure to start with a clean reel, so maybe follow the quick routine mentioned above if your reel isn’t clean.

Take your time exploring the parts, how they can be unscrewed, and number them somehow to be able to build your reel back together.

A very important step to take before removing the spool is securing your fishing line. Otherwise, you’ll be faced with a nightmare of tangled lines.

You can use a piece of masking tape to stick the line on the spool or you can completely remove it and store it somewhere until the cleaning is done.

On top of that, you can user tweezers to pick up the smaller parts.

Step 3: Thorough Cleaning

Using a toothbrush can help you clean every part thoroughly and reach tougher parts.

Make sure that you remove all the residue on the parts and don’t rush the process.

Step 4: Greasing the Gears

After you’ve cleaned the parts of the reel, use a toothpick to apply a light coating of grease to the gears inside the reel.

Make sure you apply the grease to the lower set of gear teeth only.

Applying grease to the upper set of gear teeth would probably result in that grease being spread to other parts of your reel.

Step 5: Oiling the Bearings

Oiling the Bearings

The bearings on the reel are what make it crank smoothly and seamlessly.

You can either get a specialty bearing cleaning solution or use a basic lighter fluid.

After applying your choice of solution, scrub the bearings with a brush and spin them to test how clean and smooth they are.

As long as they don’t spin, keep brushing.

After you’re done with cleaning the bearings, use a toothpick to add bearing oil.

Step 6: Reassemble the Reel

After you’ve cleaned and lubricated everything, it’s time to put it back together.

If you mix the parts’ order up, you can use the help of the explosion diagram included with your reel.

Spinning Reel Maintenance & Cleaning: InsideSpinning Reel Maintenance & Cleaning Inside

You should make this a routine after every fishing trip to ensure that your reel stays working properly for as long as possible.

1. Loosen the drag completely and remove your spinning reel from the rod.

2. Wipe off the dirt and grime with a soft cloth that’s moistened by freshwater.

When you run water on the built-up dirt and sand, it can help remove these residues.
Make sure that you use a sink instead of a hose as high water pressure might actually push the dirt deeper inside the reel.

3. Dry your reel thoroughly with a dry piece of cloth.

4. Spray your reel with WD-40 or something like it from time to time to keep the water and grit off of your gear. Be careful not to get any of the solvents on the line, however.

5. After you’re done, attach your gear again.

Final Thoughts

While the cleaning procedures may seem like a tedious task, they’re very important in keeping your reel smooth and efficient.

Moreover, thorough cleaning once a year will extend the durability of your reel for a considerable amount of time.

And finally, nothing works better than a kempt reel.

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