How to a Clean Spinning Reel

How to Clean a Spinning Reel: 7 Expert Tips for Proper Maintenance 

Every angler desires to go out and get as many catches as possible. Tackle failure can be devastating, especially if there was something that could have been done. More often, the breakage of the fishing gear is due to negligence on angler’s part.

The spinning reel, for instance, need through reel maintenance and consistent servicing for best performance and durability. Not doing so could mean coughing up some money now and then to buy a new one. But why do that when you can clean a spinning reel with much ease by following the steps below.

How to a Clean Spinning Reel: A Guide for Proper Maintenance

Always clean the exterior after every fishing trip

When water and grit get inside the reel, it can cause severe damage, especially if spinning reel cleaning is not done after every use. Thorough cleaning prevents corrosion and rust that may occur in the long run. It is good to remove the spinning reel from the rod and then rinse it thoroughly with clean water.

The drag should then be loosened and damp cloth used to wipe off the dirt on the exterior part. Use running water with low pressure to remove all the dirt. Dry the reel using a soft dry cloth and reattach it to the rod when done. The gear should then be kept well for the next trip.

Occasionally, the interior of the spinning reel should also be cleaned thoroughly for dependable use. The next steps should help you do with much ease.

2. Get the necessary tools and supplies

There are various tools and supplies that you will need before taking apart your reel. These are listed below:


  • Pair of tweezers
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Philips-head screwdriver
  • Special wrenches included in the package
  • Toothpick
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Parts list included with reel if there
  • Cleaning supplies

  • Biodegradable cleaning solution
  • Reel oil
  • Lighter fluid
  • Super lube multi-purpose grease
  • Enter your text here...

    3. Organize your cleaning area

    This is a straightforward and essential step. Some parts of the spinning reels are tiny and get easily get lost if you do not take proper care of them. It is good to spread a mat or a towel over the working area. The masking tape should then be stuck along the mat.

    As the parts are disassembled, it should be placed next to strip and labeled well with numerical numbers. It, therefore, becomes more manageable when reassembling as you follow the order in which they were removed to put them exactly where they are supposed to be.

    4. Start disassembling the reel part by part

    Ensure you have undertaken the first step to keep the reel clean before taking the parts out. Use the tweezers, wrenches, and screwdrivers to remove parts one at a time. There is no strict way of doing this since the reel differs from one model to the other. Do it right in the most logical manner while putting the parts on the mat and labeling them.

    However, you should secure the fishing line before spool is removed to avoid any tangle while cleaning the spinning reel. You can remove it altogether and keep it a separate spool or just use masking tape to secure it. Tweezers should be used when removing tiny parts, e.g., springs and wire clips, which can get lost, are not correctly done.

    5. Clean every part thoroughly

    Once the disassembling reel is complete, each part should be cleaned thoroughly using the cleaning solution and a toothbrush. Ensure all the residue is removed from every part as much as you can. Do not rush over. In the end, your spinning reel will be as good as a new one.

    The bearings should also be cleaned thoroughly to keep it winding smooth. Use the essential lighter fluid to do this or any other specialty bearing cleaning detergent. Apply the detergent and scrub using a brush while spinning to ensure every part is touched. Once the bearing is undoubtedly clean, apply a little reel oil to each one it using a toothpick. The other parts that should be oiled include; kick lever, arm lever, handle knobs, pickup pin, spool-release mechanism, and clutch screw. 

    6. Grease the gears

    The gearing inside the reel should be greased by applying a light coating using a toothpick. Only the lower set of the gear teeth should be greased as the upper teeth can spread the grease to other parts, which are not advisable. The other parts that should be greased include spool washers, roller wheel, pickup arm, center-shaft, crank gear, and crankshaft.

    7. Reassemble the spinning reel

    Once every part is clean and lubricated, your work is almost done. Reassemble the reel by putting parts back one at a time. The last to come out should be the first to go in following the order in which labeling on the mat was done. This is the reason why you should always do the labeling well to avoid challenging when tracing and putting back the parts. In case you get lost or confused, refer to the part list or explosion diagram that came with your reel. Tighten every apart well to avoid any loose parts that can come out when fishing. Once you are done, store the spinning reel properly and plan for a successful fishing trip free of any disappointment.

    Final Thoughts on How to Clean a Spinning Reel

    While the exterior cleaning should be done after every trip, as indicated in the first step, the interior can be done once a year. The steps highlighted above, when followed well, will result in a sparkling clean spinning reel that gives long-lasting services. In fact, the difference in performance will be felt after the cleaning is done.

    Buy the tool and supplies from a reputable source. Using wrong cleaning detergent may cause more harm than good. The toothbrush used should have a soft bristle to avoid damaging any tiny part. Do not overlook the labeling done on the mat as losing one part can render the spinning reel functionless. Every step, no matter simple, is necessary and should be taken with all seriousness it deserves. Clean thoroughly, and enjoy fishing successfully in the water!

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