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Best Way To Clean Saltwater Fishing Reels

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Best Way To Clean Saltwater Fishing Reels

How to clean your saltwater fishing reels and maintain them

Cleaning your saltwater fishing reels is important and by doing so will keep your fishing reels working properly and maintain functionality for a long time. When you clean your saltwater fishing reels properly and maintain and care for them it will encourage a longer lasting life.

The process of cleaning your saltwater fishing reels are quite simple. Here are some steps below.


  • Rinse your reels,
  • Dry and disassemble your reel to oil,
  • Clean or replace your lines,
  • Clean your rods,
  • Use a soft cloth to wipe dry,
  • Stow them smartly.

If you follow the instruction given in this article you can easily clean your saltwater fishing reels.

Step 1: rinse your reels:

A correct way to wash a fishing reel at the end of fishing isn’t difficult just time-consuming. Always be sure to run your reels under freshwater and never use any kind of pressure when rinsing the reels such as aiming a hose or spraying the nozzle directly at your reel.

Salt and sand will, of course, be built up but give it a rinse with freshwater will take care of it. Also, try soaking them in a small bucket full of freshwater before rinsing.

Step 2: dry and disassemble your reel oil:

After rinsing. Dry your reels with a towel and also let it air dry before you apply any reel oil. Each reel is different when it comes to disassembling your reels so be sure to look that up. After it is completely dry and disassembled you can start to oil it up using reel oil. Now put it back together reversing the steps you took when you needed to disassemble your reel.

Step 3: clean or replace your lines:

As a general rule, you need to replace your fishing line after any long, stressful encounter with a large fish. This is because if the properties of the lines were simply compromised while going for the bout. Same like monitoring and maintaining the reels, keeping the fishing lines fresh is a critical thing to achieve success on your way.

A worn line might do just fine when bailing small school fish only to the fail on a large powerful fish.

Step 4: clean your rods:

Same as your reels you will need to spray down your rods using freshwater. Spray it down while on your boat making your way back to sure or if you are at a beach just get some freshwater hopefully in a bucket and just run some freshwater over it. When you get back home you can complete the rinsing of your rods using a garden hose or take them into your shower to rinse them off.


Step 5: use a soft cloth to wipe dry:

After the second rinse when you’re at home you’ll want to use a soft cloth to wipe your rods dry. Also, use some sort of protection spray such as reel magic to coat your rods after drying them down. This adds a protective layer to help keep your rods clean and ready for the next trip.

Stop 6: stow them smartly:

Always be sure to stow away your fishing equipment properly. Find a nice dry area once the cleaning and drying is complete. 

Cleaning your fishing reels can be done a lot of different ways.

Sometimes using a shop to clean your reels can get costly especially with the price of gears, etc. if you want to reduce the amount you spend to clean your reels it’s better you do it yourself.

In the process of cleaning your fishing reels, the first thing you want to do is just dump all of your jigs, lures, terminal tackles which you had soaking in saltwater and place them in a bathtub or in the sink with fresh water. Then clean them with a wet towel and allow them to dry.

First Rinse

Once you finish the first step then next go to clean up the rods. You can spray the rods down with freshwater. Spray them down on the boat or on your way home. At least that gets some of the salt and nastiness off the rods and reels.

Second Rinse

Don’t think spraying on the rod is enough to clean it because still there may be dust particles in it and to clean all of them you need to shower your rod and wipe them down in the shower. After cleaning it with the shower you can take them outside and wipe them down with a clean towel.

Always keep in mind to tighten your drag and under a steady flow of tap water rinse your reeks and your fishing lines. Don’t turn your reels upside down and don’t spray your reels with a high-level pressure.

Disassemble your reels

Once you finish the process of rinsing your reels, wipe it down with a towel and allow it to dry. To clean the reels as separate parts you can follow the below steps.

First, unscrew the drag cap and take it off the reel. Based upon removing the drag knob, you need to check if any salt or water has gotten inside of your reels.

Remove the drag washer retainer

Now remove the drag washer retainer and drag clicker and then the washers. While you’re cleaning the reels just make sure that you keep everything in an order to clean it and don’t be confused about the parts when you put them back together.

Carbon Fiber Drag

If you’re having a carbon fiber drag cleaning it varies from other washers.  If you look inside the spool from the top, there you will see a ball bearing inside. You need to take it out and look if any water or salt got in it.

Normally most people can just pop it right out. You will add few drops of oil in the bearing and allow it sit for a little time then put it back to its home. Now just put all the parts together by using the following tools,

Tools you’ll need

  • Shimano reel oil
  • Daiwa tournament drag grease (the blue stuff)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Small, soft brush
  • Soft towel

In addition to the above tools, you can use your hand tools if needed to clean your reels and after you fix your reels at their position check it once to ensure your reels are set perfectly.


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