Top 5 Fishing Rod & Reel Cleaning Mistakes (That Can RUIN Your Gear)


Want to make your rods and reels last longer?

The easiest way to do that is to clean them after every trip.

However, most people don’t do it at all or do it incorrectly.

In this post, you’re going to learn the top five most common mistakes people make when it comes to cleaning their rods and reels.

You’ll also learn how to properly clean your equipment after each fishing trip so you can make your gear last as long as possible.

Let’s dive in!

5 Rod & Reel Cleaning Mistakes (That You’re Probably Making)

freshwater vs saltwater fishing rods

Mistake #1: Not cleaning your rods and reels at all

Some people don’t clean their rods and reels at all and when they do that, saltwater is sitting on them (and possibly in them) and will eventually start to corrode your gear.

Cleaning your rods and reels after every trip takes just a few short minutes since all you’re doing is rinsing them off with fresh water and dry them off with a clean rag.

That’s it!

Mistake #2: Not cleaning your rods & reels quick enough

If you wait to get home, salt will probably dry onto your equipment and start the rusting process, especially if you live far from the water.

Instead, just do it right when you get off the water when you get to your car.

I keep a sprayer in my truck to do this, although just a bottle of tap water could work, too.

Mistake #3: Using a high-pressure sprayer on your reel

High water pressure can force salt deeper into your reel, so just use a light mist when rinsing your reel.

Mistake #4: Not drying your rods & reels

Many people rinse off their gear, but most of them don’t dry it.

Drying not only gets the water off, but any excess salt off, which is the biggest reason why you need to dry your gear.

Mistake #5: Using detergent or soap

Even if you get fish blood and guts on your reel don’t use soap or detergent.

It can get into your reel and break down the grease and you definitely don’t want that.

When cleaning your rods and reels, be sure to just use fresh water.

To see how to properly clean your rod and reel after a fishing trip, check out the video below.

How To Clean Your Rod & Reel [VIDEO]

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Although this process is quick and easy, it can make a huge difference in the lifespan of your rods and reels.


If you want to make your rods and reels last as long as possible, just rinse them off with fresh water and dry them with a clean rag immediately after every trip.

It takes just a few minutes and can save you tons of money down the road.

Have any questions about cleaning your rods and reels?

Do you have any other tips for keeping your gear in great shape?

Let me know down in the comments.

And if you know someone who needs to clean their gear more often, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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10 months ago

Marvel Mystery Oil in a small spray bottle in your tackle bag or box will always come in handy after you rinse and dry your gear for the day, and a little spray on a micro hand towel with just a little rub down on your gear and you’ll enjoy those rods and reels for seasons to come! Tight lines guys😎

10 months ago


Tom Hebb
10 months ago

I use wd 40 on my rods. Works great

Christian Hurston
1 year ago

Great video Tony! Thanks for always putting out such good content!

1 year ago

Hi Tony! What are the specs of this rod? I’m in the market for a new rod I can use for stripers in the backbays cast some artificials and spoons.

Corky Cooper
1 year ago

I have used two products, individually depending on availability, Salt Off and Salt Away, after each trip and have seen no loss of performance or appearance of newness on rods and reels. Both come in a concentrate. Salt away has an attachment for a hose that dilutes the concentrate at the proper ratio and can be applied directly to your equipment. I then rinse with fresh water until all the suds are gone. I have found that very inexpensive freshwater reels can be preserved and used effectively for extended periods of time with this method. Salt Away also comes in a ready to use spray bottle already diluted.

1 year ago

also use baking soda match with water and will neutral the salt too

ken broseman
1 year ago

The comment emblem on my screen makes it difficult to read the subject matter. please remove it

Luke Simonds
1 year ago
Reply to  ken broseman

What phone are you using?

Jose Chacon
1 year ago

Hi good points and tips, I normally dip the bottom of my rods in a bucket of fresh water and agitate for a few seconds while spraying the top of the rod… is that wrong? I normally wade, so often the reel dips in the salt water a lot. How often should I take apart and re grease the reel?
Thank you JC

Jose Chacon
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Thanks, Do you guys have a video on how to do that?

John Schaer
9 months ago
Reply to  Jose Chacon

Every season is the best !

1 year ago

I take a cheapo garden tank sprayer to use after getting off the water. Gives a little bit of pressure and can also use it to spray sand off your feet.


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