Rod & Reel Cleaning Q&A: Top Mistakes & What Products To AVOID


If you want to make your rods and reels last as long as possible (and SAVE money by not having to buy new ones), then you should be cleaning them after every trip.

All you need to do is simply rinse them off with fresh water and dry them.

I posted a video with some tips for doing that last week and a lot of great questions came in, so instead of answering them individually, I decided to make this video because I’m sure many people had the same questions.

To learn more about how to maintain your rods and reels so they last longer, check out the Q&A video below.

Rod & Reel Cleaning Q&A [VIDEO]

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You can see the original video here:

Q: Should you use a pressure washer on your rod and reel?

A: No! High-pressured water can force water and salt into your reel, which can ruin it.

It’s ok on the rod, but definitely not the reel.

Q: Should you tighten the drag before wetting down your reel and then loosen it up?

A: Yes, tightening down the drag can help water and salt stay out of the internal components of your reel, and you always want to keep your drag loose when you store it.

Q: What rod did you use in the video?

A: It was a St. Croix Avid Inshore medium-heavy fast action rod.

Q: Should you use Pledge on your fishing reels?

A: You can, although I recommend against using chemicals too often on your reel.

The chemicals can get on your hand, line, or lure, and could deter fish from biting.

Q: Should you use warm water when rising down your gear?

A: Yes, warm water can be better at dissolving salt than cold water.

If you leave a bottle of water in your vehicle while you’re out on the water, it should be plenty warm for you when you get back!

Q: What oil and grease do you recommend for reel maintenance?

A: I use Clenzoil’s oil and grease for my reel maintenance.

Q: Could you put your rod and reel in the sun to let it dry, or should you still wipe it down?

A: Putting your rod and reel in the sun could actually speed up the process of salt getting in there and starting to create rust, so I would not recommend that.

Definitely wipe it down dry with a clean rag.

Q: What products do you recommend for cleaning your rod and reel?

A: For regular maintenance, I recommend avoiding products and just using fresh water and a clean rag.

Q: Should I use Salt Off or Salt-Away?

A: I recommend avoiding most products and just using fresh water and a clean rag, but if you’re fishing with freshwater gear, these products might help since they’re less corrosion-resistant than saltwater-grade gear.

Q: Should I rinse my rod and reel off in a bucket?

A: You should never dunk your reel underwater because you don’t want water getting into the internal components of the reel.

Just use a light mist to rinse off your gear.

Q: How should you store your rods and reels after you’ve cleaned them?

A: I like to store my gear horizontally so that water isn’t dripping from the shaft of your spool down into the reel.


how to clean rod and reel

I hope these questions help you out as you continue to take care of your rods and reels!

If you have any questions about gear maintenance, please let me know down in the comments.

And if you know someone who needs to see these tips, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Sonny Reeves
9 months ago

WD-40 and Clenzoil both have petroleum according to the MSDS they provide. Clenzoil uses turpentine and WD -40 uses lanolin plus an unspecified paraffin compound. I hear not to use one but the other is OK. Confusing to say least. We trust Tony’s opinion, just asking for a clear understanding. Thanks for all!

Fred Lane
2 years ago

I use WD40 on my reels every so often. I have had cases when I go to use a reel and it locks up, so now I always carry WD40. You never never know when you may need it. To stop the problems in future if You buy cheep reels, buy at least don’t buy the ones with plastic gears and such. Thanks for the video.

Jorge Martell
2 years ago

Where can I get the water rinse machine????

Tavis Powell
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Another option is a cheap garden sprayer filled with fresh water. I have one that I found at Ace for $15 that I modified to use as a lower unit fill device for my outboard.

Daniel Poston
2 years ago

What’s your opinion on reel magic. It’s suppose to be for the line itself. Could that be a deterrent

Dave Otte
2 years ago
Reply to  Daniel Poston

I like reel magic a lot. I use it after each trip. I think it helps. I put it on the line on the spool, that’s all.

David Galloway
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Tony do you saturate the line with Reel Magic? Also any info on using natural oils like Canola, or Olive oil?

Steven Free
2 years ago

I always flush everything from my boat motor to my rods and reels I primarily do it at the ramp that way by the time I get home it’s all nice and dry then before putting the boat away I use 656 marine lubricant spray it repels moisture lubricated and has a rust inhibitor I spray it on my motor outside and inside and any parts that need lubeing works great been using it for years and all my tackle is in tip top shape in fact all my spinning reels I replaced were 12 years old and the only reason I replaced them because the drags were all worn out not because of corrosion or neglect works for me😁

2 years ago

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