How To Clean And Lube Shimano Spinning Reels in 5 Simple Steps

How To Clean and Lube Shimano Spinning Reels Ultimate Guide

Cleaning Shimano or any other spinning reel is not a difficult task. It only takes a couple of items and a few simple steps and that would answer our question regarding how to clean and lube Shimano Spinning Reels briefly.

Cleaning and maintenance are mandatory to increase the life of your reel. If you don’t clean and lube your reel regularly, it can become faulty or break down completely. 

Over time dust, debris and rust can get into your reel which will prevent it from functioning properly, or make it useless. 

In order to prevent that, you must clean and lube your Shimano spinning reels from time to time. As a rule of thumb, always do basic cleaning and maintenance after every fishing trip. 

You can do proper cleaning and lubing once every 5 fishing trips.

In this article, we will be discussing the materials you need to clean the spinning reel and the steps that can help you do a thorough cleaning and lubing. 

Items Required to Clean Shimano Spinning Reels

Here are five items that you must acquire before starting the maintenance of your spinning reel. 

Items Required to Clean Shimano Spinning Reels
  • A Microfiber Cloth or Towel
  • Soft-Bristled Brush
  • Q-Tips
  • Reel Cleaning Liquid and Degreaser
  • Reel Oil and Grease 

Most of these items are available at home. However, I do recommend that you get a cleaning kit specialized for spinning reels. Check Best Shimano Spinning Reels.

You can use any soft-bristled brush at your home. Just don’t use a brush that has hard bristles because they can damage your reel. Opting for specialized reel brushes is always better. 

Q-tips are mandatory because they help you reach the areas that you cannot reach simply with your fingers or brush. 

Check What Size Shimano Spinning Reel For Bass?

I highly recommend that you purchase specialized reel-cleaning liquids and degreasers, and not use dishwasher cleaners for cleaning the reel. They can prove damaging. 

You can choose to use either oil or grease to lubricate the reel parts. But, using a specialized oil/grease designed for the reel is always better. 

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Clean and Lube Shimano Spinning Reels

You can clean and lube your spinning reel at home with just a few simple steps. 

Step 1: Basic Maintenance

First of all, you need to clean the exterior of the reel. Make sure to wipe away all the dirt and debris from the reel using a cloth and soapy water. While wiping down the spool, make sure that the spool is clean. You may also like to check Who Makes Shimano Reels?

Basic Maintenance

This is known as basic maintenance. You must do it after every fishing trip. You can also rinse the reel with water. However, you must never submerge the reel in water. 

Step 2: Cleaning Inside of Reel Handle Space

Once you have cleaned the exterior of the reel, you can remove the reel handle by removing the screws on the opposite side. After removing the reel handle, you have to clean the inside with a cloth and Q-Tips. 

Cleaning Inside of Reel Handle Space

To do this, you can use reel cleaner liquid and degreaser to remove every bit of dirt, debris, and other materials that have settled inside that area. 

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the area, you can use a bit of reel oil or grease in the place where the reel was screwed in to increase smoothness and then screw the reel back in. 

Step 3: Remove Bail, Spool, and Other Components for Deep Cleaning

Now we are on to the deep cleaning stage. Open up the bail and remove the dirt and grime using a soft-bristled brush. Remember, do not use a hard bristled brush while cleaning any of the components. 

Once you have removed the dirt, you can use the cleaner liquid and degreaser with cloth and Q-tips to clean out the old oil or grease from the bail. 

Remove Bail, Spool, and Other Components for Deep Cleaning

Repeat the same process for the line roller as well. 

Next, remove the spool from the reel. Shimano reels either have a retaining knob that needs to be removed to remove the spool or the spool can be simply unscrewed. It really depends on the model. 

Repeat the same process you did for bail. Remove the dirt and debris first and then use a degreaser and cleaning liquid to clean out all the old oil and grease. Pay special attention to the front of the spool. That’s where most debris accumulates.

Once you have removed the spool, the rest of the mechanisms will become exposed. You must clean each and every one of them using the same process we discussed above. 

That’s as far as you can go with most reels. Some Shimano reels do allow you to remove the housing over ball bearings, allowing you to clean even deeper. 

Just remember, clean out the dirt and debris, remove the old oil and grease using a degreaser or cleaner liquid and use Q-tips to reach the deeper areas. 

Step 4: Reapply Reel Oil or Grease

Once you have cleaned all the components, you must reapply reel oil or grease before putting them back together. 

Some people prefer grease over oil because it is long lasting and doesn’t require re-maintenance very soon. 

Reapply Reel Oil or Grease

Other people prefer oil as it is easier to apply and you only need to drip a few drops. 

You can also apply a mixture of both for increased smoothness. The basic purpose of applying the oil or grease is to allow the components to move freely without friction and increase smoothness in their movement. 

Step 5: Put the Components Back Together

Put each component back exactly in the order you took it apart. Make sure you put each screw back in its place and check every individual component to verify it is moving smoothly. 

Put the Components Back Together

After you can put everything back, you can apply a thin layer of reel oil on the exterior surface of the Shimano spinning reel for increased protection. 

Check Are Shimano Spinning Reels Good? 

What Happens If You Don’t Clean and Lube Shimano Spinning Reels?

What Happens If You Don’t Clean and Lube Shimano Spinning Reels

While it is true that Shimano reels are one of the best in the world, without proper maintenance they can become unusable too. 

Hence, you must clean and lube your reel properly to retain its smooth functioning and increase its service life. 

Here’s what will happen if you do not clean and lube your Shimano spinning reel regularly. 

Reduced Casting Distance & Slow Retrieval

Over time dust and debris can get into your reel that can settle inside the components and reduce the smoothness of their functionality. 

Hence, if these components are not cleaned and lubed properly, they will lose their smoothness and eventually slow down. 

So, casting will get slower and less accurate. Also, you won’t be able to cast lines over a longer distance. Retrieval will also be slower, which might allow the fish to break free before you can reel it in. 

Eventually, the components will give in and the reel will break down. 

Friction Damage

Dust and debris getting between the gears of the reel can cause friction when casting or retrieving, which can damage the components of the reel and cause them to break down.

Hence, either the reel will lose some of its functionality or all of it. Friction can cause the reel to break down completely and you won’t be able to use it anymore. 

Rust or Corrosion

If you are fishing in saltwater, then you need to clean the reel after every fishing trip. Cleaning and lubing your fishing reel will help prevent it from corrosion. 

Rust and corrosion are the worst possible things that can happen to your reel. If you allow the rust or corrosion to get inside, your reel is as good as gone. 

Frequently Asked Questions

You can clean your spinning reel with some basic items. You will need a cloth or towel, a soft-bristled brush, reel cleaning liquid, degreased, and reel oil or grease. You will also need Q-tips to reach areas where your fingers cannot. 

Shimano Bantam is a specialized reel oil that can be used to lube Shimano reels. You can also use other oils or grease if this is not available. However, since it is designed especially for the task, it will surely provide better performance. 

Yes, WD-40 is a good lubricant and can be used for fishing reels. Not only will it provide the necessary lubrication for these moving parts but will also protect against rust and corrosion. 

Every mechanism, gear, and component in the reel that moves and comes in contact with any other component must be lubed. The lubrication will prevent friction and ensure the smooth functioning of the reel. 

Wrapping Up!

Proper cleaning of Shimano spinning reels is not very difficult and also it doesn’t take much time. It is a significant process that retains the original performance of the reel and increases the service life of its components. 

I hope that from reading the above guide, you are now clear on how you can clean your spinning reel and why it is important to do so. 

If you have any questions, you can drop them in the comment section below and I will get back to you as soon as I can. 

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