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How Often Should You Oil Your Fishing Reel?

If you are a pro angler or even a seasonal angler, you definitely have given a thought over how often you should oil your fishing reel.

As most of the fishing reels are metallic, you must oil them on a routine basis or a regular basis so that your fishing buddy lasts for a prolonged time without being rusty. 

How Often Should You Oil Your Fishing Reel? 

The fishing reel should be oiled every 5 to 7 months. If the reel is in frequent contact with dust & salt, the reel bearing won’t work properly until it’s cleaned up and lubed. The manufacturer does a great job of reel lubrication, so it’s better not to touch the inner surface too often.

Oiling your fishing reel totally depends on how often you go fishing and where do you go. If you are a regular angler, then oil your reel regularly or at least once every month. 

But you enjoy fishing on seasonal break then you better oil your reel once per year especially in the winter season. And, if you have decided to store your fishing reel for a long time, then you must oil every part of the reel thoroughly. 

Also, if you fish around the grass areas then you should oil your reel once in 2/3 months. But remember, if you are using fishing reels in saltwater then oil it as soon as you are done fishing.

Why Do I Need To Oil My Fishing Reel?

Once you have invested in your fishing reel, you certainly would want it to last and serve you for a longer period, so to increase its usefulness for a long period you need to oil your fishing reel. 

You can use a good quality, branded fishing reel for up to 10-12 years with proper maintenance and oiling. So to enjoy the utility of such a fishing reel you need to oil it properly and more often. 

Metallic fishing reels are prone to no functioning properly if sand or dirt goes into them or you have often used such reels in saltwater fishing. So to avoid corrosion and malfunctioning, you are highly required to oil your fishing reel. 

Moreover, when you have been storing your fishing reel for a long period, naturally, it tends to become brittle and rusty, therefore to prevent brittleness and rust you need to oil your fishing reel. 

How To Oil A Fishing Reel? 

Oiling a fishing reel isn’t that difficult, all you need to know is to do this simple task properly by following a suitable oiling method. For your convenience here is a quick and detailed step-by-step guideline over how to oil a fishing reel. 


  • Your fishing reel
  • Reel oil( make sure to purchase the best oil)
  • Reel cleanser 
  • Paper towels 
  • Cotton swabs
  • Light brush( old toothbrush also can be used) 
  • A piece of clean terry cloth  

Get ready with your workspace 

Set your workplace in a nicely-lit area. Lay a price of clean cloth on a stable and smooth surface where you will work on your fishing reel.

Clean and grease the Bail

Open the bail carefully and clean the bail connection point and line roller with cleaning solvent. You can lightly scrub with an old toothbrush or a bristle brush, then wipe off and let it dry fully. 

After that oil the bail connection points with drops of reel oil. To make sure the reel is working in oil, open and close the bail quite a few times. 

Spool cleaning and oiling 

Next up, pull out and unscrew the drag knob and pull out the spool from the fishing reel as well. Then clean the spool, drag knob, and exposed areas with a reel cleanser. Wipe off dirt, residue, and extra oil. 

With the help of cotton swabs clean grime/mud from crevices and then oil main shaft and gears with a few drops of reel oil. Then reassemble the fishing reel. 

Grease the bearing in the reel body 

After that, remove and unscrew the reel body cap and reel handle. Wipe off the bearings to remove dirt with a cotton swab. Then apply drops of reel oil to the bearings and joints of the handle. 

Oil the entire reel body 

The very last step is, apply reel oil on the entire body of the fishing reel to give it an extra layer of protection and reduce the chances of corrosion. And there you are done with oiling your fishing reel properly. 

You must oil your fishing reel regularly after a couple of times using it and occasionally deep clean it. 

What Kind Of Oil Do You Use On A Fishing Reel? 

As it is a must to oil fishing reels, so while purchasing/choosing reel oils from the large section in the market you must consider the given key features below- 

  • Incredible preservation against rust and corrosion
  • Appropriate for all kinds of fishing reels 
  • Suitable for lubricating not only the fishing reels but also other parts/items 
  • Water-resistant 
  • Has a  long and comfortable needle to apply oil inside tough parts. 

It is highly recommended for you to use reel oils that come with all these particular features because then you’ll be able to preserve the utility of your fishing reels for a longer period. 

Can You Use Vaseline Or Petroleum Jelly On Fishing Reels?

No, Vaseline or petroleum jelly is not recommended to use on fishing reels. Because Vaseline or petroleum jelly is not designed to use on metallic things, also it barely stays up as a lubricant. 

Moreover, using Vaseline or petroleum jelly on the reel body or parts can make it frozen or nearly improbable to use so you better not use it. 

Another thing is Vaseline or petroleum jelly turns into a runny mess as soon as it is exposed to heat or warmth. So it will become liquid and start running all over and out of the fishing reel body. 

What Are Some Fishing Reel Oil Substitutes?

Though fishing reel oils are affordable but still if you want to use some fishing reel oil substitutes, you can purchase Penn grease or any top quality 100% synthetic oil like Liquid Bearings. 

Also, machine oil can be used as a reel oil substitute but it’s a bit thick for use on the spool bearings, so it is up to you if you want to use machine oil or not. 

Somewhat mineral oil can be considered as a fishing reel oil substitute and sometimes it works pretty well too. However, it can turn into white color if it comes to contact with water. 

Is It Safe To Use Homemade Or DIY Fishing Reel Oil? 

Yes, it is safe to use homemade or DIY fishing reel oil because certainly, it will not cause any harm to your fishing reel as long as you have adopted an effective and proper method of making homemade or DIY reel oils.

But make sure to use your homemade reel oil by splitting up the reel, as this has a thinner consistency than the market ones, so if you just pour it inside the reel it would be runny inside. 

Can You Use WD40 On Fishing Reels?

No, never use WD40 to lubricate your fishing reels. WD40 is a degreaser and it tends to break down oil and grease. 

WD40 is not any lubricant, therefore using it on your fishing reel will break down the oil you have used earlier to protect the internal components of your fishing reel. 

Can You Use Sewing Machine Oil On Fishing Reels? 

Yes, sewing machine oil can be used on fishing reels, and it works pretty well, too, without causing any inconvenience. 

Singer sewing machine oil is a great option and can be used for oiling your fishing reel, but in that case, you might need to re-oil it frequently and need to keep checking on it every two months or three months to see if the sewing machine oil is still able to lubricate and preserve it or not. 

Can You Use Olive Oil On Fishing Reels? 

It is a big NO! You never can use cooking oil or vegetable oil on your fishing reel. Because these oils have viscous elements and viscosity will increase in cold temperature. 

Also, if by any chance you use olive oil and it comes in touch with the fishing line then it will leave a trace of smell and will repel fishes, as a result, they won’t come closer to your bait. 

Can You Use Rem Oil On Fishing Reels? 

Indeed, rem oil is a lighter lubricant, so you can use it for oiling your fishing reels. But as rem oils are lighter, so after heavy fishing or if you go fishing often, you must apply it instantly. 

And if you go fishing on seasonal occasions then, applying rem oil every 5/6 months works quite well on fishing reels. 

What Do You Use To Lubricate A Fishing Reel? 

Fishing reel oils and grease can be used for lubricating a fishing reel. But silicone lubricant is not recommended to use for lubricating reels

You specifically can use Shimano, Quantum, Ardent fishing reel oils, Penn Reel Grease but avoid using silicon lubricant like WD40 because it is a degreaser. 

There is no other better option than oiling your fishing reels often to protect them and enjoy their great utility for a long time. So being a seasonal or pro angler, you should oil your fishing reels regularly by maintaining proper oiling methods. 

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