How to Clean Old Fishing Lures?

Fishing lures are valuable tools for attracting fish and enhancing your chances of a successful catch. Over time, these lures can accumulate dirt, grime, and rust, causing them to lose their effectiveness.

This article will guide you How to Clean Old Fishing Lures. By following these steps, you can ensure that your lures remain in top condition and continue attracting fish for many fishing trips.

Why Clean Old Fishing Lures?

Cleaning old fishing lures is essential for several reasons:

  1. Dirt and grime can accumulate on the lure’s body and affect its appearance, making it less attractive to fish.
  2. Rust and corrosion can compromise the lure’s hooks, reducing their sharpness and ability to secure a catch.
  3. By cleaning and maintaining your lures, you can prolong their lifespan and save money in the long run by not having to replace them constantly.
How to Clean Old Fishing Lures?

Tools and Materials Needed

Before you begin cleaning your old fishing lures, gather the following tools and materials:

  • Mild dish soap or specialized lure cleaner
  • Soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth or soft towel
  • Rust remover or white vinegar
  • Small container or bowl
  • Water
  • Rust inhibitor or lubricant
  • Toothpicks or cotton swabs

Now that you have everything you need let’s dive into the step-by-step process of cleaning your old fishing lures.

Here is the step by step guide on How to Clean Old Fishing Lures.

Step 1: Assess the Condition of the Lures

Before cleaning your lures, carefully examine each one for any signs of damage or wear. Check for rust, corrosion, chipped paint, or lose hooks.

This assessment will help you determine the level of cleaning and restoration required for each lure.

Step 2: Removing Rust and Corrosion

If you encounter rust or corrosion on the lure’s hooks or metal components, it’s crucial to remove it. One effective method is to soak the affected areas in a rust remover or white vinegar solution.

Submerge the hooks or metal parts in the solution for a few hours, then gently scrub away the rust using a toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a microfiber cloth.

Step 3: Cleaning the Lure Bodies

To clean the lure bodies, fill a small container or bowl with warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap or specialized lure cleaner. Place the lures in the solution and let them soak for a few minutes.

Afterward, use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently scrub away dirt, grime, and any remaining debris. Rinse the lures under running water and pat them dry with a microfiber cloth.

Step 4: Cleaning the Hooks

The hooks of your fishing lures are crucial for securing a catch, so cleaning them thoroughly is essential.

Dip a toothbrush or a cotton swab into the cleaning solution used in Step 3 and carefully clean each hook.

Pay special attention to removing any rust or debris that might have accumulated. Rinse the hooks with water and dry them thoroughly.

Step 5: Restoring the Paint and Finish

Consider restoring your lures’ appearance if they have chipped paint or a dull finish. Purchase specialized lure paint or markers that match the original colours of your lures.

Carefully apply the paint on lure or marker to the damaged areas, following the original patterns and designs. Allow the paint to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Step 6: Drying and Lubricating the Lures

After cleaning and restoring your fishing lures, ensure they are completely dry. Any moisture left on the lures can lead to rust or corrosion. Use a microfiber cloth to dry them thoroughly, paying attention to all crevices and hooks.

Once dry, apply a small amount of rust inhibitor or lubricant to the hooks and movable parts of the lure to prevent further rusting and ensure smooth operation.

Step 7: Storing the Lures Properly

To maintain the cleanliness and condition of your fishing lures, storing them properly is crucial. Consider using a tackle box or lure case with individual compartments to prevent tangling or scratching.

Keep the lures in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperature fluctuations. Regularly inspect your lures for any signs of damage or deterioration.


Cleaning old fishing lures is essential to maintaining their effectiveness and prolonging their lifespan. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can restore the shine and functionality of your lures, ensuring they continue to attract fish and enhance your fishing experience.


What is the best way to clean old fishing lures?

  • The best way to clean old fishing lures is to use warm water and mild dish soap. Gently scrub the traps with a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt, debris, and any built-up residue. After cleaning, thoroughly dry the lures to prevent rust or corrosion.

Does vinegar clean fishing lures?

  • Yes, vinegar can be effective in cleaning fishing lures. You can create a vinegar solution by mixing equal white vinegar and water. Soak the attractions in the solution for a few hours, then gently scrub them with a soft brush. Rinse the lures with clean water and dry them thoroughly to prevent any damage.

Can you wash fishing lures?

  • Yes, you can wash fishing lures to remove any dirt, grime, or salt residue that may have accumulated during use. Use a mild soap or specialized cleaner and a soft brush to scrub the lures gently. After washing, rinse them thoroughly and dry them completely before storage.

How do you polish a fishing lure?

  • To polish a fishing lure, use a soft cloth and a specialized metal polish suitable for the material of interest. Apply a small amount of the polish to the fabric and gently rub it onto the surface of the lure in a circular motion. Buff the trap until it regains its shine. Remember to avoid using abrasive materials that could scratch or damage the surface of the lure.

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