Over time, your fishing rods will naturally get rusty and dirty. It’s almost unavoidable. Especially if you are a frequent fisher. Whenever I notice rust and dirt on my fishing lures, instead of thinking of buying a new one I always apply my favorite methods to clean rusty fishing lures. You ask me, why? Well, two advantages:

The first one is that it can save some cost. Though lures generally don’t cost a lot, constantly buying new ones can quickly build up when you frequently have to buy new lures. As such, it can be a real budget-saver. Secondly, it requires little effort and time to restore dirty and rusty fishing lures.

So, for the anglers who are willing to clean their fishing lures, we have created this guide with the best tips on how to do so. In this article, we reveal the six best ways to remove rust from lures. Along with this, the prevention tips are also explained to keep rust from appearing in the first place.

Reasons for rust on Lures

Before explaining to you the ways to clean rust, first I will ask you a question. Do you know the fact behind the rusting of the lures?

Rusty Lures on A Fishing Line

The term “corrosion” is something that is well-known in chemistry studies. Yeah, this corrosion hides behind your lure’s dirtiness. Whenever you throw the lure into the water, a chemical reaction takes place between the water and the iron of the lure or hook. That makes the iron gradually weaker by losing its components because of the reaction and increasing the amount of rust. 

Another factor is, the type of water you go fishing in. How? As we know, rust mainly occurs because of the reaction of water. So, among fresh and salt water, salt water leads to quicker corrosion. This is because salt water has a high amount of salt compared to fresh which speeds up the corrosion process.

If you let the lure lie without drying it, then surely over time, it will develop a rusty surface.

So, these are the reasons that lures start rusting. Now, let’s look at the most effective methods to clean rusty fishing lures.

Effective Methods to Clean Rusty Fishing Lures

Of my curiosity, I applied several experiments to clean my fishing lures. These methods are simple, effortless, and nearly costless. Alright, combining the satisfaction from myself and other fishermen, I present the best ways to clean fishing lures. 

1. With WD40

I will keep this WD40 method at the top as no others methods are as simple and cheap as this one.

WD40 is a type of spray mainly responsible for weakening the chemical bonds between the core and dirt surface. And here, it works superbly to loosen up the rust from the metal.

Well, how to apply it to the lures? You can follow the simple steps as follows:

First: Collect a container and place the lures in it.

Second: Now, it’s time to spray them properly. Make sure the spray hits all of the lures.

Third: Keep it for approximately 1 or 2 hours to allow the lures to soak.

Forth: Then with the help of a paper towel, scrub the lures or hooks carefully to remove the rust.

Fifth: After proper cleaning, the dirt should come off easily. If there still exists some rust then you can repeat the process.

This is everything you need to do to complete this method. The price of this spray is quite low and the method is really simple. You can also utilize it for moisture remover, lubricant, or other purposes too.

2. Using Vinegar with Baking Soda

I suggest this method when the previous one failed and you have a desire for a more bright result.

Acid-bearing vinegar participates in a chemical reaction and brings a fresh look to the hooks or lures by removing the rust. White vinegar is known as the best but all the types have a good capacity to work.

So, what are the steps associated with cleaning fishing lures with vinegar? Alright, let’s look at it below.

First: Take a container with lures and pour vinegar into it.

Second: Place the lures for soaking overnight (recommended) or for several hours.

Third: Separate the lures from the solution and start wiping with a rag or paper. And the job is done.

Forth: If there’s still rust left, make a paste using water and baking soda.

Fifth: Mix the paste on the surface of the lure and wait for a few hours.

Sixth: And, again scrub the lure properly with the help of a toothbrush. Hope this time you won’t face any disappointment.

3. Applying Coca Cola 

Coca Cola? Yeah, you heard the right. It’s another easy way to get rid of rust on your lures. The acid in it is quite strong to remove dirt or rust. Cold drinks like Pepsi, Fanta, etc can be used also. 

Anyways, you don’t need to give much effort into this process too. The steps are:

First: Collect some aluminum foil or metal scrubber.

Second: Apply the Coca-Cola to the rusting areas and do the wiping task using foils or a scrubber. Remember, foils need to be in a layer for rubbing.

Third: After the 2nd, now clean the lure with water or soap. And let it dry.

Forth: Suppose, this method doesn’t work. Then take the lure and Coca-Cola mixture together for a few hours. And apply the next process as usual.

That’s how the cleaning of fishing lures with coke can be successfully done.

4. With OSPHO Spraying

If you are looking for a way that is effective as well as simple and doesn’t take a long time to finish, I suggest you experiment with OSPHO.

It’s a spray that brings out a reaction to neutralize the rust to the point where the rust doesn’t stay on the lure.

Steps to follow:

First: Start spraying the affected lures and laying them on a towel.

Second: Soak for nearly 1/2 hour.

Third: Now, let it air dry and see the result without rust.

5. With Denture Cleaner Tablets

On the last point, you can try medicinal treatment. Yeah, the Denture tablet is a great form of cleaner.

Just spend a few dollars and get a full box. Then:

First: Make the solution of Denture tablets in a bowl or similar.

Second: Place the lures into there and give them a few hours to soak.

Third: After that, rub the rusting surface with a toothbrush.


6. Others

Without the above, there is also a ton of ways one can apply to remove the rust from your lures. Some of the most significant are mentioned below:

  • With Soap
  • Applying Citric Acid
  • Sandpaper

Prevention/ Maintenance of Lures from Getting Rusty

Now you know how to clean and remove rust from your lures. But after a few fishing trips, chances are that your lures will start to rust again. Obviously, you don’t want such a thing to happen to your lures again once you’ve spent time and effort cleaning them in the first place. So, let’s move on to the maintenance part to keep the lures and hooks free from rust.

  • The first piece of advice is, don’t let your fishing gear be in wet condition. Allow it some moments for proper air circulation and be dried after you have gone fishing.
  • If your fishing area is in saltwater then after the trip, wash your lures with fresh water to remove the salt and let them dry. 
  • To secure your hooks from rusting, keep the tackle box clean and dry So, always try to give extra care to it after any trip.
  • The coating is a smart way that works as prevention. There are many types of coating for iron metal where the layer on the metal surface protests against the rust perfectly. So, if you have serious concerns about your lure then you can try this pre-solution.
Tackle Box for Preventing Lures Rusting

Is Cleaning Rusty Lure Worth It?

Well, the perspective will vary from person to person. Talking about myself, I found both benefits and drawbacks to it. 

After cleaning a fishing lure, the first thing you may notice is a brighter appearance. A lure can be ugly at times because of mud, blood, or other dirty objects. And from there you can’t expect a super shiny lure that attracts the fish. So, whenever you will restore it, it will help make the lure more attractive to fish.

Then a lure with rust never offers the same vibrance and movement that a new one can. And you know clearly how that movement activity is required to impress the fish. So, by removing the dirt and rust from the lures, you will bring the power of movement and vibration.

Now, on the mirror, the cleaning process makes the lure a little bit colorless and may cause it to smell. And, many anglers believe that this can affect the attraction of the fish too. But, I hardly found issues with this personally.

So, if you want to know the answer to whether or not you should clean your fishing lure? Then I will tell you to do so.

Do rusty lures work?

Rusty lures can still work, but they may not be as effective as lures that are in good condition. Rust can cause the lure to be less attractive to fish and may also affect the action of the lure in the water. If a rusty lure is still in good shape otherwise, it may still be able to catch fish, but it may not be as effective as it was when it was new. If the rust is severe, the lure may not work at all. It is generally a good idea to use lures that are in good condition to increase your chances of success when fishing.

Can fish smell rust?

Fish have a highly developed sense of smell, and they use it to locate food, identify predators, and communicate with other fish. It is possible that fish could detect the presence of rust, as rust has a distinct smell. However, it is not clear how important the smell of rust would be to fish or how it would influence their behavior.

Fish are more likely to be attracted to lures that mimic the appearance and movement of their natural prey, rather than being attracted to specific smells. The effectiveness of a lure is generally determined by its ability to mimic the appearance and movement of the fish’s natural prey, rather than by its smell.

Can you get tetanus from a rusty fish hook?

Tetanus is a serious and potentially fatal infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. The bacteria is found in soil, dust, and animal feces and can enter the body through a wound such as a cut, scratch, or puncture. It is important to note that tetanus can be contracted from a rusty fish hook, as the bacteria can enter the body through the wound caused by the hook.

When a person is exposed to tetanus bacteria, it produces toxins that cause serious and sometimes life-threatening effects. The most common symptom of tetanus is muscle spasms, which can range from mild to severe and can cause serious pain and disability. Other symptoms include fever, sweating, headaches, and trouble swallowing.

In severe cases, tetanus can cause difficulty breathing, paralysis, and even death. The risk of contracting tetanus from a rusty fish hook depends on several factors. First, the hook must be contaminated with tetanus bacteria. If the hook is rusty, this increases the risk as the bacteria can more easily enter the body through a wound.

Second, the person must not be up to date on their tetanus vaccinations. If a person has had all of their recommended vaccinations, they are at a much lower risk of contracting the infection. Finally, the wound caused by the hook must not be cleaned and treated properly. Tetanus spores can enter the body through an open wound, so if the wound is not kept clean and a person does not receive the appropriate medical care, the risk of contracting the infection increases.

In summary, a person can get tetanus from a rusty fish hook. The risk increases if the hook is contaminated with the bacteria, the person has not had their recommended tetanus vaccinations, and the wound is not cleaned and treated properly.

How do you refurbish old lures?

There are a few steps you can take to refurbish old lures:

  1. Clean the lure: Begin by removing any dirt or debris from the lure. You can use warm, soapy water and a toothbrush to scrub away any grime.
  2. Check the hooks: Inspect the hooks for rust or damage. If they are rusted or bent, replace them with new hooks.
  3. Touch up the paint: If the paint on the lure is chipped or worn, you can touch it up with a small paintbrush and acrylic paint. Be sure to match the colors as closely as possible.
  4. Check the hardware: Inspect the hardware, such as split rings and swivels, for rust or damage. If they are rusted or bent, replace them with new hardware.
  5. Re-rig the lure: Once all the repairs have been made, re-rig the lure with new line or leader.
  6. Test it: Lastly, test the lure in the water to ensure it is still working properly and adjust as necessary.

It is important to note that some vintage or antique lures may have some historical or sentimental value, so it’s best to not change too much on them, just clean them and keep them in good condition.

Last Thoughts

Maintaining fishing equipment is one of the crucial facts that largely indicate how successful you are in fishing life. So, from tiny to big, the angler shouldn’t ignore those at all.

The above methods about how to clean rusty fishing lures won’t let you down whenever you will find any rust on the hooks. As you see, the processes are quite easy and cost-friendly, you can choose any of them. And surely, it will be better than going for a new product.

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Categories: Fishing