The Best Kept Secret to Cleaning Your Fly Rod Cork
If you’ve ever bought a new fly rod, you know how quickly the cork gets dirty and soiled.
After only a few outings, the dirt, oil, and grime quickly tarnish any new cork.
And within months, what was once a new cork looks like a fly rod that's been fished hard and put away wet.
Here's a Sage One fly rod cork grip I've had for a while. Look how dirty this is, even in the best of light. Makes me wonder if I need to wash my hands more.
Now, you’ve decided, it’s time to clean that dirty fly rod cork.
So you search Google and find 1,000 forum entries with different ways to clean your fly rod cork.
Where do you even start?
The Best Cleaning Secret in Fly Fishing
I've been fly fishing for thirty-years and I've cleaned more fly rod corks than I can count.
And after decades of trial and error, I’ll give you my best kept secret to clean a used fly rod cork.
What's the best way to clean your used fly rod cork so it looks new?
Well, it’s probably sitting with your household cleaning supplies.
It’s the Magic Eraser.
Yup, that's right. That little white sponge that folks use to clean their house with that you can buy for $5.
Over the last thirty years, I tried every trick in the book to clean fly rod corks.
In fact, all of those are listed below.
My Wife’s Cleaning Supply Bucket
Then one day my wife was raging about how good this little Magic Eraser thing is.
I watched as she took fresh toy scuffs off the walls of our kids rooms.
Then cleaned my coffee stains from her favorite Yeti mug.
But the idea to clean my fly rod corks came to me after I saw her clean these cork trivets we have in our kitchen.
I had just gotten an old Sage VPS with a cork that was pretty dirty.
Nothing terrible, but certainly far from brand new.
So, I ran it under the faucet, wrang it out, and took about a dozen swipes up and down the cork on that Sage.
O.M.G. You’d think I’d just discovered electricity.
I could not believe how easy and well this worked.
The Magic Eraser removed the grime but preserved the original texture of the fly rod.
It was as if the rod was brand new again. It was a thing of beauty.
How The Magic Eraser Cleans Fly Rod Cork
Cork is wood. A very soft wood, but still wood.
The Magic Eraser is an abrasive. A very soft abrasive, but still an abrasive. T
he Magic Eraser works like a very high-grit sandpaper attached to a very soft sanding block.
You’ll notice the Magic Eraser starts to come apart after a while and isn’t useful once the original surface is compromised, much like sandpaper.
Nowadays, the Magic Eraser is all we use to clean our corks for Outfishers.
Unless the plastic is still on the wrapper, if you’ve bought a fly rod from us, that cork has been cleaned with a Magic Eraser.
Want to give it a shot?
7 Steps To Clean Your Fly Rod With A Magic Eraser
- Buy or find a Magic Eraser around your house. Or steal one from your wife's cleaning supplies.
- Run it under the faucet until its soaked.
- Wring out the Magic Eraser until it damp but not dripping.
- For an extra measure of protection, wrap some painters tape around the rod near the ends of the cork to protect the finish. Painters tape is great because it doesn't leave any residue on your fly rod.
- Begin running the Magic Eraser up and down the cork (in the same direction as the fly rod). Pay attention not to rub the Magic eraser on the fly rod blanks, epoxy, paint, or decals. Keep it just on the cork. Pay special attention to the ends of the cork. Tear off a small piece of the Magic Eraser and rub it on these sections. Doing these small parts really completes the resurfacing and makes the whole fly rod look spanking new.
- Rinse your fly rod cork off under clean water, dry it with a cloth, and then let it air dry.
- Double check for any spots you may have missed and if you're satisfied with how clean it is, sit back and admire.
36 Other Ways I’ve Cleaned Fly Rod Corks
Oh yea, all those other things I remember trying over the years?
Well, here's a list of the way I can remember trying to clean my fly rod corks.
And to be fair, many of them worked to varying degrees.
But none have the combination of ease, cleanliness, preserving the cork, and speed as the Magic Eraser.
- Lacquer Thinner.
- Water alone.
- Alcohol free hand wipes.
- Dawn dish soap.
- Organic Orange
- Distilled Vinegar
- Steel Wool
- Baby Wipes
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Card Scraper
- Denatured Alcohol
- Oven Cleaner
- Baking Soda
- Microfiber Clothes
- Furniture Polish
- Floor Polish
- Simple Green
- Mineral Spirits
- Laundry Detergent
- Murphy’s Oil
- Pine Sol
- Old English
- Orange Glo
- Buffing Compound
- Hydrogen Peroxide
To sum up, the Magic Eraser is hands down the best fly rod cork cleaner I’ve ever used.
I’ve spent decades trying dozens of products and methods to clean my rod corks.
Buy a Magic Eraser, get it damp, and gently rub your rod cork until you’re happy.
Disagree? Find something even better or easier than a Magic Eraser? Or had success with this method?
Let me know, always love hearing from fly fishers facing the same challenges we do at Outfishers.