We should always pay attention to our equipment and there are plenty of reasons why we would we need to clean our bows, arrows and other ancilliary equipment regularly. Often we will find a fault, a split in something or a loose bolt or screw and the cleaning in itself is important. Please take a look at the advice below and if you have nothing to do right now, why not get all your gear out and give it a Spring clean.

Setting up your bow - Quick Guide

A huge thank you to Ely Archers, Cambridgeshire for letting us use their super quick guide to set up your own bow. Remember that if you are not confident to do this by yourself, please ask a coach or experienced Club Archer for some help. You can email here, to ask, or follow the guide here.

Cleaning your archery equipment

In most cases, if you need to clean your archery equipment a simple dust over with a soft dry cloth will suffice. However, if your equipment is a little more grubby than normal or you are concerned about the current Covid19 situation and virus living on smooth surfaces for prolonged lengths of time then you may need to clean a little deeper.

We have all seen in the news recently that the Covid19 risk can be reduced by more frequent cleansing with simple soap and water or alcohol gel cleanser, both easily break down the virus and eliminate it.

You must always follow any manufacturer’s instructions regarding cleaning your archery equipment and certainly DO NOT use any Alcohol/IPA, Trich, Turps, Swarfega or any other harsh chemicals or chemical based cleanser on your equipment, or any abrasive material.

Personally I like to use a method, similar to the current advice on cleaning mobile devices to avoid Covid19 with the use of a mild soap and water. No I don’t mean dunking the device in the sink with the crockery like my other half did with a phone recently! (Don’t know how but it survived unscathed!).

You will need

  • Water
  • A mild liquid soap such as that use for cleaning hands (not washing up liquid)
  • Multiple soft cloths (microfibre will suffice)
  • Dry air keyboard cleaner if available.


  1. Remove any excess surface dirt or dust with a clean dry soft cloth to avoid scratching, if you have a canister of dry air keyboard cleaner then this can be used to clean dust from any hard to reach areas the cloth can’t get into.
  2. Apply a tiny amount of liquid hand soap onto the area to be cleaned and using a clean damp soft cloth gently rub the soap around the surface covering all areas but take care to ensure the soap/water does not get into any mounting holes, such as button or sight mountings, or in any moving parts such as alignment brackets, or in the button itself. Also take care not to get water onto any metallic parts that may corrode or rust from excess moisture.
  3. Using a soft cloth dampened with clean water, or rinse and wring the previous soft cloth; remove the excess soap from the surfaces, repeat if soap still remains.
  4. Thoroughly dry the surfaces with a soft dry cloth. Remove any moisture that may have got into hard to reach places with the keyboard air cleaner. Only once completely dried; the equipment can then be stored away.

Whilst it is not recommended to use any cleaning product on the string it can be wiped down with a damp cloth and waxed to keep it in good condition: String the bow and apply wax to the length of the bare string, avoiding the serving areas. Using fingers or a cloth, rub the wax into the string with enough vigour to create a little warmth from the friction to ensure the wax penetrates the string strands, then remove excess wax by using a length of string such as dental floss wrapped once fully around the string and pulled taught, by drawing the floss down the string it will cut away the excess wax.

A note on hygiene

Archers can often be seen to place their bow down on the ground with the string downward and the bow resting on the stabilisers. This is probably best avoided in these times as you can never tell what may be picked up and placed against your face or lips. So next time you kiss your string, think about what may have been on the soles of shoes; dirt, dust, dog or bird poop, crushed insects, bacteria and…..maybe a virus!