How to Clean a Compound Bow: A Step-by-Step Guide

To clean a compound bow, start by removing any dirt or debris using a cloth. Then, use a mixture of warm water and mild soap to wipe down the bow, paying extra attention to the limbs, cams, and strings.

Finally, use a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture and store the bow in a cool, dry place. Regular cleaning and maintenance will help ensure optimal performance and longevity of your compound bow. Compound bows are popular among archery enthusiasts for their power and precision.

To keep your compound bow in top condition, regular cleaning is essential. Dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate on the bow, impacting its performance and accuracy. This guide will provide you with simple and effective steps to properly clean your compound bow and maintain its optimal functionality. By following these instructions, you can ensure that your compound bow remains in great shape for years to come. So, let’s get started with the cleaning process to keep your compound bow in tip-top condition.

How to Clean a Compound Bow: A Step-by-Step Guide


Essential Tools For Cleaning A Compound Bow

Cleaning a compound bow regularly is essential for maintaining its performance and prolonging its lifespan. To ensure a thorough cleaning, you’ll need a few key tools. In this section, we’ll outline the essential tools you’ll need to effectively clean your compound bow.

Proper Cleaning Supplies:

  • Bowstring wax: This is a crucial tool for maintaining the health and longevity of your bowstring. Applying bowstring wax helps prevent fraying and keeps the string in optimal condition. Simply apply the wax evenly along the length of the bowstring to ensure its durability.
  • Bowstring cleaner: Over time, your bowstring may accumulate dirt, debris, and other contaminants. Using a dedicated bowstring cleaner can help remove these impurities, ensuring better performance and accuracy. Apply the cleaner with a clean cloth or cotton swab, gently wiping along the string’s length.
  • Cotton swabs: These handy tools are perfect for reaching and cleaning those hard-to-reach areas of your compound bow. Use cotton swabs dipped in cleaner or solvent to remove grime from small crevices, nooks, and crannies. They are particularly useful for cleaning the cams and grooves of the bow.
  • Microfiber cloth: An all-purpose microfiber cloth is an excellent tool for cleaning various parts of your compound bow. It effectively removes dust, dirt, and fingerprints without leaving lint or scratches. Use the cloth to wipe down the riser, limbs, and other components of your bow.

Properly cleaning your compound bow requires the right tools. By having these essential supplies on hand, you’ll be well-equipped to keep your bow in top shape and ensure optimal performance every time you step onto the field or range. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance to ensure the longevity of your bow.

Step 1: Preparing The Bow For Cleaning

Unstring The Bow

To properly clean a compound bow, the first step is to unstring it. Unstringing the bow ensures that there is no tension on the limbs, making it easier to clean and inspect. Here’s how to unstring your compound bow:

  • Locate the limb tips where the bowstring connects.
  • With a bowstringer, attach one end to the top limb tip and the other end to the bottom limb tip.
  • Carefully step on the bowstringer, applying gentle pressure to bend the bow and relax the tension on the limbs.
  • Slide the bowstring off the cams or wheels and carefully release the tension on the bowstringer.
  • Your compound bow is now unstrung and ready for the cleaning process.

Inspect The Bow For Damage

Before cleaning your compound bow, it’s essential to inspect it thoroughly for any signs of damage. Regular inspection helps identify any potential issues that may affect its performance or safety. Here’s what you should look for during the inspection:

  • Examine the limbs for any cracks, splinters, or delamination. These could compromise the structural integrity of the bow and reduce its shooting power.
  • Check the cams or wheels for any signs of wear, such as excessive grooves or dents. Damaged cams can affect the bow’s accuracy and efficiency.
  • Inspect the bowstring for fraying, broken strands, or any signs of wear. A damaged bowstring can lead to string failure or reduced arrow speed.
  • Ensure that all screws, bolts, and fittings are secure and not loose. Loose components can affect the bow’s stability and accuracy.
  • Look for any other visible damage or abnormalities, such as bent risers or twisted limbs.

By inspecting your compound bow before cleaning, you can address any issues promptly, ensuring optimal performance and longevity.

Remove Arrows And Accessories

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to remove all arrows and accessories from your compound bow. This ensures your safety and allows for better access while cleaning. Here’s what you should do:

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  • Carefully remove any arrows from the quiver, making sure not to damage the fletching or arrowheads.
  • Set aside any accessories attached to the bow, such as stabilizers, sights, or arrow rests.
  • Inspect the arrows for any signs of damage, such as bent shafts or loose components. Damaged arrows should not be shot and may need to be replaced.
  • Store your arrows in a safe location away from the cleaning area to prevent any accidental damage or injury.
  • Removing accessories allows you to clean the bow thoroughly, ensuring no debris or grime is left behind.

Once you’ve removed the arrows and accessories, your compound bow is ready for the cleaning process, which we will explore in the next step.

Step 2: Cleaning The Bowstrings

After inspecting your compound bow, it’s important to give attention to the bowstrings. Cleaning and maintaining the bowstrings regularly will ensure their longevity and proper functioning. Follow these simple steps to clean your compound bow’s strings effectively:

Applying Bowstring Cleaner:

  • Spray a small amount of bowstring cleaner onto a clean cloth or rag.
  • Gently rub the cloth along the length of the bowstrings.
  • Ensure that the cleaner penetrates the fibers to remove any grime or dirt buildup.
  • Pay extra attention to areas where the strings come in contact with the cams and axles.
  • Remove any excess cleaner using a dry section of the cloth.

Wiping Down The Bowstrings:

  • With a separate clean cloth or rag, wipe down the bowstrings to remove any remaining debris.
  • Start from one end of the string and work your way to the other, applying moderate pressure.
  • By wiping the strings, you’ll eliminate any residue and promote smoother and more consistent shots.

Applying Bowstring Wax:

  • Take a small amount of bowstring wax and apply it to a clean section of the cloth.
  • Working the wax into the strings, ensure that every inch is covered evenly.
  • The wax will moisturize and protect the bowstrings, preventing them from drying out and fraying.
  • Focus on the areas that experience the most tension or contact points during the shooting process.

Buffing The Bowstrings:

  • Using a separate dry cloth, gently buff the bowstrings to remove any excess wax or residue.
  • This step ensures that the strings remain smooth and free from any tackiness.
  • Buffing also helps to distribute the wax more evenly, enhancing the performance of the bowstrings.

By following these steps to clean your compound bow’s strings, you’ll maintain their strength, flexibility, and overall functionality. Keep in mind that regular cleaning and waxing are essential for the longevity and shooting accuracy of your compound bow. So, make it a routine part of your bow maintenance and enjoy a consistently high-performance experience.

Step 3: Cleaning The Bow Limbs And Riser

Dusting Off The Limbs And Riser

To keep your compound bow in top-notch condition, it’s crucial to regularly clean and maintain its various components. One essential part of the cleaning process is dusting off the limbs and riser. Here’s how you can do it effectively:

  • Inspect the bow limbs and riser for any dust or debris that may have accumulated.
  • Gently use a clean, soft cloth to wipe away the dust from the surface of the limbs and riser. Be cautious not to apply excessive pressure, as it may damage the finish or coating.
  • Pay extra attention to hard-to-reach areas, such as the nooks and crannies near the limbs and riser mounting points.

Removing Dirt And Debris

When using a compound bow, dirt and debris can easily find their way onto the limbs and riser. To ensure optimal performance, it’s important to remove any accumulated dirt or debris. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Begin by inspecting the limbs and riser for any visible dirt or debris. Look out for mud, grass, or any foreign particles that may have adhered to the surface.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush to gently scrub away the dirt and debris. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously, as it may scratch or damage the bow’s finish.
  • Work on one section at a time, focusing on areas where dirt is more likely to accumulate, such as the limb pockets and the grip area.
  • After scrubbing, use a clean cloth to wipe away any residual dirt or debris.

Using A Mild Detergent Solution (If Necessary)

In some cases, dirt or stubborn stains may require a more thorough cleaning approach. If the limbs and riser of your compound bow are particularly dirty, you can use a mild detergent solution to aid in the cleaning process. Follow these steps:

  • Prepare a mixture of mild dish soap or bowstring wax and warm water in a small bowl.
  • Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the solution and wring out any excess liquid. You want the cloth to be damp, not dripping wet.
  • Gently wipe the limbs and riser with the damp cloth, focusing on areas with visible dirt or stains.
  • Avoid applying excessive pressure or submerging the bow in water, as this can damage the components.
  • Once you’re satisfied with the cleaning, use a clean, dry cloth to remove any moisture from the limbs and riser.

Drying The Bow

After cleaning the limbs and riser of your compound bow, it’s important to ensure they are properly dried before storage or use. Here’s how you can do it effectively:

  • Use a clean, dry cloth to gently pat the limbs and riser, removing any excess moisture.
  • Allow the bow to air dry in a well-ventilated area, avoiding direct exposure to sunlight or heat sources.
  • Ensure that the limbs and riser are completely dry before reassembling the bow or storing it away.
  • For added protection, you can apply a thin layer of bowstring wax on the limbs and riser, as it helps prevent moisture absorption and adds a protective coating.
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By following these steps and regularly cleaning the limbs and riser of your compound bow, you’ll help maintain its performance and prolong its overall lifespan. Remember to always handle your bow with care and store it in a suitable case to prevent unnecessary damage.

Happy bow cleaning!

Step 4: Cleaning Bow Accessories

Cleaning Sights And Rests

When it comes to maintaining your compound bow, proper cleaning of sights and rests is essential for optimal performance. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Remove any dirt or debris from the sights and rests using a soft brush or cloth.
  • Inspect the sights for any signs of damage or wear, such as loose screws or misalignment.
  • If necessary, tighten any loose screws or make necessary adjustments to ensure proper alignment.
  • Use a specialized sight cleaner or a mild detergent mixed with water to clean the surfaces of the sights and rests.
  • Gently scrub the surfaces with a soft brush or cloth to remove any stubborn dirt or residue.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water and pat dry with a towel.
  • Apply a light coating of bow wax or lubricant to the movable parts of the sights and rests to prevent rusting and ensure smooth operation.
  • Finally, reassemble the sights and rests onto your compound bow, making sure they are securely tightened.

Cleaning Release Aids

Cleaning your release aid is crucial to maintain its functionality and prolong its lifespan. Follow these steps:

  • Start by inspecting the release aid for any signs of damage or wear, such as worn-out straps or loose parts.
  • Use a soft cloth or brush to remove any debris or dirt from the release aid.
  • If the release aid is waterproof, you can rinse it under running water to remove any stubborn dirt or residue. Otherwise, use a damp cloth to wipe it clean.
  • Pay attention to the moving parts, such as the trigger and release mechanism. Ensure they are free from any dirt or debris that may affect their smooth operation.
  • Dry the release aid thoroughly with a towel and allow it to air dry completely before using it again.
  • If there are any leather components, such as wrist straps, you can apply a small amount of leather conditioner to keep them in good condition.

Cleaning Arrow Rests

Properly cleaning your arrow rests is essential to ensure accurate and consistent arrow flight. Follow these steps:

  • Begin by removing any arrows from the arrow rest and lowering it to its lowest position.
  • Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any dirt or debris from the arrow rest, paying attention to the bristles or containment arms.
  • Inspect the arrow rest for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracked bristles or misalignment.
  • If necessary, replace any damaged or worn-out components of the arrow rest.
  • Apply a small amount of arrow rest cleaner or a mild detergent mixed with water to a cloth or brush.
  • Gently clean the arrow rest, making sure to remove any dirt or residue that may affect arrow flight.
  • Rinse the arrow rest thoroughly with clean water and dry it with a towel.
  • Once dry, raise the arrow rest back to its original position and ensure it is securely tightened.

Cleaning Quivers And Stabilizers

Properly cleaning your quivers and stabilizers helps maintain their functionality and protects them from wear and tear. Here’s what you should do:

  • Start by removing any arrows or accessories from the quiver or stabilizers.
  • Wipe down the surfaces of the quiver and stabilizers with a soft cloth or brush to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Pay attention to any hard-to-reach areas, such as crevices or joints, and use a small brush to clean them thoroughly.
  • If necessary, use a mild detergent mixed with water to clean the quiver and stabilizers more effectively.
  • Gently scrub the surfaces with a soft brush or cloth to remove any stubborn dirt or residue.
  • Rinse the quiver and stabilizers with clean water and dry them with a towel.
  • Inspect the components of the quiver and stabilizers for any signs of damage or wear, such as loose screws or cracks.
  • If any repairs or replacements are needed, ensure they are done before reassembling and using the quiver and stabilizers.

By following these steps to clean your compound bow accessories, you can keep them in excellent condition, ensuring optimal performance and longevity.

Step 5: Inspecting And Reassembling The Bow

After thoroughly cleaning the various parts of your compound bow, it’s time to inspect and reassemble it. This step is crucial in ensuring that your bow is in proper working order and ready for use. Here’s what you need to do:

Check For Loose Screws And Bolts:

Inspecting the bow for loose screws and bolts is important to prevent any potential accidents or damage. Carefully check the entire bow, paying close attention to the following areas:

  • Limbs: Look for any loose limb bolts or limb pocket screws.
  • Riser: Check for any loose bolts holding the riser together.
  • Cams: Examine both the top and bottom cams for any loose screws or bolts.

If you find any loose screws or bolts during the inspection, tighten them using the appropriate tools. However, make sure not to over-tighten, as this can potentially cause damage to the bow.

Reassemble The Bow:

Once you’ve inspected all the components and ensured they are in good condition, it’s time to reassemble the bow. Follow these steps to put your compound bow back together:

  • Start by attaching the limbs to the riser, aligning the limb pockets and securing them using the limb bolts.
  • Place the cams onto the axles and make sure they are properly aligned.
  • Fasten the cable guard and check that it is in the correct position.
  • Attach the string to the cams, ensuring that it is properly seated and centered on the grooves.
  • Install any additional accessories you may have removed during the cleaning process, such as the arrow rest, stabilizer, or sight.
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Ensure that all the components are securely tightened but not over-tightened. It’s important to maintain a balance between security and potential damage.

Stringing The Bow:

Before you can fully reassemble the bow, you need to string it. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to string a compound bow:

  • Begin by placing one end of the string onto the limb tip groove.
  • Apply pressure and bend the limb, sliding the other end of the string into the groove on the other limb tip.
  • Use a bow stringer tool to safely and evenly bend the limbs, allowing you to easily slide the string onto both limb tips simultaneously.

Remember, stringing a compound bow can be challenging, especially for beginners. If you have any doubts or concerns, it’s best to seek assistance from a professional or experienced archer.

Now that you have completed the inspection, reassembly, and stringing of your compound bow, it’s time to move on to the next steps to ensure optimal performance and accuracy.

Step 6: Final Touches And Maintenance

After completing the main cleaning steps for your compound bow, there are a few final touches and maintenance routines that you should follow to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. In this step, we will cover the application of bowstring wax (if necessary), storage and protection tips, as well as a regular maintenance schedule to keep your compound bow in top shape.

Applying Bowstring Wax (If Necessary)

If you notice any signs of wear and tear or dryness on your bowstring, it’s a good idea to apply bowstring wax. This will help protect the string from further damage and enhance its lifespan. Here’s how to apply bowstring wax:

  • Ensure that your bowstring is clean and free from debris.
  • Take a small amount of bowstring wax and rub it onto your fingertips.
  • Apply the wax evenly along the length of the bowstring, focusing on areas that appear dry or frayed.
  • Use a clean cloth to wipe away any excess wax.
  • Repeat this process periodically, especially if you use your compound bow frequently or in harsh weather conditions.

Remember, using too much wax can lead to a sticky residue, so apply it sparingly and wipe off any excess.

Storage And Protection Tips

Proper storage and protection are vital for maintaining the performance and condition of your compound bow. Consider the following tips:

  • Store your bow in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Use a bow case or sleeve to protect your bow during transportation or when not in use.
  • Ensure that the bowstring is relaxed when storing the bow for an extended period. This will prevent excessive tension that can affect its overall performance.
  • Keep your compound bow away from any sharp objects or heavy items that could potentially cause damage.

By following these storage and protection tips, you can prolong the lifespan of your compound bow and prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

Regular Maintenance Schedule

To ensure consistent performance and reliability, it’s important to establish a regular maintenance schedule for your compound bow. Here is a recommended maintenance routine:

  • Inspect your bow before each use for any signs of damage, loose parts, or worn-out components.
  • Clean the bowstring and cables regularly, removing any dirt, debris, or moisture.
  • Check the bow limbs for any cracks or splintering, and inspect the cams and axles for proper alignment and lubrication.
  • Examine the bow accessories, such as sight, quiver, and rest, for any adjustments or maintenance requirements.
  • Test the bow’s draw weight and adjust as needed.
  • Finally, consult your bow manufacturer’s manual for any specific maintenance guidelines or recommendations.

Following this regular maintenance schedule will help you identify and address any issues promptly, ensuring that your compound bow performs optimally and lasts for years to come.

Remember, taking care of your compound bow not only enhances your shooting experience but also prolongs its lifespan. By following these final touches and maintenance tips, you can enjoy consistent performance and reliability every time you unleash an arrow from your compound bow.

Happy shooting!

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Clean A Compound Bow?

How Often Should I Clean My Compound Bow?

It is recommended to clean your compound bow after every use to prevent dirt and debris build-up. Regular cleaning and maintenance will ensure optimal performance and prolong the lifespan of your bow.

What Do I Need To Clean A Compound Bow?

To clean a compound bow, you will need a soft cloth, a mild detergent, bowstring wax, and a bowstring cleaner. Gently wipe down the bow limbs and riser with the cloth, making sure to remove any dirt or grime. Use the bowstring cleaner to clean the bowstring, then apply bowstring wax to keep it in good condition.

How Do I Clean The Bowstring Of My Compound Bow?

To clean the bowstring of your compound bow, use a bowstring cleaner or a damp cloth with mild detergent. Gently wipe the bowstring to remove dirt and debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as they can damage the bowstring.

Regularly clean and wax the bowstring to keep it in optimal condition.


Properly cleaning and maintaining your compound bow is crucial for peak performance and longevity. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can ensure that your bow remains in top shape. Start by thoroughly inspecting your bow for any dirt, debris, or rust that may have accumulated.

Next, use a soft cloth and mild soap solution to wipe down the limbs, cams, and strings. Be sure to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the bow’s finish. Additionally, regularly waxing the strings and using bowstring wax will help to keep them in prime condition.

Taking the time to clean your compound bow after each use can prevent future issues and greatly extend its lifespan. So, make sure to incorporate these cleaning techniques into your routine and always store your bow in a safe and dry place.

With proper care, your compound bow will continue to deliver reliable and accurate shots, ensuring a successful hunting experience.