Are There Any Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Cams?
To clean a cam, first swish the head in nearboiling water, activating the trigger to move the lobes. Squeeze a few drops of dishwashing liquid onto the moving parts and scrub with a toothbrush. Use a Q-tip for hard-to-reach spots on smaller cams. Swish-and-trigger in the hot water again, making sure all the soap is rinsed off. Blow-dry with compressed air, if possible, or towel- and air-dry. UV light damages slings, so store them out of direct sunlight.
After cleaning your cams, always lube them, but do it sparingly. Your best bet is a wax-based lubricant such as Metolius Cam Lube or White Lightning bike-chain lube, both which repel dust and grit better than WD-40, though this also works fine. (All are likely harmless to slings, but if you do a neat job, you should be able to keep it off them.) Apply a drop or two to each joint and activate the trigger. Wipe off all excess lube. Some climbers prefer a dry, graphite-based lube, available at most hardware or auto-parts stores, which works well. Always rinse and re-lube cams (and any other metal climbing gear) after climbing near saltwater. —Jeff Achey