Keeping your fly rod clean will most certainly extend it's life. Obviously we want to take care of the varnish on bamboo rods, but fiberglass & graphite rods have a coating on them, too, that will help protect the rod. It may not seem like much, but taking these few extra steps will ensure that your rod continues to look & fish good for you in the years to come.
So, what's a good method to clean your fly rod? Well, here it is:
Next, if you have a bamboo rod with varnish, or a fiberglass or graphite rod with a gloss, shiny finish, go over the rod with a good furniture polish - the same kind you use around the house (Old English, Pledge, etc). Again, spray the wax on a clean, soft towel, & wipe off the wax with another dry towel. Make sure that you get the line guides as well but make sure you get all the excess wax off the line guides. If you don't, it will build up on the guides & slow your fly line down.
DO NOT WAX THE FERRULES!!! This is especially true for the metal ferrules of a bamboo rod. Never ever wax the ferrules. If you need to clean the metal ferrules of a bamboo or older fiberglass rod, put some rubbing alcohol onto a clean, soft towel & wipe the ferrules with the alcohol. Then wipe them again with a clean, dry towel. Make sure the towels are clean & do not have anything on them that will scratch the ferrules. To clean the inside of a metal female ferrule, dip a cotton swab into some rubbing alcohol & swirl it around inside the ferrule. Keep doing this with a fresh cotton swab each time until they no longer have dirt on them. Then dry the inside of the female ferrule with a dry cotton swab before assembling the rod.
If you have a rod with a matte finish, just clean the rod with the liquid glass cleaner, or warm water only. Don't wax the shafts of the rod, but you can wax the line guides & the guide wraps if you wish.
Finally, after you've cleaned & polished the rod, I like to go over it one more time with a "dry sweeping cloth" (like "swifter") that are available at most retail stores. This really polishes the rod up & gives it a nice appearance. It also removes fingerprints & other smudges.
Regular cleaning helps to protect the finish of the rod & to protect the guide wraps & labels or inscriptions on the rod shafts. If you take the time to clean your fly rod & keep it looking good, you'll be going a long way to getting more years of use from it.