ALWAYS,,,ALWAYS,,ALWAYS...........NEVER FORGET THIS ONCE YOU GET IN THE HABIT....YOU WON'T FORGET......... your reels will last many , many years...well if they are old school PENNS to start with your drags will thank you....
1 Tighten drags first and spray down with lube or salt off solution. (I use Getsome). This brings the salt "out" and the tightened drags keep the salt from going deeper into the reel for step 2.
2. Hose down reels with fresh water.
3. Dry thoroughly with towel, then loosen drags and tension.
4. Spray down liberally again with lube and spin the reel handle a bunch of times.
5. Put reel in reel cover (in gear) fully lubed.
Doing this, so far I've never had to have any of my salt water reels serviced. I've only had to have my baitcasters serviced (assuming because they aren't salt water worthy to begin with). I also tend to sell older reels and buy newer models every 2-3 years but when I sell my reels, the buyers always comment on how smooth my reels are.
I've never herd of backing off the drag preset knob on a lever drag, freespool always. When I rinse my reels I keep them in the upright position so water doesn't go where it's not supposed to and I don't use high water pressure. Oh, don't forget to turn the clicker on so the spool doesn't spin around. It also helps keep the tensioner for the clicker from getting weak.