Urban legend that surfaces way too often. There is absolutely no problem with Kodak Photo-Flo, any other wetting agent or color film stabilizers or final rinses. You have to rinse the reels with warm water after processing, which should be self-evident; if you don't, of course you have some residue on them. If you fail to do that for a long time, time after time, there is a possibility of sticky residue as you describe. However, in this case, soak them in warm water and use a dish brush to get rid of it. Nothing even close to "impossible" here, just the normal maintenance.
Originally Posted by Ronald Moravec
BTW you should also rinse the steel reels even if they don't develop the residue. Still, just the normal maintenance. The developer characteristics may change a bit from carry-in wetting agent.
Isn't it a bit strange if you consider yourself as picky, and work to achieve perfection, but the normal maintenance of the equipment is too much of a burden? For me, it takes some 20 seconds during the normal clean-up. A quick rinse and a small swirl with a dish brush just in case.
However, I have seen and used those sticky reels, something other people have used FOR YEARS without cleaning them once. It took me half an hour to clean some 20 reels and now they are PERFECT again.