Geocache Care – How to Earn Both Types of Smileys

Practice Proper Care and “Feeding” of Geocaches


Good geocache maintenance is the story of two smiles. You earn a digital smiley for your Geocaching profile by finding a geocache. If you’ve found a well-maintained geocache it often leads to a real, in the flesh, teeth showing, ear-to-ear smile. Now, we’re on a quest for even more smiles.

It’s the perfect time to help.When you find a geocache, treat it with care and lend a helping hand if it’s necessary. After signing the log book, make sure the geocache is clear of debris and return it to the original hiding spot. If you notice the geocache is no longer water-tight, the log needs to be replaced, or anything else that needs some geocache love, submit a “Needs Maintenance” log on the geocache page. The geocache owner will receive a message and a red wrench icon will appear.

If the geocache is well-maintained, make sure to include a thank you to the geocache owner in your log. And, of course, don’t forget to smile.

  • John C Schuck

    A well maintained cache is something I take very seriously. I geocache with 2 kids, ages 4 and 7, and to get the kids excited about a full day of geo-caching I’ll plan trips where we seek out the larger caches, hoping that they will be able to find some good treasure. I hate when my 4 year old finds the cache first only to opening it up and find a rusty wet mess. I currently own about 85 geo-caches and I try to check on everyone of them about every 3-4 months. I always do an inspection before the winter season, then again before the busy summer season, and periodically at other times. Its not easy with caches spread over 70 – 80 miles as it takes a lot of time away from when I could be out exploring other peoples caches. I also try to respond within a few days when some one posts a needs maintenance log. I get frustrated when I check on one of my caches, and then find that it needs work. I know that people have found it, but didn’t let me know it needed help. I always appreciate when some one post a log letting me know the cache is in good shape or needs more swag. I want the next finders experience to be as enjoyable as possible. I hope more people will continue to do the same.

  • Barbara Ower

    Just like John, we also take our ownership very seriously. A string of DNFs or a Needs Maintenance log on one of our caches means we’re out the door and checking on it as soon as possible. If we find any problem we immediately disable the cache until we’ve had a chance to fix it. Once everything’s good to go, we log an Owner Maintenance and then re-enable the cache. In addition to making routine checks, we count on the caching community to log DNFs and alert us to potential problems via their logs. So far everyone’s been terrific! 🙂

  • twoofnine

    We always take a maintenance kit on our geocaching trips – spare log sheets, o rings, a few paper towels for drying out wet containers and so on. After all, if we are there at GZ anyway we may as well perform the maintenance if we can and leave the cache as we would wish to find it. A note to the CO that we have done so usually gets a grateful email in return. It can also keep caches going that would otherwise need archiving, for example if the CO isn’t actively caching at the moment.
    Of course we can’t carry all the different types of container to replace broken ones so that would have to be a “needs maintenance” log, but, for example, expecting the CO to hike up a mountain just because the log book needs a little extra paper seems unreasonable. A little co-operation can improve the caching experience for everyone, and what goes around often comes around.

  • scsmitchells

    We just started geocaching today and of the 6 finds we made, 4 of them were badly in need of maintenance, were water logged or spoiled. But when we found our first well maintained cache we were all hooked! and determined when we set our first cache to maintain it well.

  • mistressofthewoods

    when i leave a “needs maintenance” log, my total number of caches doesn’t go up and i don’t get a smiley–how come? did i miss something?

  • mistressofthewoods

    so sorry, i think i just answered myself by clicking on the words above,”red wrench”! after the owner does the maintenance and removes the dreaded “red wrench”-am i right?