Recently I was working outside forming a driveway in the rain. Working in and around the wet sand was not friendly on my tools, especially my tape measure. About halfway through the day my tape measure would need "encouragement" in order to retract to the closed postion. Not too much later, with force applied, it would remain standing out at 1ft. and the problem progressively got worse.
Since this tape measure was only 2 months old and worth $41.99 new, it was time for a good cleaning to keep its operation like that of a new tape.
After following the steps below, I used the same tape measure in similar conditions the next day without any problems.
Literally! Extend your tape measure out to the longest point that you typically use and fold it up in to the bath tub. Fill the tub enough that you can easy swish everything around. Make sure you the length of the tape is clean and the tape housing has been shaken out.
It is also a good idea to let the the faucet run over the tape slot while pulling out and retracting the tape.
Using a clean, lint free cloth, extend the tape to the furthest position. Wrap the cloth around the tape, forming it to the shape of the blade. Wipe down the length of the tape while retracting it in to the housing.
Extend tape to its maximum distance and lock. Spray entire blade with WD-40. Allow tape to retract into housing. Re-extend the tape blade and wipe off excess WD-40 in the same fashion as drying in step 2.
Note: This will give the tape measure a greasy feel and the WD-40 residue on the blade may damage finished materials. Apply Step 3 at your own discretion
Enjoy you newly reconditioned tape measure.