How To Clean A Guitar – Instrument Care

How To Clean A Guitar – Instrument Care

Simply keeping your guitar clean is one of the best and simplest ways to take care of it.

Your guitar’s finish and hardware can prematurely age due to dirt, dust, sweat, skin oil, spilled beverages, smoke, and other gunk. Fight back; some fundamental cleaning knowledge can go a long way in preserving the beauty of your instrument.

5 Guitar Cleaning Advice

  1. With a lint-free cloth, frequently wipe the strings, neck, and bridge.
  2. Cleaning products made specifically for guitars are available at most music stores. You can also find plenty of cleaning supplies on’s “Care & Cleaning” page.
  3. Use nothing else to clean finished wood surfaces besides what we just mentioned. Avoid using products containing abrasives or silicon (like some paste cleaners do), glass cleaner, or anything with ammonia in it. Be safe and only use cleaners and polishes designed for guitars.
  4. Avoid exposing lacquer finishes for an extended period of time to plastics, synthetic materials, and surgical rubber tubing (stop laughing; it’s used on many guitar stands and straps), all of which react poorly with lacquer.
  5. Use a soft, dry polishing cloth to clean metal parts. It’s not necessary to spray anything on them; typically, wiping them off will be more than enough.

How Does a Guitar Get Dirty?

Your playing habits, including where and how long you play, will greatly affect how much dirt your guitar accumulates. For instance, if you perform gigs every weekend, you’re probably used to standing on stages that are 1000 degrees and being illuminated by enough lights to guide a plane in for a landing. The worst thing you can do for your guitar is to sweat while performing an hour-long set under harsh stage lighting.

Sweating profusely while playing in this situation is like kryptonite for your guitar. Sweat and grease on your guitar’s finish not only look bad, but they can also wear away the lacquer and harm the fretboard in particular irreparably. Furthermore, it has the potential to damage the hardware and electronic parts of your guitar, rusting them and resulting in further issues.

Your guitar probably won’t need to be cleaned very frequently if you practice for 1-2 hours every day at home in a cool, well-ventilated room. It all depends on the circumstances and the context.

How Often To Clean A Guitar

Before we get into the specifics of how to clean various components of your guitar, it’s important to note some strategies you can use to prevent dirt from ever accruing on your guitar in the first place. You’ll eventually save time and effort by doing it. Trust me!

Clean A Guitar

Keep Your Guitar In The Case

Especially if you like to display your guitars on the wall, you might not want to hear this. The main disadvantage of leaving your guitars out is that dust will quickly gather on them. Although dust may not be as bad for your guitar as sweat, it can accumulate in the cracks and eventually harm the electronics’ performance.

You’ve probably heard a crackling sound when adjusting the volume pot or pickup selector on your guitar. Dust is typically to blame for that. By taking off the cavity plate on the back of your guitar and blowing the dust-out, you can solve this issue fairly quickly. However, this is more of a hassle if you own a Strat or other similar guitar with electronics mounted on a scratch plate.

So it’s advised to put your guitar back in its case, whether it’s a gig bag or a hard one. It will help to maintain your guitar’s reliability and crackle-free sound while keeping it largely dust-free.

You will be motivated to play the guitar more often if it is clean because it looks and feels better than a soiled, unkempt guitar. If you want your guitar to last and avoid needing any of its parts replaced in a few years, it is essential to keep it clean.

Maintaining it in good condition will also increase the likelihood that its value will hold if you ever decide to sell it. Keep this in mind: take care of your guitar, and it will take care of you!