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How to Clean an Electric Guitar Properly

How to Clean an Electric Guitar Properly

How to Clean an Electric Guitar Properly

Cleaning your guitar isn’t just about beauty care products, and failing to understand the situation can accomplish more damage than anything else. Realizing how to clean a guitar properly will increase its life span and save you cash on avoidable repairs.

How to Clean an Electric Guitar Properly

We are going to walk you through certain means to guarantee you take the most ideal care of your guitar.


Why Cleaning Your Guitar Is Important

A guitar gets layered with oil and sweat from your arms and hands along with dust in the air around it. Sweat and oil develop most on the top of the body, the back of the neck, and obviously, the fretboard. Anywhere that your skin contacts the guitar is an issue area that can’t be ignored. Whenever disregarded, it can cause major issues cosmetically, for example, rusting your hardware.

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Preparing to Clean Your Guitar

Wash your hands — It may sound self-evident, yet sadly for many guitarists, it isn’t.

Expel the strings — If you are giving your guitar a light tidying, at that point clearly leave them on. For anything increasingly intensive including cleaning items, take the strings off. It makes the activity easier and keeps any cleaner or clean from getting onto your strings.


What To Avoid

Over-cleaning — Cleaning too frequently can be as bad as not cleaning at all.

Family unit cleaners — General cleaning items contain chemicals that are exceptionally bad for your guitar. Stick to specialized guitar cleaning items.

Silicone — Avoid any items that contain silicone, because it has an adverse impact on your guitar’s completion.


Forestall Sweat, Oil, and Dust from Building Up

Get into the everyday practice of giving your guitar a light tidying after use. We referenced already that over-cleaning can be a bad thing, however we mean aggressively over-cleaning.

The idea here is that by giving only a light tidying after use, you can confine or avoid the requirement for a profound clean. A light clean can be as basic as breathing on the completion to create a fine fog and cleaning it tenderly away with a delicate microfibre fabric. Forestalling a nasty develop on your guitar is far superior to expelling it.


Various Types of Finish

It’s important to know and understand what sort of finish your guitar has. Various completions have various qualities; some are harder than others, some gentler, some crack naturally, and so on. Understanding how your guitar will react to cleaning is the best way to make sure you utilize the right technique and items.



Nitrocellulose is a delicate completion that can look fantastic yet can be inclined to checking (fine cracks) and discoloration from changes in the temperature. Many vintage guitars from the 1950s – 1960s as well as some top of the line present day or custom guitars have a nitro finish. Another issue is that it can start to rankle when in contact with elastic, (for example, on a guitar stand) for a really long time, so you have to be careful about how you store it when not being used.

On the off chance that a nitro finish is heavily checked, any cleaners/finishes utilized could reach the wood underneath, causing genuine damage. That could also enlarge the cracks or even make the completion start to flake.

Nitrocellulose lacquer will in general be found on costly guitars, so you have to know anything you do can potentially devalue your instrument. At the point when not being used, keep the guitar in its case to save its condition further.

Attempt to store it some place that will restrict outrageous changes in temperature or climate because any dampness the guitar soaks up can cause the wood to naturally expand, which leads to discoloration and/or checking. As a rule, we propose you avoid utilizing any cleaning items on a nitro finish.



Heavily checked completion — If your nitro finish is showing indications of heavy wear, at that point a dry delicate microfibre fabric ought to work. Softly dust the guitar with the dry material after playing, however be delicate. Try not to apply too a lot of weight; let the fabric accomplish the work.

Somewhat checked completion — You should take the same care as above, however this time you can utilize a marginally damp material. Try not to take a soaking wet material to your nitro finish; when we say somewhat, we mean barely damp.

Think sufficiently damp to create more dampness than breathing on the guitar’s body however very little more. Apply somewhat more weight than you would on a heavily checked completion, and be careful on any issue areas. It will help tackle any sweat and oil, at that point take a dry part of your material and daintily residue to wrap up.

Flawless nitro finish — If you are sufficiently fortunate to have a brand new or vintage guitar with an unblemished nitro finish, you can clean it on the off chance that you like. However, you have to recall how thin the lacquer is; each time you clean it, you are wearing away the completion a bit.

While it may look great, after some time, it very well may be detrimental whenever done too frequently. Take a light clean like the Music Nomad Guitar Polish, and apply an extremely small amount to your material, at that point apply with great care to your guitar. When the clean has been completely applied, you can take a dry fabric to delicately buff it out.


Polyurethane and Polyester

Polyurethane lacquer has been broadly utilized since the 1960s as a cheaper and increasingly vigorous alternative to a nitro finish. It gives an even, gleaming completion that is far progressively durable for profound cleaning. Because it’s thicker, it doesn’t show the same indications of checking; instead, it will in general chip whenever damaged or mistreated.

Polyester completes are much thicker and more durable than a polyurethane finish. It’s also more resistant to scratches or discoloration than polyurethane, which makes it surprisingly better for cleaning.

Most mass-created guitars nowadays have one poly finish or the other to accommodate the life of a gigging musician. It is possible that one can be cleaned or cleaned similarly.



The Jim Dunlop Formula 65 Guitar Polish and cleaner is generally utilized on a poly finish, and we prescribe pairing it with the Jim Dunlop Platinum 65 Spray Wax. Take the clean and spray it a couple of times onto your material before cleaning it over the guitar.

Apply a firm weight when cleaning down the guitar to evacuate any sweat and oil. When completed, repeat the procedure with the wax spray, and your guitar will look all around great.

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Matte or Satin Finish

A matte completion looks unfathomable on the correct guitar, however the drawback is that you end up with sparkling areas after some time. That happens to the areas that your skin touches most; sweat wears down the completion, and you are left with a sparkling patch.

It can’t be avoided totally, however keeping your hands clean and daily light tidying can help. We prescribe adhering to a delicate dry material on a matte completion to avoid adding to the sparkle.

Satin is somewhere close to a matte and polished completion. On the off chance that conceivable, we recommend utilizing only a dry delicate fabric for light tidying, yet a damp material may be utilized for more profound cleaning.



Matte completion — Take a dry microfibre material and gently dust the guitar after use or daily if not being stored in a case.

Satin finish — Do the same as you would for a matte completion, yet in the event that it requires an increasingly intensive clean just marginally dampen your fabric. Wipe the guitar down with least weight, and catch up with a dry part of your fabric.


Cleaning the Fretboard

The fretboard takes the most discipline as far as sweat and oil develop from playing. That makes it one of the most important and delicate areas to clean. Sweat dehydrates the wood and can leave unwanted marks on a fretboard or cause it to crack.

For most basic fretboard materials, you can utilize nearly 0000 steel fleece to dispose of any unwanted soil or grime. As long as you utilize 0000 steel fleece, you won’t cause any damage to the worries or the wood. Next, you have to rehydrate the wood and take it back to as new condition.



Wearing gloves to secure your hands, daintily focus on the steel fleece a circular movement on the fretboard. Do this until you have secured the whole fretboard, at that point wipe away any leftover earth or grime.

Presently apply a cleanser like Jim Dunlop’s Guitar Fingerboard Kit to revitalize the wood. Apply a liberal amount to a marginally damp material, at that point wipe down the fretboard solidly. Lemon oil is also a typical alternative used to clean the fretboard and is applied similarly.

This technique is fine for most fingerboards; however, a maple fingerboard that has been lacquered ought to be cleaned with a damp material in particular. Steel fleece or lemon oil will expel the lacquer’s sparkle, leaving a dull completion.


Cleaning the Hardware

Metal is inclined to consumption, and sweat is a profoundly destructive substance, so you have to be careful cleaning your hardware shop. In the event that your hardware isn’t showing indications of rust or erosion, at that point a delicate material and a small amount of clean should hold it under tight restraints. In the event that there are indications of rust, at that point it’s ideal to evacuate the hardware and utilize a more grounded cleaner.

Many luthiers swear by Naptha (lighter liquid) or WD40 to give your hardware a profound clean. Apply either to a somewhat damp material and immovably rub down your hardware. These substances are bad for your guitar, so you should expel your hardware before applying them.


How Often Should I Clean My Guitar?

Daily light cleaning or tidying after use is a great daily practice to get into. As far as profound cleaning goes, you have to be progressively careful. As a general standard, it’s all set for a more profound clean just when you have to replace the strings. You’d evacuate them to clean anyway, and it stops you from doing it too as often as possible.