How to Clean Your Guitar (Strings and Other Components)

cleaningWe all know the need of keeping our guitars clean. But who has the time, right? Well, the truth is you only need a couple of minutes to clean your guitar. The whole activity is not difficult, and it can be done using items you already have in your house. Tune in and find out how to clean your guitar.

The truth is that guitars get dirty very quickly. They are constantly exposed to things like: dirt, sweat, cigarette smoke, beer, you name it. More than that, basically every element of a guitar is affected and needs some attention (the body, neck, fretboard, frets, strings).

First rule

First thing you need to do is make sure that when you’re not playing, your guitar is resting comfortably in the case. That way you minimize its exposure to dust, and as a result, have to clean your guitar less frequently.

What to do after you’re done playing

Right after you’ve finished playing is the best moment for some quick cleaning. You need to focus on the elements of your guitar that you’ve been using (touching) the most.

1. Wipe the strings with a soft cloth. Start cleaning your guitar by taking a cloth, grabbing a string near the bridge and moving the cloth all the way up to the nut. Also, take a look at the nut and the bridge of your guitar. If they need some cleaning up wipe them too.

2. Take the cloth and wipe the body of your guitar, the neck and the fretboard. You can use a small amount of guitar polishing agent (be careful with standard polishing agents, using them might not be the best idea). One more thing. Don’t let the polishing agent get on your strings.

What to do every once in a while

There’s a set of things you don’t need to do every time you finish playing. Think of it like cleaning your house. You need to vacuum it quite often, but some serious cleaning rarely needs to be done more than once a month.

1. Clean the frets. This is usually done every time when you change the strings. First you can take a cloth and wipe the frets. To get rid of some more resistant dust you can use some wire wool (the softest available). But you need to be careful not to destroy the frets, so be gentle.

Another thing to be careful about is the wood on the fretboard. Try not to touch the wood with the wire wool. Do everything slowly.

Then take a look at each fret and try to notice any recess and irregularities. You can correct this with wire wool or soft sandpaper.

2. Finally, it’s time for potentiometers, sockets, and switches. There are a couple of things you need to do to keep them clean.

First, remove the knobs from the potentiometers. Then apply a small amount of potentiometer cleaner to the insides of the potentiometers, and turn the potentiometer up and down several times.

Getting to the sockets and switches can be tricky. You might have to remove the pickguard or some other elements depending on your guitar’s construction. Once you’re there, use the same potentiometer cleaner and apply it to the sockets and switches.

Of course, there’s a lot more things you can do when cleaning your guitar, but this simple set of actions is more than enough for most cases. Just remember, a clean guitar is a guitar that sounds good. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to clean your guitar properly.

« »