How to Clean Your Guitar in 4 Steps
How to Clean Your Guitar
In order to improve the look of your guitar, make it more sanitary and actually improve its tone, you need to clean it properly. It is likely that it is stuffed with dirt, nicotine, grease, perspiration and all kind of dirt. If you fail to provide proper care and maintenance of a good guitar, you can cause permanent damage to its tone quality.
So, here is how to clean your guitar in 4 steps:
Step 1: Remove the strings
Remove the strings, and if you can change them. But before you put on new ones, make sure you clean the fretboard. To reduce the risk of a neck tension problem, take one or two string off at a time only. Clean the fretboard from the oils which your fingers have likely left on it. Don’t overdo it though, because you don’t want to ruin the natural moisture of the fretboard.
Step 2. Use a soft cloth
To clean it use a soft and slightly damp cloth. Use a clean part of your cleaning cloth for every fret. If the fret has serious grime or residue on it, you may need to do some light brushing with the finest steel wool. Make sure you cover the pickups because particles from the steel wool can stick to them. If it still needs cleaning, use a toothbrush, a cotton swab or a credit card to get the grime off. If it has cracks or hairlines, apply some fretboard conditioner or a few drops of almond or mineral oil on it.
Step 3. Polish the guitar
Proceed to polish the guitar’s finish. Use a soft, well wrung out damp cloth. Depending on the type of guitar you have, the polishing will require different polishes. For Gibson guitars, the recommended polishes are Luthier’s Choice Hi-Gloss Polish or Pump Polish. Always put the polish or the cloth, and not directly on the guitar. Polish the entire guitar – top, back and neck. Does not use polish for furniture!
Clean the bridge with a damp cloth and use a toothbrush if there is residue which you can’t get off.
Step 4. Clean the tuning keys
Use glass cleaner sprayed on a soft cloth to clean the tuning keys. Polish the pickups with a soft cloth and if you notice any rusting, you may need to unscrew the faceplates and use a rust removal agent. Keep your guitar in a case, so that it is protected from dust and another residue.
You need to be careful with vintage guitars. Avoid using any sort of moisture on them at all! Use specialized restorative guitar products for it and dry soft cloths.