How to clean your guitar

Over time your guitar will pick up dirt, sweat and dust. Some basic cleaning can help keep your instrument looking beautiful. We’d always recommend following the manufacturers advice, especially if you have a vintage or very valuable instrument. However, here are some simple hints and tips you can use on most guitars.

Do:

  • The natural oils and any dirt on your fingers will get on the strings. Wipe the strings, neck and bridge with a lint-free cloth – ideally after every use. Wiping down your strings after every playing session with Fast Fret will keep them clean and make them last longer. Dirty strings wear out much faster and if you’ve let the dirt build up too much you may be better off investing in a new set of strings.
  • Wipe clean any metal parts with a soft, dry polishing cloth. You shouldn’t need to put anything on them just giving them a regular wipe is usually sufficient. We recommend the Fender Super-Soft Dual-Sided Microfiber Cloth
  • Lemon oil is perfect for cleaning Rosewood guitar fretboards, as it helps to lift the dirt and condition the wood. Rosewood is naturally quite oily and if allowed to dry out can feel unpleasant to the touch and, in extreme cases, may be prone to cracking or splitting. Use Dunlop Lemon Oil to do this as it contains no harmful spirit-based ingredients. Only use a minimal amount and make sure you wipe off any excess with a soft, dry cloth. Don't be tempted to use Lemon Oil on Maple fretboards, as you run the risk of permanently staining the wood if it is unsealed or if there are any gaps in the finish. We recommend a special guitar cleaner like Fast Fret to lift the dirt on a Maple board, as it contains a very fine oil that won't stain.
  • Some musicians recommend using a soft, natural bristle paint brush to remove the dust from the hard to reach areas of your instrument before you clean it.
  • Caring for your hardware, like bridges, pickups and tuners should also be kept to a minimum. If it’s really grimy, a soft toothbrush or pipe cleaners can be used. Never get moisture near your pickup, a dry clean cloth is the only safe way to care for them.

 Don’t

  • Use glass cleaner or any product containing ammonia, silicon or abrasives on your guitar, no matter how dirty it is.
  • Leave your guitar exposed to direct sunlight or extremes of humidity or temperature for long periods. Give it a wipe down and keep it in its case when you’re not playing it. If the guitar is being left unplayed for an extended time then just slacken the strings in order to take unnecessary stress out of the neck.

The best solution is to regularly clean your guitar lightly after every use. This will keep your instrument looking and sounding its best and prolong the life of accessories such as the strings.

When you buy a guitar from us we can provide advice on the best solutions for your instrument.