As a musician your instrument is your pride and joy, you want to look after it as well as you can. Guitars are very intricate pieces of musical equipment and they do require some specialist care especially when it comes to cleaning.
It is important that you know what you are doing when it comes to handling the guitar as due to its build it is very delicate. This is particularly true, when it comes to the strings and tuning keys.
This handy little guide on how to clean your guitar will prove useful in helping you to maintain your favorite musical instruments health and good looks.
Step By Step Guide To Cleaning The Guitar
Step One – Wash your hands. This may sound obvious but it is actually one of the most important things to do when it comes to cleaning the guitar as you do not want any dirt or dust that has gathered on your hands to get on to the guitar as this would be counterproductive.
This is especially true for the soundhole as if any dirt gets into this it will not only affect the aesthetics of your guitar but it will also have an impact on the sound that it makes.
Step Two – Remove the strings. Removing the strings will make it much easier to clean the body and fretboard of the guitar. It is important that you do this carefully as guitar strings are quite delicate.
While the strings are off it is important that you put them somewhere that they will stay safe and clean. This could also be a good opportunity to replace your guitar strings with some newer ones which is another great way to care for your guitar.
Step Three – Clean the fretboard. When it comes to cleaning your guitar’s fretboard it is important that you use the right materials as otherwise this exercise could do more harm than good and no one wants a damaged or scratched guitar. The best material to use is fine steel wool when it comes to removing stubborn gunk.
You should then add lemon oil in order to rehydrate your guitar. However, this is only the case if the fretboard is made out of rosewood, ebony or pau ferro.
If it is made out of maple you are better simply using a damp cloth to clean it as this is much less likely to cause damage to this particular material.
Step Four – Polish the guitar’s body. Depending on the material that the guitar is made from there are different approaches to doing this.
If it is a gloss/poly-finished guitar then spraying specific guitar polish onto a cloth and wiping it down could be the best way forward. Guitar polish is not overly pricey and is easy to get a hold of both online and in a lot of music stores.
Alternatively, if your guitar’s body is matte, satin or nitro-finished then the safer option is to use a dry cloth with no polish.
Step Five – Refresh the hardware. You might not want to refresh the hardware every time that you clean your guitar but it is a good idea to do this somewhat regularly.
The best way to do this is by once again using a soft cloth, you should also add a very small amount of guitar polish to the soft cloth in order to remove dirt and any dried sweat which may have transferred onto the guitar via your fingertips.
Thicker grime and dust can be hard to get rid of however WD-40 can be a good way of removing this.
How To Keep The Guitar Clean?
So, now your guitar is looking all spick and span and is back to its former glory it is only natural that you want to keep it looking this way. Keeping your guitar shiny and clean can be hard especially if you play it regularly. Here we have created a list of ways that you can keep your guitar looking good.
- Wash your hands before you play the guitar- Washing your hands each time before you play your guitar can help to stop dirt and grime from travelling from your hands to your guitar’s strings and body. This tops a build up of dirt and prevents it from getting to the point where it is hard to remove all of the grime from the guitar.
- Wipe down your guitar strings- Another good idea to prevent the build up of dirt and grime is to wipe down your guitar strings each time you are done using your guitar. There are several effective and affordable cleaning lubricants on the market that are specifically designed for this therefore, it shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve. Be sure to do this carefully each time as there is nothing worse than damaged or broken guitar strings.
- Store your guitar well- The way in which you store your guitar has a direct impact on how clean it stays. The best way to store a guitar is in its case. You probably purchased a guitar case around the same time that you brought your guitar but if not it’s never too late. Guitar cases can be purchased online or from most music shops, they also come at a range of prices so there should be one to suit your budget.
Keeping your guitar clean is really important as not only does dirt affect the aesthetics but it can also affect the acoustics.
Let’s face it no one wants to practise or perform with a grubby or dodgy sounding guitar so guitar cleanliness should be a priority for any guitarist.
Just like with most things, prevention is better than cure so stopping your guitar from getting too dirty can be much more effective than a deep clean once it is past it’s best.
However, there may be the odd time where this is not possible and your guitar gets a little bit dirty, in these cases some of the tips above can be great ways of combating the problem.