How To Clean An Acoustic Guitar – Tips And Tricks

How to clean an acoustic guitar?

You can clean an acoustic guitar with a soft cloth and either very small amounts of water or specialized cleaner. You should clean the guitar head, neck, and body, as well as the strings.

Here’s what you need to know about keeping your acoustic guitar in top shape between sessions.

How To Clean An Acoustic Guitar - Tips And Tricks

Getting Started On Cleaning Your Acoustic Guitar

Before you start cleaning, you’ll want to gather your materials. These might include:

  • A soft cloth
  • Extra strings
  • Wire cutters (for clipping the excess string after stringing)
  • Cleaners
  • Polishes

If you’re doing a thorough cleaning, consider removing the strings before cleaning by loosening and unwinding them at the head then carefully pulling out the pin and unwinding the string there. You can restring the guitar afterward by reversing the process.

If you’re doing a quick cleaning, it’s fine to leave the strings in place. Either way, you’ll need to tune the instrument after cleaning, as the act of cleaning the strings will naturally pull them slightly out of tune.

How To Clean An Acoustic Guitar Body

When deciding how to clean guitar body parts, you’ll want to start with a quick dust-off. Use a soft, clean, damp cloth to wipe down the entire body. This removes dust and dirt, as well as the oils left from your hands when you play.

If, after that, you’d like to make your guitar shine slightly more, you can use a specially-made polish. Most music stores will carry balms made specifically for shining full-gloss guitars. If you have a matte instrument, however, skip the polish – you might ruin your finish.

There are some commercial cleaners on the market that you can use to clean different smudges on your guitar. Water-based cleaners are good for pulling up light dirt and debris. Cream polishes are, as mentioned, good for glossy guitars. Guitar oils can remove smudges left by your fingers.

Remember to apply products to the cloth rather than the instrument itself. This gives you more control over how much of the product is getting onto the guitar itself and where it’s going.

How To Clean A Neck On An Acoustic Guitar

Cleaning the neck of an acoustic guitar is much the same as cleaning the body. You’ll want to use a clean, soft, damp cloth to wipe down the neck, fretboard, and guitar head. This will remove dirt, dust, and oil.

You may choose to use a fretboard oil to recondition the wood and keep it shining. This oil is usually safe for your finish on a glossy guitar and will actually improve it, so you don’t have to worry about exact precision.

You should also take care to clean your strings. There are specialty string cleaners available that will remove oil and buildup quickly. Spray the cleaner on a cloth and wipe the strings down. Remember to get underneath the strings as well; having a thinner cloth may help in this regard.

How To Clean An Acoustic Guitar At Home

Most music supply stores will carry the necessary products to clean up your guitar at home. This includes balms, polishes, and oils that you can use to make the instrument shine.

Of course, one of the best ways to keep your guitar clean at home is to keep it in its case when it isn’t being used. This not only prevents dust from building up on the instrument but also protects it from damage. Keep your guitar in a cool, dry place to avoid humidity damage.

That being said, if you play often, you’ll want to clean your guitar after every session, and do a deep clean of it at least twice a year.

How To Clean An Acoustic Guitar With Household Items

If you’re not a professional with plenty of money for specialized supplies, you might find yourself searching “how to clean guitar at home” or “how to clean acoustic guitar with household items.” Luckily, there are lots of suggestions and guides available for doing just that; cleaning your instrument doesn’t have to be expensive.

The simplest material you can find in your home to use is a clean cloth. This might be a microfiber cloth you would use to shine a car, a glasses cleaning cloth, an old t-shirt, or simply a soft washcloth. As long as it’s lint-free, so as not to leave little threads all over the guitar, you can use it.

If your guitar is particularly messy or you just want to do an especially deep clean, you can use a mild detergent to clean it. This will get the more stubborn grease and oil off of the surface.

While ideally, you’ll want to use a specialized guitar cleaner, you can also use an extremely diluted solution of regular dish or hand soap and water.

Spray this on your cleaning cloth, and buff off any excess immediately with a clean, dry cloth. Makes sure that none of the cleaner gets inside the body of the guitar.

Can You Clean An Acoustic Guitar With Water?

While it’s advisable to use a damp cloth to wipe down your instrument, can you clean an acoustic guitar with water?

To put it shortly, no, you should never use excessive amounts of water to clean your acoustic guitar for much the same reason that you should never leave it out in high humidity. Water exposure can warp or otherwise damage the wood, hindering the sound and structure of your instrument over time.

When using water to clean your guitar, do so sparingly. Wet only the cloth, and buff the guitar with a dry cloth immediately after wiping it down. This lets you thoroughly clean the instrument without damaging it.

If you really want a deep clean on your instrument, it might be best to invest in professional guitar maintenance products.

Conclusion – How To Clean An Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitars are gorgeous, classical instruments that are great fun to play. Thankfully, they’re also relatively easy to maintain. As long as they’re kept well and cleaned properly after each use – with the occasional deep clean for good measure – these instruments will last a lifetime.

Thank you for reading our article on how to clean an acoustic guitar!


About The Author