The Cook Trio

How to clean acoustic guitar?

Its time to learn how to clean your acoustic guitar in the proper way.

Cleaning an acoustic guitar can keep it looking gorgeous and new. Cleaning the acoustic guitar is a crucial component of your regimen for basic guitar upkeep. The body, fingerboard, and even you should clean the strings as part of this practice.

 You sweat and have greasy skin. Although unpleasant to discuss, these bodily fluids can damage the guitar’s body, frets, fingerboard, and strings. So, regardless of whether the guitar is a handcrafted masterpiece or a basic pick-up-and-play piece, it will undoubtedly benefit from this most important upkeep. 

 Sure, you could wash your guitar down with a cloth anytime it appears dusty, but the content of this article will show you how to execute a full thorough cleaning that will make the guitar sparkle. The steps for deep cleaning your guitar are outlined here, along with an array of items you can (and most definitely shouldn’t) use. 

Gather resources to clean acoustic guitar

How To Clean Rosewood Fretboard

Preparing properly before doing any guitar care, including cleaning an acoustic guitar, is crucial. This step might seem straightforward. A few items are required to clean your guitar properly. Gather all of your cleaning equipment and tools first. 

 A toothbrush, lemon oil, Q-Tips, bowl of water, fretboard conditioner, guitar polish, a spritzer bottle with some detergent, something spiky (like needle-nose pliers or a pen), and, if the guitar has a shiny appearance, a buff cloth are all necessary. You can also use some old shirts or even purchase cloth made specifically for this purpose. 

A soft cloth is an ideal material to clean and polish guitars. Many producers of accessories for musical instruments offer specialized polishing cloths designed especially for use on guitars. But an old, 100 percent cotton T-shirt also works well for wiping down a guitar, and the more times it has been washed, the lint-freezer it will be. You should avoid paper towels since they can damage a nice guitar’s finish, particularly if it’s lacquer or French polish. 

 Clear a workspace or surface that will accommodate your instrument and all your tools and accessories. It’s advisable to place something stable behind the guitar’s neck. Under no circumstances should you lay your entire weight on a musical instrument; however, if you must perform any intense cleaning, there will surely be some strain on your neck; an old cushion should be acceptable. 

Finally, confirm that you have enough time to complete the task in one sitting. You can obtain an uneven surface by applying polish to certain areas of the instrument, letting it dry, and then waiting a while before reapplying. 

Restringing your Guitar

Restringing your Guitar

Okay, so you want to clean your acoustic guitar, correct? If the guitar is unclean, you probably require new strings anyhow. You ought to perform a thorough cleaning every time you rest the guitar. Your guitar will last longer if you wash and polish it and improve its appearance. 

 All strings should be purposefully and slowly loosened, one small turn of the keys for every string at a time. In this manner, only several strings on the guitar won’t be under too much tension. Ensure to coil the used strings and put them in case your new strings arrive because they provide a safety risk to you and anyone around you. You can safely throw away the threads in this manner without worrying about hurting someone. 

 After removing the strings, inspect the guitar carefully to identify any problem areas that need to be cleaned or repaired. Checking the tuning keys for buildup or rusting is always a great idea, as they are frequently disregarded. Check your frets for any corrosion indications, typically a blueish-green tint. 

 Check the hole for any dust or dirt that could serve as a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Examine the pegs and ivories that will be used to secure the metal coils of the string.  

 Check for any splits, dents, or other potential replacements and decide whether you can do it yourself or whether it has to be sent it in for expert repair. You can tell how well your guitar plays by looking at this summary. Let’s continue cleaning if everything appears to be in order. 

Guitar cleaning

It’s really simple and straightforward to clean a guitar. How thoroughly you want the guitar cleaned is completely up to you. You generally don’t have to worry too much if it has consistently been cleaned after each game. 

 However, if you practice your guitar like you’re on a stallion and put it away dripping with sweat and gasping for air. More than a quick wipe-off is probably necessary. Use microfiber cloths to remove fingerprints and small child smudges during daily cleanings. You can use it to clean your instrument and remove accumulated dirt and dust. 

 You’ll likely need more “oomph” in your cleansing if the guitar has seen a lot. You can use a soft cloth bathed in warm water with mild detergents, such as an old t-shirt. Before you wipe, make sure to ring out the towel. It will remove any oily buildup and give you a fresh start. To keep your guitar’s wood, finish, and metal parts in good condition, wipe down excess moisture as soon as possible. 

 Some areas of your guitar might not even be completely clean after cleaning, especially the back and top. A little wetness may help remove grime, smudges, and fingerprints. Like you would if you were ready to wipe the inside of the car’s windshield, “huff” little warm breath on the glass. You might be able to clean the troublesome spot with just that tiny bit of moisture from condensation. 

Cleaning the Fretboard

Cleaning the Fretboard ​

Wrap the soft cloth around the point of your “pointy item” (such as a pen or a pair of open needle-nose pliers). Scrape the new tool over each fret by starting from the bottom of the headstock and working your way up. Using this sharp edge coated in cotton, you may clean each fret’s edge of tenacious filth. 

 The fretboard and bridge will likely be made of Ebony or Rosewood, particularly when working with acoustic guitars. Take a soft towel and some lemon oil with you. Give your cloth a few drops of oil. Next, start circling your fretboard while lubricating it. Start close to the headstock and descend from there.  

 You should perform this at least a few times a year. If that’s the case, the wood won’t be sealed, meaning that a protective finish won’t be applied, and thus dirt, sweat, and filth can accumulate and cause damage. 

 Because of export limits, rosewood is less widespread than it previously was; however, numerous substitutes, such as composite or engineered materials, profit from the same cleaning methods as rosewood. Instead, if the fretboard of your instrument is made of maple (unusual for acoustic guitars), it’ll be sealed and less prone to drying. Nevertheless, it’ll still profit from a wipe-down to increase playability. 

 At least two times a year, you should give your instrument a special deep cleaning. 

Oil your bridge

You might want to use some soap if your instrument is grimy. Grab a sprayer filled with water and mild detergent. After that, wet your cleaning cloth. Since the goal is to use as little water as possible, avoid spraying the guitar directly. To clean up any dust from the instrument, use this wet towel. 

 To avoid putting moisture into minor cracks in the finish, the goal is to use less moisture as possible. To erase any stains, buff with a dry cloth after wiping with a damp one. There are a ton of industrial guitar cleaners and polishes available, and they generally fall into one of three categories: water-based cleaners, creamy water-based cleansers with extremely fine abrasives, or oils.  

 The best way to remove water-soluble filth is to use water-based cleansers, which appear semitransparent in the container, and you should spray on the washcloth instead of the instrument. 

 If your guitar has a matte finish, you should avoid creamy polishes because they may be slightly abrasive ( a lot of polishing can lead to the semigloss finish becoming shiny in patches). Oils will clean greasy smudges, but they might not impact water-soluble grime. 

Cleaning the Neck and Body

You could do this to keep your guitar from getting dirty each time you play. Of course, how tidy you want to keep your instrument is all up to you.  

Regular Cleaning 

 If you frequently clean the guitar, such as by providing it a fast wipe down after each playing session, all you require is a dry cloth-ideally one made entirely of cotton. An old t-shirt will do just fine, especially if it is 100 % cotton. Avoid using the printed portions of the t-shirt to wash; sometimes, this can damage the finish. 

Thorough Clean 

 You might need to offer a little more cleaning if you don’t frequently clean the back, top, neck, and sides. Or, even if you frequently clean it, it will sometimes want more cleaning, and the area between the bridge and soundhole can require special attention. 

 If so, you could use fresh water and a gentle soap solution. Don’t apply it directly to your guitar; always use a cloth or rag instead. Also, make sure your cloth is moist but not soaked. To ensure there’s no additional moisture, dry down the back, top, sides, and neck one more using a dry towel or a dry portion of the one you are using. 

Polish The Guitar

You may polish the guitar once you’ve cleaned off most of the mud and muck from the body. Remember that using any polishing chemical will impact the finish and could soften with time as the substance is soaked into your finish. 

 Remove any extra polish with a fresh cloth by cleaning the surfaces using tight circular motions. Examine the material once more for evidence of grime and dirt transfer. 

 While the strings are off 

 It’s a good idea to wash the headstock and adjust the capstan nuts as your guitar’s strings are now off (the machine head’s parts that hold the strings). 

 While you can still do this with the strings on, it’s a great habit to get into such that you recall doing that when you perform a clean. You may also tighten your screws in the tuning pegs if they are loose. 

 Finish using a “buff cloth.” 

 Give your instrument one last wipe down with a soft cloth to remove any remaining oil if it has a matte surface. However, it would help if you used a buff cloth after the guitar has a shiny finish. You may polish the guitar to a stunning shine by wiping it with your buff towel in a circular pattern. Apply this to the sides, front, and back. 

 Check your surface for cracks. Examine your guitar’s finish as you clean it to look for flaws. If you notice any cracks, take your instrument to a repairer as quickly as possible. By doing this, a little ding won’t develop into an unattractive spider pattern.  

Return your instrument to its case!

Return your instrument to its case

It would help if you understood that hanging guitars or placing them on a rack in the corner of a room might appear cool, but doing so will cause them to become much more rapidly dirty and dusty. There is a greater risk of a passing dog, child, or intoxicated friend shattering them into small pieces. Nobody wants that, either. 

Conclusion how to clean acoustic guitar

A tidy guitar feels and looks better than a filthy, unkempt one. If you want your guitar to last and avoid replacing its components in a few decades, it is essential to keep it spotless. Keep in mind that if you take care of your instrument, it will take care of you. 

You get all the knowledge now on how to clean your acoustic guitar!

Simon Mattav

I am the owner of The Cook Trio, a three-piece band that has been performing in the Chicago area for over 10 years. I have a passion for music – everything from guitar to songs. I graduated from the music University of Chicago! My passion is writing songs about my life experiences, feelings and emotions through different genres. My inspirations are some of today’s popular songwriters such as Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez among others.

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