How do you clean your guitar?

Hey there. I’ve been playing my old acoustic guitar for almost a year and embarrassingly have not cleaned it a single time. This is because I just don’t know how. I don’t want to risk scratching it or letting it absorb water, so I came to ask everyone. And should I clean the strings? And if you should then with what and how?
What’s your most efficient way to clean your guitar? Thanks :smiley:

It depends on the finish. My older guitars and the satin finish ones, I just use a slightly moist paper towel to clean. Definitely no waxes, solvents or such.

My newest guitar is a gloss finish and the manufacturer said a polish like this one is fine. I would still clean with only a slightly moist paper towel.

For the fretboard I use a “lemon” oil specifically made for fretboards to condition.


Most scratched and damages to the guitars happen while playing/practicing, moisture will not get unless the surface is damaged.

For everyday use, I clean guitar body with Dunlop Platinum 65 Deep Clean, it removes fingerprints, smudges very well and leaves protective layer (gloss finish). Guitar neck I clean with Fender Guitar Polish (any decent polish will do) to not only clean it but also make it as smooth as possible to avoid squeaky sounds when holding it too tight (satin finish). Fretboard, I use Music Nomad, same brand as Tony mentioned above. After applying it is good to let it be for an about one hour, otherwise if you restringing at the same time your hands and most things you touch can get oily.


Don’t let my guitars hear that, they will feel badly neglected… :smile:
I play with clean hands that don’t sweat noticeably…that makes/keeps my guitar clean enough,when changing the strings, a cleaning cloth goes over it and the fretboard. And my PRS gets a tiny bit of oil on the fretboard once every year and a half (or so) (if I think it should be visible and smelled for a few days/weeks again that it has been polished)…
A lot has been written and said about it (also this month) … otherwise throw a search against it here on the site…
Good luck Louis and have fun ,greetings,Rogier

As one of those that doesn’t put much effort into cleaning my guitars I thought I’d chime in early as there are widely varying opinions on this one.

Play with clean hands.
When changing strings, wipe dust off with a microfibre cloth.
Occasionally use finger ease (or similar) if strings & neck feel slow/dusty.
I have also used windex previously and would again.

I’m mainly concerned with the feel of the guitars, not trying to keep them looking brand new.


I’ve been using simple furniture wiping cloths. There are specialised products, but since nothing has happened in the 10+ years that I’ve been using them on acoustic, so why bother with them. And on electric, haven’t cleaned it yet…

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I generally keep my guitar clean, so I don’t have to clean it much.

When I do, I use one of those fine cloths like you use to clean your glasses and either dry or if really needed a little dilute vinegar solution. If there are specific areas of bad smudges, I may even use my eyeglass cleaner, which is about 1/3 isopropyl alcohol, 2/3 water and a drop of dish soap per bottle.

Fretboard conditioner (McKnight’s) added once a year or less.

None of my acoustics are French polish, so they are actually pretty resilient. These types of finishes probably could withstand windex without problems, not that I would do that.

Most electric guitars also have pretty bulletproof finishes.

?? The point from the OP is how do you keep it clean? :joy:

Well Gordon,i don’t want to abuse certain animals :ant: :ant:…but the question is,

"How do you clean your guitar? "

And, for example, washing your hands keeps your guitar clean… or not running through the bushes during a campfire party… spilling beer on your guitar, etc… :joy:

Greetings… :tumbler_glass:

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We could start a list of “things not to do while playing your guitar” in an effort to help people keep their guitars clean.

Don’t eat chocolate
Don’t pick your nose


Just don’t let @stitch see this thread. You’ll really get him started. :joy:

@sairfingers I figure out that you can’t stop people from using polish and oil to clean there guitars so there is no point in trying to educate the unwilling. Most of my guitars are older than the people using these products and in great shape.
I even have one as old or older than you Gordon
So I’m not going to say anything.

Just read this in another post
“I’m 69 by the way.”
So my Gibson is older than you She’s 76 this year


Giving the back of neck a regular polish with any proprietary eg dAddario, Gibson, Music Nomad polish will make playing feel smoother for sure.
fretboard oil for the front of the neck is not the same thing and shouldn’t be used anywhere else…Never use fretboard oil (lemon oil) on the body
Other than that no need to stress :+1:

Good advice.

All guitars need at least a small bit of beer spilt on them. If a guitar hasn’t had beer spilt on it, has it even been properly played?


nooo no beer on my guitar…that will stick…the horror :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Dents, bumps, scratches yes … stick no.

Uhg, now it’s getting unappetizing @jkahn :open_mouth:

And @roger_holland

You shouldn’t bite into your guitar :see_no_evil: (I know, what dents are, but in this context…)

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Does anybody know how to clean or maintain a satin finish? I read you shouldn’t rub, not use polish, no moistened cloth? Currently I have a glossed finish on my acoustic, very easy to wipe off from time to time, but what about a satin finish?

What about drooling onto the guitar then? A no go as well? Unless you are Jimmy Page of course, saw him do that at a concert many many years ago :smiley:

I’m afraid we are all reflected in our guitars :roll_eyes:
My main squeeze is ugly, defaced with self-inflicted scars. Her neck is covered in my chocolate-flavoured buggers.
I don’t mind what she looks like. She doesn’t mind when I force her to say something nasty…
Every now and again, we doll up for an occasion and have a good grooming with a new outfit.
Nothing fancier than a damp kitchen cloth, a drop of lemon oil, maybe a retouching of graffiti and a new set of strings.
Carpe diem :smiley:


What, you don’t like beer? :joy: I guess plenty of people don’t…