How to clean an acoustic guitar?

father and son guitar

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A guitar is a beautiful instrument, both literally and figuratively. While it takes the touch of an artist to make music with this stringed wonder, it also takes tender care and attention to keep your guitar in top condition for years to come. This includes keeping the wood clean. When dust accumulates on your acoustic guitar, tiny particles can get into the strings, causing them to wear out prematurely or even break. Thankfully, cleaning an acoustic guitar is easy as long as you use the proper methods and products.

Follow these steps to clean your beloved instrument:

• Grab your soft-bristled brush and gently remove any loose debris from your fretboard (the side where you place your fingers). You can also vacuum around the frets to make sure you get all the dust.

• Next, grab your guitar cleaning solution or an all-purpose household cleaner. Baking soda diluted with water also works well for removing stains without harming the finish.

Apply a small amount of this solution to your damp microfiber cloth and wipe down the entire body of your acoustic guitar, including its sides and back. If there are any smudges on top, gently rub them away with a soft rag or toothbrush.

Pay close attention to the neck, gradually working from headstock toward the body until you reach the edge of the fretboard. It’s best not to apply too much pressure when cleaning so you don’t scratch your guitar’s wood

• Once finished cleaning your acoustic guitar with your solution, take your cloth and wipe the entire thing dry.

To protect your instrument from future dust accumulation, gently rub a thin coat of guitar polish on its wood to moisturize it. If there’s no polish handy, olive oil will do just as well. Just make sure to wipe off any excess oil after you’re done or it can damage the finish.

Finally, go over all other areas that need polishing with a soft flannel cloth and some guitar polish to keep them shiny and spotless.

It is very important not to soak your acoustic guitar in water as this could lead to warping. Water also causes stains on the wooden body covering if left unattended for too long. Make sure you dry out any moisture on your guitar after you’ve cleaned it. You can do this by softly patting it dry with a microfiber cloth and letting the body sit in sunlight for an hour or so.

Guitar cleaners and polishes

To keep your guitar in top condition, regular cleaning is a must. You can use gentle cleansers designed specifically for guitars to do this. Look for products that clean without damaging the wood finish or leaving any residue behind. Be very careful when using household cleaners on your acoustic guitar as some of them may contain chemicals that can strip away its lacquer or polish.

Using baking soda diluted with water or a damp cloth also works well in removing stains without harming the finish.

While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to spruce up its appearance by giving it a fresh coat of wax before putting it back in its case after every use. This will keep dust from accumulating again and give it that just-polished glow.

Here are some of the best guitar cleaners on the market:

Dunlop Guitar Polish Cloth

This soft flannel cloth features a specially embroidered edging to remove dirt and dust while protecting it from scratches. Gentle cleaners in the cloth also remove smudges without harming or leaving residue behind.

Can I clean my acoustic guitar with water?

As mentioned earlier, it is not a good idea to use any kind of water on your acoustic guitar. This can lead to warping and rings in the wood that will be visible when you apply polish. It’s best to steer clear from using anything wet on your instrument.

How do I clean my acoustic guitar strings?

When dust accumulates, microscopic particles get into your guitar strings, affecting their sound quality and causing premature wear and breakage. Wiping down the strings with a damp cloth is an easy way to keep them fresh for longer without having to take them off. Just don’t soak it in water or you’ll risk damaging the finish of your guitar body.

Jim Henneberry

Jim Henneberry

I love playing my guitar, and my kids got hooked along with me.
This is a family thing now - why don't you join the family fun? :)