How To Clean An Electric Guitar?

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Is your guitar always dirty? Have you ever thought that your guitar also required cleaning? For most guitarists, all they are concerned about is playing their guitar, getting applauded, and keeping it for another day. Well, I was in this category as I never thought that cleaning my guitar was necessary. It was until a day when I didn’t get the sound I wanted that I realized that I needed to know how to clean an electric guitar.

It seems like a daunting task, but cleaning my guitar became a simple procedure after several trials. Several cruds get stuck to your electric guitar after a while, if you don’t know. It starts building like a spider building its web. Regrettably, if you perform routine cleaning, you can hardly get all the gunk out.

What makes a guitar to become dirty?

I find my guitar getting dirty frequently because of my environment. Since I always have weekend gigs and play for hours, I can get sweaty, depending on the environment. Well, sweat drops can fall on the guitar, which contributes to it getting dirty.

The grease and sweat on the guitar make it look bad. Besides this, I also observe that the lacquer also wears away, causing permanent damage to the fretboard. It can worsen when it gets to the guitar’s electronic component, and once it starts to rust, you are in for a bigger problem.

However, if, unlike me, you practice or play in a cool and well-ventilated environment for at least 2 hours per day, you might not require frequent cleaning. Therefore, cleaning your guitar is based on the conditions and context of usage.

How to clean an electric guitar

There is no one way to clean your electric guitar. I usually use two clean, dry cloths and naphtha. You don’t have to use these items as they can vary, depending on what works best for you. Let me share the steps I use to keep my guitar clean and sound after use.

I take one of the two dry cloths into the naphtha. Remember, any electric guitar cleaner can also do the job. I ensure the cloth soaks a little inside the cleaner before pulling it out. I wipe through the guitar using the water cloth.

When doing this, ensure you pay attention to certain areas, especially the part where the skin comes in contact with your guitar. In addition, I notice it is the spot where sebum normally accumulates. When done, I use the second clean cloth to wipe the entire guitar to remove any residual.

Each guitar is unique with different characteristics. If you want to polish or clean your electric guitar, you have different products at your disposal. I recommend you use several brands. Alternatively, you can ask your friends the particular brand they use for their guitars.

Professional tips on how to clean an electric guitar

Cleaning your guitar regularly with a damp cloth can help prolong its lifespan. In addition, it will help reduce any heavy-duty cleaning. Besides the steps I mentioned, I wipe my guitar before and after use to help prevent sweat, dander, skin, and other fluids from building up on the surface and cervices.

Cleaning an acoustic Guitar – The Best Method possible

I have talked about how to clean an electric guitar, but what if you have an acoustic guitar? How do you clean it? I have seen people use different methods for an acoustic guitar, but I want to tell you that the method isn’t different from the electric guitar cleaning method I explained in this article.

The only thing is that you can find natural or satin-finished acoustics, unlike electric guitars. Modern acoustic guitars have porous finishing that allows the wood to breathe. Overall, you can use a bit of water and a dry cloth to remove any stubborn stains or marks on your guitar. You don’t have to invest in any expensive cleaning agents.


I believe you know how to clean an electric guitar if you read this article. With a cleaning agent and a piece of cloth, you can keep your guitar in shape. Besides that, there are several things you can do to help keep your electric guitar clean after use.

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? :)