Cleaning and polishing your acoustic guitar will not only make it look good but also add years to the life of your instrument. So it’s important to keep it clean and smooth. Here are five tips to clean and polish your guitar.
1. Wipe down the strings
Grime on the strings can make your strings wear out faster than normal, so keeping them clean and smooth is extremely important. After each play, you should wipe down the strings to remove the oil left by your fingers and help keep them sounding fresh. With a microfiber cloth or a cotton diaper, you give the strings a general wipe down and then pinch each string between your thumb and index finger, with the cloth in between. Next, you run your hand up and down the string length.
2. Clean the fretboard
The fingerboard, a part that never gets the attention, only needs cleaning once or twice a year. To wipe it, you can use a microfiber cloth that you have wrung out as much as you possibly can. Then you work the cloth down the fretboard, making sure to use different portions of the cloth so that you’re not just transferring dirt from one fret to another. You can remove each string that you that hovers over the part of the fretboard instead of trying to work the cloth under the strings. However, you should remember not to remove all of the strings at once because if you remove all the tension from the guitar's neck, it may bend out of shape.
3. Clean the hardware (the bridge, tuning keys, pickups)
Rubbing with a damp cloth is all you really need to do for your guitar’s hardware. However, you can also use a mild jewelry or chrome polish if you want. Polish not only brings the hardware to a luster but also removes really greasy residue. For the bridge, you can use a pipe cleaner or small toothbrush for significant grime. For your tuning keys, you can tidy them by spraying a dry cloth with glass cleaner and polishing each of the tuning keys to get them gleaming. If your pickups look rusty, you should clean the rust with a rust-dissolving agent. Don’t ever touch the pickups of an electric guitar with anything other than a dry cloth or your dusting brush.
4. Clean the body
You should polish down your guitar's body regularly. When you've blown off the majority of the dust, you gently rub the guitar until it’s dust-free. You can use any clear non-abrasive guitar cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth to remove the dust and any smudges left on your guitar by your arms and hands.
5. Polish the guitar
An acoustic guitar is mostly wood, so don’t use furniture polish or household products on your instrument. After you’ve done your cleaning, you can use a polish to restore and preserve the wood and natural shine of your guitar. Remember to clean not only the top and back of your guitar, but also its neck as well as make sure to squirt your polish onto a rag, not onto the surface of the guitar.