What Is the Best Way to Clean an Acoustic Guitar?

image from media.guitarcenter.comIf you want to get the best performance from your guitar, it is important to maintain your instrument. The best way you can boost the appearance of your guitar is through cleaning. Are you wondering the best way to clean your acoustic guitar? Find more details here:

An acoustic guitar is one that produces sound by resonating the string's sound waves through its body. Owning one is a satisfaction of its own kind. Owning a well-polished one sets the ownership a bar higher.

Dirt from the environment, as well as oil from your hands, accumulate and line parts of your guitar. Keeping a guitar in a suitable, well-polished condition gives it a longer lifespan and it, in turn, tunes to chords as needed. Learn more how to clean guitar on this post.

Invest in the needed items and time to clean it.

image from www.ellaways.com.auMajor Areas to look out for

  • Tuners
  • Nut
  • Frets
  • Strings
  • Fretboard
  • Bridge
  • Bridge pins
  • Body

Materials Needed

  • Needle-nose pliers/Pointy item
  • Lemon oil
  • Spritz bottle (water and detergent)
  • Soft cloths
  • Guitar polish
  • Compressed air spray
  • Cotton swabs
  • Toothbrush with soft bristles
  • You are set with all the above, let's dive right in!

1. Unstring Your Guitar

Use a backward turning motion on the tuners to loosen the strings and remove the pins from the bridges. Alternatively, you can use a string-winding tool to pop-out the string edge and guide them out the pin.

Once you have pulled out the strings, set them aside for cleaning if you are to re-use them.

Carefully dispose of them in case it's time for your guitar to possess new strings.

2. Dusting

You can easily purchase a compressed air can at a walk in the store or at an office supply store.

Blowing helps you get rid of loose dust particles on the surface of the fretboard, guitar body, and strings.

You can use the soft cloth to dust the body and neck of the guitar using gentle circular motions.

Using some pressure around the bridge, pickguard and headstock neck joint, remove any creases present.

To the turning keys, wipe them with a cloth gently

This step eases the hustle we have to undertake in the whole cleaning process.

3. Deep Cleansing

  • Frets

Wrap a soft cloth around the tip of the needle-nose pliers and scrape each fret from the base of the headstock downwards. A toothbrush with soft bristles may come in handy for cleaning the dirt out of the fret grooves.

  • Fretboard, Bridge, and Saddle Conditioning

A guitar's fretboard is prone to grime build up hence making it hard to play over time.

Add a few drops of lemon oil to the second soft cloth, work your way downwards from the headstock in circular motions.

Remove the saddle and nuts, use a toothbrush to give the bridge and soundboard a good scrub.

Oil the bridge with lemon oil in circular motions allowing the wood time to absorb the oil, wiping off excess oil if any.

The cotton swabs now come to play in cleaning the inside of the saddle slots and string holes. Finish by wiping up with the soft cloth and Bingo!

4. Detergent Time!

Sweat smudges, grease, grime and dirt spots are our major concern at this point. It is about time we part ways with them for a while longer.

If your asset is still dirt –stricken, spray a little detergent solution onto a cloth from your spritz bottle

Caution: Do not spray the guitar directly.

  • Polishing

There are essentially three types of polishes in the market; water-based cleaners, oils and creamy cleaners with fine abrasives.

Use the soft cloth that is lint-free and silicone-free polish which is suitable for wooden and lacquer finish like most acoustic guitars have. Altering the resonance of your guitar is the last thing one would want.

Murphy's oil soap might be diluted in water to serve as polish.

Test the polish you are to use in a small hidden area to determine whether it is abrasive to your guitar.

  • Buffing

Buff an acoustic guitar that comes with a shiny finish to give it a sparkling shine. Use a dry soft cloth in circular motions to absorb any excess oil at the front, back, and sides of your guitar.

5. Final Touch

Clean the inside dust and cobwebs from the inside of the guitar body with the dry cloth. It is hard to stick your hand in after you put the strings back to edge out the collected dirt

Floss the area where the strings sit on the nut using dental floss to kick out the dust from the groove.

5. Restringing

Insert a string's ball end into the correct bridge hole and place the pin in its hole ensuring the pin faces the sound hole of the guitar so it doesn't loosen up with consecutive usage. Pulling the string with one hand, push the pin with the other till it snaps right into its place.

Now, thread the other end you were pulling in the bridge's direction onto its slot on the tuning post.

Twisting the tuning key, wind all your six strings to ensure no overlapping occurs.

Tune your guitar with your ear (If you are talented with notes) or an electric tuner

Well done! It is now as clean as new.

Wondering how to store and maintain the majestic gadget after such a hustle?

  • Store it in a solid case, free from potentially dangerous elements and damage.
  • Use strap locks to keep the guitar in its trap.
  • Put your guitar in a room that has consistent humidity and temperature to prevent it from cracking.
  • Always wipe it with a soft cloth after playing it.


A dull and dry fretboard guarantees broken strings due to warping as it stretches and expands.

Wash or sanitize your hands before playing the guitar to prevent grease, grime, and dirt from getting onto your strings. Keep a soft cloth in your guitar case to wipe your guitar down with after playing with it.

When not in use, you can store it away in its case. Give your acoustic guitar tender love and care for it to maintain its luster, will you?

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