A guitar's finish may begin to wear after extended use due to a variety of external factors, such as humidity and dust collection. If you see the finish of your guitar begin to get cloudy, there are several steps you can take to reduce this effect and polish the finish. You should clean your guitar as often as you can, as a clean guitar means a better sounding guitar. For an active player, this means about once a month or more. The process is the same for both acoustic and electric guitar finishes.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Soft cotton cloth or 100% cotton T-shirt
- Mild detergent
Use a cotton cloth or a T-shirt to wipe down your guitar. Ensure that your cloth is free of dirt and linen. If you wish to use a disposable cloth, purchase a non-woven shop towel.
Start with the body of your guitar. Wipe the front and back of the guitar, making sure to clean hard-to-reach surfaces, such as underneath the strings or the bridge. A tool, such as a ruler with a cloth at the end of it, may help reach these spots.
Make your way up the guitar, wiping down the neck. Wipe underneath the strings and on the back of the neck to remove fingerprints. Finish at the end of the neck, cleaning the tuning knobs.
Add water and mild detergent for a deeper clean. Combine water and a detergent in a spray bottle so that there is twice as much water as detergent in the solution. Then spray the cloth, not the guitar, with this liquid. Continue wiping down your guitar, this time focusing on extra-dirty or cloudy spots.
Remove streaks caused by the mild detergent with a dry cloth. Make sure that you dry the whole guitar this way.
Tips and warnings
- Do not use non-cotton cloths or paper towels, these can rub the finish off the guitar.
- If your finish continues to give you trouble, even after a deep clean, take it to a professional.
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