Look after your guitar with great care; it’ll give you back the best tone! Indeed. Dust, dirt, sweat, smoke, skin oil, and other gunk can damage your guitar’s hardware and finish.
Notably, the electric guitars, where some parts are made of wood, others are plastic and metal. One of the reliable ways to care for the guitar is to keep it clean. The regular maintenance can boost the life expectancy and playability of your electric guitar.
For that reason, you should know how to clean an electric guitar.
Undoubtedly, a dirty guitar ruins the guitar’s performance and a threat to your health as well. You’ll certainly agree that most guitarists think their guitar as a valuable asset. They can go to any extent to assure the cleanliness of their guitar.
Even most people don’t hesitate to spend hundreds of dollars on this. But, when you can do the same thing at home without spending a penny, why to pay extra!
How to Clean an Electric Guitar?
The electric guitar includes a lot of parts and in-built electronics. This is why electric guitar grabs more dust, and annoying odors stick to it. The surroundings, sweat, and smoke are the culprits here.
If you do not clean it immediately, it can cause some severe damage to your guitar. Hence, we have come with an effective and inexpensive way to clean your electric guitar. Follow the steps to make your guitar shine like brand new!
Things you’ll need…
- A clipper
- A microfiber towel or lint-free dry rags
- Fine steel wool
- Painter tape or automotive tape
- Liquid polish
- Some glass cleaner
- Plain tap water
- White Distilled vinegar (Optional)
Step 1: Take Off the Strings
Let’s start from the top part. Take off the strings on your electric guitar. With the string on the guitar, it will become tougher to clean the other parts. Also, it can injure your fingers.
Use a clipper to shear the middle part of the cord. Then, twist each string carefully away from the knobs to loosen the strings. When all the strings are detached completely, throw away the stamped parts.
In the meantime, get a new set of strings to install after cleaning. A bonus tip—Try to clean the guitar thoroughly when you need to change the broken or old strings. Elsewise, a new string set will be damaged each time you clean it.
Step 2: Move on to the Fretboards
Moving on, in this step, you’ll need most of the cleaning tools. Take a microfiber towel or dry rags, glass cleaner, and some water. Dip a small portion of the rag or towel into the water. Wipe the fretboard with the wet part.
Gradually wipe towards the neck and make sure to reach the tightest corners as well. The edges or corners mostly hold the dirt and grime. Before that, you can loosen all the tuning pegs using screwdrivers and pliers. Tighten all the screws once it is done.
Step 3: Take Care of the Switches and Pots
The switches and pots have a high chance to become dirty. It is possible because of the confined structure. Once it becomes dirty, you’ll hear a terrible sound. To clean the switches and pots, spray some glass cleaner over it. All the hidden dirt will go away.
Step 4: Clean and Polish the Body
At this point, take another piece of dry rag and pour a little amount of liquid polish on it. Then, rub it all over the guitar’s body. Make sure you cover the complete area.
Smear it along the sides, back and front as well. Do it until you notice how the guitar is sparkling. If you see so, then great, you are on a safe trip. If it is not sparkling even after long polish, there is another way.
You can try white distilled vinegar. Take it easy; it has a low acidity level. It won’t burn your guitar, instead of fight against risky microorganisms and remove annoying odors.
Step 5: Clean the Hardware
Then, move on to the hardware like the bridge and turning keys. They both support the strings, so it will undoubtedly have a lot of corners. You can use a toothbrush here to reach those tight spaces. Believe in us; you can effectively clean those hard to reach areas.
Anyway, soak a portion of rag into clean water and wipe across the entire area. Once you are done with rubbing, spray some glass cleaner. Or you can spray white distilled vinegar to disinfect it.
Step 6: Inspect the Pickups
Now you need to check the pickups, which is the essential part of an electric guitar. This is what captures the vibrations. If somehow any dirt stuck on it, this will affect the overall sound.
You’ll need a cotton ball to clean the pickup. Gently wipe on the pickups with cotton balls. You can also use damp cloth here.
Step 7: Re-string and Store Properly
When you are done with cleaning and rubbing, your guitar should look like new. Isn’t it? Still, give it a check again if you may have overlooked anything. Is everything perfect? Great.
Now, re-string the guitar with a new set of string. In case you don’t know how to change electric guitar strings, we’ve covered it in another article. Lastly, keep the guitar into its storage bag or container. Put it in a secure place; do not hang it without covering.
How to Keep an Electric Guitar Clean?
Thus far, we’ve discussed the easiest way to clean your electric guitar. Though it is not tough, what if it stays clean for long? Yes, you can keep your electric guitar clean only if you maintain the following things.
- Wash Hands Every time Before Playing the Guitar
Let’s you a regular life hack. Even though it sounds funny, but you should wash your hands before you play the guitar. When you touch the guitar with dirty and oily hand, it leaves grubby fingerprints over the guitar.
Also, the strings lose their proficiency and sound more like rubber bands. That is why it is better to wash and dry hands every time before touching the guitar. Trust us; it’ll save both your effort and time as well.
- Wipe String and Guitar after Playing
Even after keeping your hands clean, the strings and the guitar’s body will get dirty. It is because of the surroundings. You can wipe them with a microfiber towel to be on the safe side.
- Store Your Guitar in Its Case
One of the best ways to have your guitar clean is to store it every time after using it. You can use the hard case or gig bag provided with the guitar. If it is not offered, make sure you buy one.
Now that you know how to clean an electric guitar. We hope our easy to follow guide helps you understand how to care for it as well. As we mentioned earlier, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on the cleanliness.
You can now get professional-like cleaning while being at home. So, give yourself some time and go for it!