How To Clean An Electric Guitar

How Much Does It Cost To Restring A Guitar
July 14, 2019
How To Lower The Action On A Guitar
July 14, 2019

How to clean an electric guitar

Electric guitars get dirty with time and need to be properly cleaned. Dust, hand sweat, dirt, and bacteria often feel very lucky to have your electric guitar as their home. This is why you need to know how to clean your guitar.

Knowing how to clean an electric guitar is one of the best qualities a player can have. This is true because having the guitar stay dirty for too long can alter its performance. If dirt really stays in and on your guitar for way too long it is very likely to damage it too. Also, a dirty electric guitar can be a threat for your health and it doesn’t look good.

So, what are the must knows of cleaning an electric guitar? Well, electric guitars have a lot of parts that need to be cleaned. Some of those parts are made of wood, some are plastic, and some are made of metal. Guitar players might want to choose different cleaning substances for each of the parts. Even though this seems like a reasonable option, many of them will only use water to clean the guitar.  I will elaborate on these two ways of cleaning the guitar.



How to clean an electric guitar with water

To clean your electric guitar by this method you will first need to loosen the strings and take them off. Once you’ve finished taking off the strings you can start to snug up all the elements on the headstock. You can do this by using a screwdriver or some pliers.

When you’re done with tightening up the elements on the pegs you can start to wipe your guitar.  For this you will need some water and a clean microfiber towel. If don’t happen to have a microfiber towel you can get just whatever clean and soft material you have around the house.

Remember not to use any sharp or rasp cleaning towels for you might unintentionally damage your guitar. After you have taken the microfiber towel, you can now put some water on it and start cleaning the neck and the peghead. Scrub the frets and the  back of the neck, all the elements on the peghead, and the peghead itself.

Do this with gentle motions and be careful not to damp your guitar in water. Use only a small amount of water to clean the instrument. Proceed with wiping the rest of the body of the guitar.

You can also use some contact cleaner on the pots and switches on the guitar’s body. The contact cleaner will break down foreign matter in these parts of the guitar and get them clean.

Now that you’ve cleaned most of your electric guitar you should also try cleaning the frets. This time I’m referring to the metal strips on your electric guitar’s fretboard. You can clean the strips by putting some tape on the fretboard on both of their sides. This is done to protect the neck from being scratched with the steel wool that you’ll have to use for cleaning the frets.

Suggested Read: Learn Electric Guitar

Once you’ve scrubbed all the frets you’ve officially cleaned your guitar. You could wipe it once more with a dry towel this time and you’re done. All you have to do now is reattach its strings back to their location and you’re good to play.

How to clean an electric guitar with other methods

If you are a fan of using some other methods to clean your electric guitar this is the section for you. You can start by cleaning your guitar’s strings first. Since you get to play the strings with your fingers there might me some hand oils covering them. With time the oils turn to dirt. This dirt, together with other dirt you probably have on your hands, makes your string dirty.

The dirt can also damage the string by corroding them. In that case you might need to restring your electric guitar. To prevent this, use chamois to clean your strings by rubbing it of the string up and down.

Once you’ve finished with cleaning the strings you could start cleaning the frets, the fingerboard, and the body. You can use a guitar cleaning solution for cleaning these guitar parts. However, some people might be satisfied with using a dust and polish to clean them.

The next step would be to clean the electric guitar’s hardware. You can do this by using some good-quality paintbrush or something alike it to reach the tiny hard-to-reach areas. Also, you could try using small amounts of some chrome or jewelry polish. Be careful with the polish, however, because it might damage the guitar’s metal coating.

You can also decide to skip the cleaning of the hardware elements on the guitar. Cleaning them is not as necessary as cleaning some other parts. It sure does make the guitar look more attractive and maintained, though.

If you’re going to clean your electric guitar’s pickups make sure to use a paintbrush or a dust. Don’t get them wet for they might get damaged.

Aside from removing the dirt and dust this cleaning method removes the microorganisms from your guitar too. If you’re interested in getting your guitar cleaned in this way you could also consider buying a guitar cleaning kit.

Cleaning kits are known to be very efficient. They are consisted of products made for cleaning and conditioning the frets, neck, and the body and removing the dirt from the strings. Since they’re manufactured specifically for cleaning electric guitars they are unlikely to damage your guitar. This can sometimes be the case with using polish and other cleaning liquids to clean it.


Cleaning your guitar is both easy and necessary. You should never let your electric guitar get dirty to the point where dirt might cause damage to its parts. Use preventive measurements to maintain your guitar clean and functional. When cleaning it chose the cleaning method you prefer and be cautious of not damaging the guitar parts.

Hi, I'm Red, the Chief Editor of Red Diamond Audio.