Properly cleaning and conditioning your guitar is crucial to maintaining its longevity and appearance. It’s important to note that a guitar loses its value without proper care and maintenance and becomes unplayable. Cleaning your guitar is fairly simple, provided that you do it regularly. Keeping your instrument in the finest condition will save you money on repairs. Read on to discover some of the safest ways to clean and polish your guitar.
How Dirt Builds Up On Your Guitar
As you play, sweat, dead skin cells, and dirt build up on the fretboard and accumulate around the frets. Not only does this look dirty, but the acids, salts, and moisture in sweat lead to the deterioration of wood around the frets. As a result, dry rotting in the fretboard can cause the frets to loosen up, which requires costly repairs. These corrosive materials also damage the potentiometers and switches.Once you remove the old frets, you will likely find gunk on the tangs and green corrosion all over the fret wire. Your guitar might as well have cracked if not conditioned regularly. When sweat evaporates, it dries out the fretboard and causes it to crack.
Preparing Your Guitar for Cleaning
Though you can clean your guitar without removing its strings, a thorough clean may make this necessary. For easier cleaning, you can schedule a guitar cleanup when changing its strings.To begin with, wash your hands and set up an area to place your guitar. Clean it in a well-lit place to spot all imperfections that require the most attention. You can also set it up on a table, workbench, or even your lap.
Cleaning the Guitar Fretboard
The most important part of guitar cleaning is to clean the fretboard frequently. That’s because the fretboard is the most vulnerable to wear and excessive buildup of dust and sweat. As the sweat dries, it dehydrates the wood causing cracks or forming everlasting marks. Learn ways to clean different fretboard materials found in most guitars.
•Rosewood, Ebony and Pau Ferro Fretboards
Though there are several products to clean rosewood and ebony fretboards, steel wool might be essential to use if a lot of gunk has built up. However, use only 0000 steel wool because it has fine steel fibers best suitable for removing any unwanted dirt without damaging the frets. The steel wool will also polish them to a great extent.You can then condition the fretboard so that it can rehydrate the wood and deeply cleanse it. Use lemon oil and apply with a damp cloth or toothbrush.
Since maple fretboards have a lighter wood tone, they’re more susceptible to showing dirt and marks. Moreover, conditioning products can’t be used on maple, so you must use ultra-fine steel wool. You can also use a damp cloth, especially on satin-finishes maple.
Cleaning the Guitar Body
Regardless of how carefully you use the guitar, marks and grease will likely build up over time. Though the body is easier to clean than the fretboard, you must also consider the finish of your guitar’s body. So, before you go ahead to clean it, determine what type of finish it has.Gloss and poly-finished guitars give a glossy look to your instrument, which makes it easier to clean them. You can use a variety of waxes and polishers that don’t leave the wood absorbent or porous.On the other hand, the matte guitar finish should always be cleaned gently with a dry cloth. Cleaning solutions and polish will only wear down the matte finish and reveal shiny spots over time.
Cleaning Guitar Hardware
You must be extra careful when it comes to cleaning the guitar hardware. Since metals are prone to corrosion, the salts and sweat cause corrosion over time. The frets, pickup, and bridge are the parts that are most susceptible to corrosion.Use a soft cloth and a small amount of guitar polish to clean the hardware. The polish will help remove the dirt, while the soft fibers will bring the shine back. Make sure that you leave no polish residue on the hardware, as this could cause the metal to rust.
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