How to Clean an Electric Guitar

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How to Clean an Electric Guitar

To keep an electric guitar in top working condition, it will need to be kept clean. Cleaning a guitar isn’t just a matter of wiping the strings down after playing, though players should wipe the strings as frequently as possible. Every once in a while – the frequency depends on how often the guitar is played and how harsh the conditions – guitar owners should do a thorough job of cleaning their electric guitar. This will help them get the best out of the instrument and postpone more serious repairs. Plus, if a musician prefers a shiny bauble, this is the only way to ensure that this axe will gleam in the stage lights.


Parts of the Electric Guitar to Be Cleaned Regularly


Lots of rock, punk, and blues guitarists prefer a grimy neck to showcase how devoted they are to their craft. But beer spills and finger grease can adversely affect playability if the wrong kind of gunk piles up. Every player ultimately decides how much inverse vanity they can handle. Have a look at some favourite players’ guitar necks and figure out how much black soot should be left intact.


The easiest to clean, the body usually gets lots of attention because of the way it can show fingerprints on dark glossy paint. Almost nobody likes a smudgy guitar, but the guitar might have been covered in stickers, rendering this point moot. Or maybe the guitar is grey.


Keeping dust and grime out of the area around the pickups is a very important part of electric guitar maintenance. Single-coil pickups are the most stubborn offenders in the grime sweepstakes, but Humbuckers and lipstick tube pickups also attract the wrong kind of dirty attention.

Input Jack

Often the first part of a guitar’s electronics to give grief is the input jack. Keeping the jack clean and well-maintained can prevent ever hearing the least desirable sound an electric guitar can make, the intermittent buzz of death.


How to Clean an Electric Guitar

Acquire Cleaning Supplies

Not many tools are needed to keep a guitar clean, but a good soft felt cloth and guitar polish are a great place to start. A small Phillips head screwdriver will likely be needed to remove the pickguard or electronics panels.

Remove Strings

To do a deep clean on the guitar, the strings will have to be changed. Alternatively, string change time is the perfect moment to clean the whole instrument. Either way, the strings are coming off if this is going to be a proper job. Take them off and wind them up so that pets or others don’t get poked when they are thrown out.

Remove Pickguard, Electronics Panel, and Jack Cover

Grab the screwdriver and remove the pickguard, if the guitar is one that features a guard that’s easily removable, such as a Jaguar. These types of pickguards trap skin particles and nasty gunk like nothing else. Make sure to remove the panel cover and jack carefully so that no soldered connections are broken.

Clean Neck, Body, and Electronics

Once the strings and panels are gone, start scrubbing. Make sure the frets are free of unnecessary buildup or stickiness, and that the body is free of fingerprints. Get any dust out of the jack area and instrument panel.

Dry and Polish Surfaces

Once the guitar is washed and scrubbed, apply a different cloth and clear away any of the cleaning solution or soap that you’ve used. Apply polish if it’s time to go the extra mile with this cleaning regimen.

Replace Parts

Put the panel, jack cover, and pickguard back on. Try to avoid smudging it too much, or at least try to watch for fingerprints and wipe them off when finished.

Restring and Wail

Restring the guitar. Again, try to avoid too many fingerprints or be sure to wipe them off afterwards. Now it’s ready for the spotlight, or at least ready for the basement jam planned with pals from work.


How to Buy Electric Guitar Cleaning Supplies on eBay

Felt cloths, mild dish detergent, Phillips head screwdrivers, and paper towels can all be found on eBay. For a professional clean or if you want to go the extra mile, special guitar polish is easy to find, and guitar polish cloths can be procured, too. Use eBay’s handy customizable search features to pinpoint the requirements and start shopping.

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