How to Clean an Electric Guitar

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth or old sock
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Oil-cutting solvent
  • Screwdriver
  • Naphtha (mineral oil)
  • Guitar polish

How to Clean an Electric Guitar. Even if there is no visible dirt or dust, regular cleaning and maintenance of your electric guitar will help it look and sound better. The more you play your guitar, the more you'll need to clean it and check it for possible problems such as worn strings or dust inside the bridge. Here's how to clean an electric guitar.

Test the strings on your electric guitar. If you can't remember the last time you changed them, buy a pack from your local music shop and replace all of them. It's vital to maintain good tone and pitch on your instrument. Remove them by unwinding them from the neck or snapping them with pliers.

Check the fretboard. The sweat and oil from your hands after weeks of play sullies the wood and dulls the guitar's sound. Grimy fret boards require a bit of sanding with cardboard or a mineral oil called Naphtha, which you can buy at your local home supply store. After you eliminate the buildup, use a cleaning solution and polish designed specifically for the guitar.

Examine the pickups. If they look rusty, unscrew your guitar's faceplate by using an Allen wrench or small screwdriver. Then remove the pickups, being careful not to disturb the wiring inside the guitar. Clean the rust with any common rust dissolving agent, then screw the pickups back in place and polish them.

Look at the guitar nut. It's located at the top of the fretboard. Take the string out and lubricate the groove with soap or a professional solution, then dry and replace the string. This will keep the string in tune.

Clean the electric guitar body. Over time, grease and oil from your hands will build up on the guitar. Wipe it with a cloth or even an old sock, breathing on it first to fog up the area. If there's a lot of grease on the body, use a gentle oil-cutting solvent, then finish off with a professional guitar polish.

Wipe off the bridge with a damp cloth. If it needs more than a perfunctory cleaning, use a small toothbrush or pipe cleaner to remove embedded dirt. Remove the strings and then remove the bridge plate if you need to clean inside.

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