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How to Clean Guitar Tuning Pegs

Guitar tuning pegs are found on the headstock of an acoustic guitar, electric guitar or bass guitar. Tuning pegs, often called tuning heads or tuning machines, are made of metal or plastic with a metalized finish. Most tuning pegs enclose the gears within a one-piece body, but some have exposed gears that require extra care. Keep the tuning pegs on guitars clean for easy tuning.

Things You'll Need:

  • Brass Polish
  • Toothpicks
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Soft Cloth

Clean the tuning pegs with a soft dry dust cloth to remove settled dust and dirt as well as any oil from hands. Rub the cloth briskly over the finish for a polished shine.

Remove stubborn dirt with a mild brass polish. Pour a small amount of polish on a corner of the soft cloth and apply to the metal finish. Do not allow the polish to contact any wood on the guitar. Remove the polish by rubbing firmly with a clean section of cloth.

Clean between the grooves of exposed gears. Rub the cloth firmly over the exposed gears and turn the pegs to rotate the gears to clean all sides. Apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly to the gears with toothpicks. Remove excess lubricant with a clean section of cloth.


Tuning pegs with exposed gears should be cleaned and lubricated two to four times a year.

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