How to Clean an Electric Guitar Using Household & Professional Items

Whether you want to make your beloved electric guitar look as new as the day you bought it or give it a deep clean, this guide will help you prevent damage and get the job done the right way.

You can also try using some household items from around your home for a deep clean: damp cloths, rubbing alcohol, furniture polish… If all of these options seem too time-consuming or complicated, though, there are more professional resources available online with step-by-step instructions.

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Guitar Cleaning Importance: 

A clean electric guitar looks and feels better, adds value to your instrument, and comes off as more appealing to potential new players. This means you’ll have more fun playing on it!

The best way to keep your guitar looking good is to take care of it. Regular maintenance will ensure that the parts are in good working order, protect against corrosion, prevent dents, deepen the color of the wood, etc.

How to Clean an Electric Guitar Using Household items:

Clean the outside:

Wash the body with a wet cloth to remove dirt and grime. This will also help remove oxidization and wax, which can impede the guitar’s functions. Detailed instructions for cleaning your electric guitar for beginners: How To Clean an Electric Guitar

Cleaning out receiver and pickups:

Before you re-set each one, clean out any oil or dirt that may have accumulated within the receiver and inside the control cavity (where pickups reside). You can do it by using a cotton swab and alcohol on a cotton ball/Q-tip; warm water; dry cloth; whatever is recommended in your manual.

Cleaning controls:

Most controllers will fit inside your guitar body using either a paperclip or screwdriver for installation; make sure not to make any holes or damage your guitar electrical system.

Remove the pickguard:

If you’re cleaning your guitar right before a gig, you can just remove the guard and let it sit in a plastic bag in a case until you need it.

You can also clean the pickguard in a couple of ways. If you plan on re-installing it, use alcohol to make sure there are no paint chippings left over from re-finishing your guitar body. If the paint is still opaque, use dishwashing soap to help remove any grime from within the grooves. 

Some manufacturers will also include a cleaning cloth inside their packs when you purchase your instrument. This cloth is made specifically to clean the guard without damaging it.

Knobs, caps, and straps:

Most manufacturers will include guitar parts in the event that you accidentally remove or lose them while cleaning your instrument. You can use these replacements while doing your cleaning or just order extra for later use.

How to Clean an Electric Guitar Using Professional Items:

Professional cleaners will usually be used for a good deep clean. You can do this by hand, or you can use an electric cleaner, either of which should be available at any music shop. Some of the most popular cleaners are:

WoodWick Electric Guitar Humidifier:

This humidifier is very simple to use and includes some essential oils that will reduce the humidity around your guitar making it easier for you to play and keeping it in tune.

GHS Aquarium Dehumidifier:

Aquarium dehumidifiers are used to properly remove excess moisture from an instrument or from a handbag before storing. They are great for all types of instruments and will make sure your guitar is in good working order even after storing it away. It features a large tank, a dual temperature gauge and a magnetic drain hose for quick and easy removal of the excess moisture.

Dr. Clean:

What makes this guitar cleaner so special is the advanced non-abrasive formula that locks moisture and grime away, leaving your guitar with a fresh new look and feel. This includes cleaning out the truss rod area, the pickguard holes, frets, headstock slots and all of the nooks and crannies where dirt can hide.

Novax Guitar Shine:

A guitar softener and polish, the Novax Guitar Shine is an all-in-one treatment that will leave your instrument with a nice shine after it has been cleaned. It has a neutral pH and will not damage any of the parts on your instrument. The pack includes two bottles: 12% and 16%. You can use one for cleaning and one for regular oiling to maintain the action of your strings.


Whether you are cleaning your electric guitar for the first time or are looking to do a more detailed clean, make sure you are taking proper care of it. Depending on when you purchased your instrument, this might be something you want to do every six months or even once a year, depending on how often you use it.

To stay on top of your cleaning, you should also take a look at the manufacturer’s recommendations to see what they recommend for maintenance. This way you can always have your guitar looking its best!

Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you in return! Enjoy!


Q: What should you use to clean your electric guitar?

A: Clean the fretboard with different alcohol swabs. Clean thoroughly to remove oil and grime from the fretboard. … Clean the fretboard with a toothbrush and Hydrate. This method is less messy but won’t polish the frets. … Clean the fretboard with 0000 steel wool. This approach work best for polishing the frets. …

Q: What is the best cleaner for a guitar?

A: A soft cloth Glass cleaner Water Guitar polish that contains pure carnauba wax White distilled vinegar (for heavy-duty cleaning)

Q: How to get great clean tone for electric guitar?

A: Use the bridge pickup. Switch your guitar to use the bridge side pickup. … Compression. Most guitar players simply think “turning off everything” is the only way to clean tone. … Purposely use a tone that’s slightly broken up. … Washy chorus. … Multi-tap delay. …

Q: How to clean a guitar like a boss?

A: You’ll never be a master. Andy Summers. … Know when to put down the guitar. George Lynch. … Practice in bursts. Glenn Tipton. … Play with a metronome. Tommy Emmanuel. … Record yourself. Here’s another gem from Emmanuel: Always record your practice sessions,then listen back to identify the areas you need to work on. Learn the sounds of scales,not the scale itself. …