How to Clean and Maintain Your Acoustic Guitar

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The man regularly wipes the guitar neck.
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Taking care of a guitar is no small task. Those things can be delicate, that’s for sure. But don’t worry – with a little effort on your part, you and your guitar can stay best buds for years to come.

Now I know what you’re thinking – “Ugh, do I really have to fuss over it so much?” And the answer is a resounding yes! That guitar chose YOU to be its player, so you gotta take good care of it. If little things like cleaning and tuning are too much, then maybe the triangle is more your speed.

But I know you love that guitar, so listen up. Keeping it in tip-top shape doesn’t need to be rocket science. Just follow a few simple steps, and your guitar will treat you right every time you play. This guide will tell you exactly what to do without messing anything up, so listen closely!

Your First Line of Defense

You’ve just finished a session, and your guitar is coated with fingerprints, dust, and maybe even a bit of your last meal. Gross, right? Here’s what you do:

Wipe Down After Use

Wiping the guitar with a cloth after use

Between your fingers and all the gunk floating around, stuff is constantly getting on your guitar. Believe me, you don’t want that junk just sitting there. Over time, it’ll really mess up the finish. It takes like two seconds to grab a cloth and give her a quick wipe down after each jam session. Don’t go crazy with it, just smooth and gentle is all you need.

The Right Polish

The man is polishing the guitar

Sometimes, it’s good to give your guitar a little shine by polishing it up. But you gotta be careful with that polish! Only use a tiny bit meant just for guitars, otherwise it’ll feel gross and slippery.

When you polish, take it slow and use your little finger to rub it in small areas at a time. A little polish goes a long way, so there’s no need to slather it on. In fact, the less polish you use, the better – you want it to look shiny, not slimy.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Your guitar’s finish is there to protect the wood, so you wanna keep it looking good for years to come. That means using products made specifically for guitars. I know they cost a little more, but it’s totally worth it to keep your axe looking and sounding sweet.

Don’t believe me? Just imagine what all that hairspray goop would do to your lungs if you inhaled it. Now your guitar has to sit there in it all day. Yuck! Those guitar cleaners are specially made to clean without hurting your finish or your health.

The Fretboard

Lemon Oil for Cleaning Guitar Fretboard

Your guitar’s fretboard needs a little extra TLC now and then. Here’s what you gotta do:

  • Oil It Up: A few times a year, slick some oil on that neck. Lemon oil or fretboard conditioner works well. If that thing dries out, it’ll crack – and no one wants that to happen.
  • Clean It Right: Use a soft toothbrush or those little fretboard tools. Go slow, don’t scrub too hard. That neck is not a bathroom tile! Gotta be gentle, or else you might mess it up.

Cleaning Guitar Fretboard

Not Just Any Closet Will Do for Storage

You wouldn’t leave your best pal out in the sun and rain, would you? The same goes for your guitar – it needs its beauty sleep just like the rest of us. Here’s how to give it the R&R it deserves:

  • Case Closed: Always stash your guitar away safely in its case. Can’t have it getting scratched up or breathing in all that dust now, can we?
  • Check the Humidity: Keep it around 45-55% if you know what’s good for you. Otherwise, you might wake up to a warped guitar, and that is not a good look.
  • Temperature Control: Don’t go leaving it next to a heater or in a hot box. Wood gets cranky with sudden changes, so keep it cozy at a nice steady temperature.

String Care

The man wipes each string individually on the guitar

Changing your strings ain’t fun, but it’s a must. I know it’s no party switching out your guitar strings. But trust me, you gotta stay on top of it.

How Often?

Every 3-6 months is the best. Play every day? Change them every 3 months. Once a week player? Go 6 months. And for the love of rock n’ roll, don’t wait till they look prehistoric!

Wipe Them Down

After jamming, take a minute to wipe down your strings with a clean rag. It’ll extend their life by getting rid of the gunk. Plus, it’s weirdly satisfying.

Routine Maintenance Is the Secret to Longevity

Wiping the guitar neck regularly

Taking care of your guitar regularly is super important if you want it to stick around for the long haul. Here’s what you need to do to keep it running smoothly:

  • Neck and strings: Every now and then, check that the neck isn’t bent too much and the strings aren’t too high or low off the fretboard. If you don’t know how ask a guitar tech – they’re always happy to help for a fair price.
  • Wipe it down: When it starts looking dirty, give it a polish with a microfiber cloth. Don’t use wax or silicone though, unless you want your guitar to be one big slippery mess!
  • Inspect it often: Once a month, take a quick look over your whole guitar. If you notice anything weird, take care of it before it gets worse. A little fix is way better than a big disaster!


Taking care of your acoustic guitar is about more than just keeping it looking pretty – it’s about making sure the sounds you and your guitar create stay awesome. It ain’t about babying your instrument either – it’s about showing it some respect.

If you clean it regularly and don’t get food all over it while playing, you two will rock out together for years to come. So go on, give that thing a little TLC. And maybe hold off on the greasy snacks during jam sessions – just saying! Your guitar deserves your best if you want its best.

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