Keeping your guitar clean and grime-free is one of the easiest ways to maintain it’s condition and make sure it lasts forever. Unfortunately, if you don’t know what you’re doing with guitar finishes, you could end up ruining your $4000 Mayones like this guy did….

Today, we’ll talk about some basic ways for you to go about caring for your beloved instruments, without causing any damage.

Glossy Finishes

There’s nothing quite like a gorgeous, gloss finish on top of some beautifully stained, figured wood. Just look at this perfect PRS Artist Package! Eventually, the gloss might get a bit overburdened by finger prints and smudges. When that happens, you might be wanting to bust out the polish and breathe some life back into that top.

Great idea, but it’s very important to note that not any polish will do…

I would avoid Silicone-based polishes, as they actually leave a thin layer of Silicone on your guitar. This can make any future finish work quite frustrating. I would check out Dunlop 65. It’s a “Montan Wax’ based 2-in-one polish for guitars. It works wonders!

Whatever you use, just make sure you only use polish that’s made for a guitar, and always apply it gently. You don’t want to be too aggressive when applying polish to your guitar.

Satin Finishes

I absolutely adore Satin finishes on guitars. There’s just something classy about them. For example, look at this super hot Skervesen Raptor that we reviewed a while back.

Sometimes, especially when not taken care properly, satin finishes can actually start to rub off and turn glossy! Properly cleaning it can help to avoid this problem.

I always just use a scratch free cloth, lightly dampened with warm water, to clean my satin guitars. This includes the neck. Just use light pressure and wipe it down a bit. If it’s particularly dirty or has surface scratches, it’s usually safe to use some light, grit free polish. Don’t overdo it though.

I would definitely stay away from any aggressive polish or ones that have wax or silicone.


Fretboards are definitely the area of the guitar that needs the most attention when cleaning. It’s important to note that not all fretboards are the same! Some need different types of care than others.

Maple Boards are usually sealed and don’t really require any more than wiping down with a dry or lightly dampened rag. You don’t really want to use any kind of oil on a plain Maple board.

Rosewood and Ebony Boards don’t usually have sealant on them and are safe to be wiped with oil. I’d recommend Lemon Oil. Lemon Oil does a great job of keeping the fretboard moisturized and performing in top shape. You don’t need to do this super often. I probably do it 3 times a year.

For extremely grimy boards that look like they’ve been to hell and back (you can avoid this entirely by cleaning your board periodically), you might need a bit more than a wipe with some Lemon Oil. For Rosewood and Ebony boards, it’s usually safe to use a very small amount of Naphtha, then lightly scrub it with very fine Steel Wool. After doing this, just go over it with a coat of the Lemon Oil.


Hardware isn’t so tricky.

I generally use a soft-bristled, damp toothbrush to clean off my bridge. If the bridge is a bit grimy or cloudy, I’ll actually use that Dunlop 65 formula that I told you about. It does a great job at bringing the shine back to the hardware. You do have to be a little careful with plated hardware though, such as gold and black. Sometimes it’s really easy to remove that plating and lose the color if you go crazy with the polish.


Overall, cleaning your guitar is a quick, easy process that anyone can do properly. It’s such a simple task that keeps your guitar in top playing, and looking shape. Just make sure you are using the correct materials to clean it with!

We hope you enjoyed this article! If you did, make sure to check out more, because we upload new reviews, technical articles, lessons, and more daily!

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This article was written by Zac Buras, our editor located in Louisiana



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