How To Know If You Are Caring For Your Guitar The Right Way
How To Know If You Are Caring For Your Guitar The Right Way
How To Know If You Are Caring For Your Guitar The Right Way

How To Know If You Are Caring For Your Guitar The Right Way

As a guitar owner, it is normal to feel the need to take good care of your guitars. After all, they deserve some love after the days and nights of practice and constant strumming. Sure, the maintenance of instruments (in this case, a guitar) is essential when it comes to giving individuals a lifetime of happiness as they groove to the music; but how does one know if their efforts to pamper their beloved instrument goes too far?

In this article, we share 7 valuable tips to detect if you’re overdoing it – whether it be using the wrong items to clean the guitar or applying too many substances.

Over-oiling the fretboard

When it comes to cleaning a guitar’s fretboard, it is no secret that you would have to oil it. This is especially true for unfinished fretboards made out of ebony or rosewood. While it will benefit from a good oil, it is vital to know how often to do it. Not many may know this, but you should only oil your fretboard once a year at most. Doing it once every 2 or 3 years is fine, too – but you could oil it if you feel like it’s been stripped off of moisture.

The reason why it’s not recommended to oil your fretboard too often is that it could ultimately damage it and lead to maintenance problems. Hence, a light application is all you need to bring colour back to the beautiful wood.

Applying the wrong oil on the strings

Over-oiling the fretboard is terrible as it is, but using the wrong oil to clean the strings is worse. It might be common for some to use a product meant for squeaky door hinges on the strings to give it a shiny, slick finish. However, once any product residue gets on the fretboard, neck, or finish, you might risk destroying them. Thus, use a product that’s actually meant for the strings! Else, you can always replace new ones.

Using items other than a proper polishing cloth

You should never use items like paper towels and tissues on any of the glossy areas of the guitar you’re cleaning. While they work fine on the wood of the fretboard and for wiping the strings, they tend to leave minor scratches on the finish.

To be on the safe side, you should also avoid things like washcloths, socks, and t-shirts; 100% cotton or not. Instead, use a microfiber towel or an actual guitar polishing cloth – these work perfectly.

Dusting the guitar with compressed air

While using compressed air to dust your guitar might sound like an efficient way to clean it, it is also damaging to your instrument. Compressed air might drip liquid, which can ruin your favourite guitar’s finish, thus affecting its outlook.

Shining the finish with household polish

Like how compressed air damages the guitar, using furniture polish or a window cleaner to keep the guitar’s finish clean and shiny is detrimental to its finish. Instead, use a proper guitar polish – a little goes a long way.

Using other household cleaning products

While it may seem obvious, this still needs to be reiterated: avoid household cleaning products in general when cleaning your guitar. Products that may be great on wood furniture and floors do not necessarily mean they will be as good for a guitar.

Whether it be due to harsh chemicals or other factors, these products should never be used on any parts of your guitar for fear of damaging it.

Underestimating the power of warm water

Of course, every guitar player would want the best for their guitars. However, that doesn’t mean you need to splurge on all the expensive cleaners and polishes to revive your guitar to its brand new-like state!

All you need is warm water, a good guitar cleaning agent (not many!), a soft cloth, and a little bit of hard work to clean your dirty guitar. Note that the cloth would only need to be slightly damp instead of soaking wet since guitars are not waterproof.


Now that you’ve mastered the ways to keep your guitar sparkling clean, hop on a class with us at The Music Works to master your basics! We have a variety of guitar lessons for beginners in Singapore helmed by our professional, certified instructors that are sure to bring out the fantastic guitar player in you.

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