The Guitar is a sensitive instrument which needs to be cleaned regularly. The accumulation of dirt and dust not only spoils its appearance but also affects its sound and playability. A well maintained guitar not only lasts longer but is more playable and sounds beautiful too. Most people think that cleaning a guitar is a cumbersome job and should be left to experts only; however in actual practice cleaning a guitar is very easy and anyone who owns and plays the instrument should know how to clean a guitar.
Cleaning a guitar is simple and can be done at home. You do not need to purchase an expensive kit to keep your guitar nice and shiny. Many household items for instance olive oil, lemon oil and glass cleaners serve the same purpose and with equal efficiency as the expensive guitar cleaning stuff you can purchase from shops or online. If you are using guitar polish make sure that you do not use the one which contains silicone as it can damage the body. Most luthiers suggest that a guitar should be wiped with a soft flannel cloth every time it is played. Besides flannel old soft cotton cloth can also be used to wipe the surface of the guitar. These materials bring back the shine without putting any scratches on the surface. Buffing removes any stains or smudges on the surface making it smooth and shiny. The tiny cervices can be reached with a soft toothbrush; just remember to use few drops of glass cleaner to get rid of the dirt and grime trapped in them. Any stuff being used for cleaning should not be applied directly to the guitar surface rather it should be placed on the piece of cloth and then applied to the surface.
Cleaning the Strings
It is best recommended to wash your hands first before playing the guitar especially if you have eaten something greasy. The strings of the guitars are extremely sensitive; often the secretions from the fingers (sweat, body oils) get transferred on the strings while playing. Even dry skin can get deposited on the strings; to remove these residues, the strings must be wiped clean too. With a soft piece of cloth, start cleaning the strings from the bridge and go gently down to the nut. You should also pay some attention to the bridge and the nut when cleaning the strings.
Cleaning the Fret Board
The best time to clean the fret board is when the strings are being replaced. Before attaching the strings, you wipe the fret board with a dry piece of cloth. It takes care of most of the dirt while the stubborn dirt deposits can be removed with very fine grade steel wool. Again you will have to be very careful when using the steel wool as scrubbing hard can damage the fret board. Often luthiers suggest a coat of lemon oil as a protective layer especially if the fret board is made rosewood or ebony. Products containing silicone and waxes should never be applied on the fret boards.
Guitar is an expensive instrument and needs to be taken care of from time to time. Often the best time to clean guitars is said to be when the strings are being changed as it gives an easy access to the fret board. In order to keep the guitar clean, a regular wipe down with a soft piece of cloth is recommended. By following the above mentioned steps on how to clean a guitar one can easily take care of their guitar with minimal costs.