How To Clean A Guitar Fretboard With Household Items

How often should I clean my guitar fretboard? Should I use alcohol or something else?

How To Clean A Guitar Fretboard With Household Items

Guitar strings are usually made from nylon, polyester, or metal. The strings are attached to the frets using a nut and saddle.

When playing, the strings vibrate against the frets, causing friction. This friction causes dirt and other particles to build up between the string and the fretboard. Over time, these particles can cause damage to the wood.

To remove the buildup of dirt and debris, you can use a toothbrush, nail file, or even a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. If you want to get rid of the buildup without damaging the wood, try using a guitar cleaning kit.

To keep your guitar looking new for as long as possible, it’s important to regularly maintain its appearance.

A good way to do this is by keeping your guitar free of dust and grime. You can easily clean your guitar with some simple household products.

If you have an acoustic guitar, you may be wondering how often you should clean it. It depends on what kind of material it’s made out of.

For example, if you play a steel-stringed instrument, you’ll need to clean it more frequently than someone who plays a nylon-stringed instrument.

You can also make sure that your guitar has been properly set up before starting to play. Your guitar must be tuned correctly so that it sounds clear and crisp when played.

Also, the action (the distance between the strings and the fretboard) needs to be adjusted so that the strings don’t buzz or squeak.

You can find all sorts of guitar cleaning kits at any music store. They range in price from $10 to $200. Most come with everything you need to clean your guitar.

Some include things like polish, picks, brushes, cloths, and even special cleaners.

Some people prefer to clean their guitars themselves because they feel that professional guitar cleaners charge too much money.

However, there are many ways to clean your guitar yourself. All you need is a few common household items.

Types Of Fretboards

How To Clean A Guitar Fretboard With Household Items

There are three different types of fretboards: wooden, plastic, and metal. You should know what type you have before cleaning your fretboard.

Finished Boards

Maple is a common choice for guitar fretboards because it is strong and extremely resilient. It is also available in large quantities. 

Maple boards are often sprayed with a clear coat before being pressed into place. The chemicals used in this process react with the maple, giving it a golden hue. A protective layer forms over the surface of the wood.

Unfinished Wood

Fretboards should be made of softwood. Hardwood could damage your fingers if you play an instrument.

Maple is very popular for guitar fretboards because it is hardy, resilient, and easy to obtain. Most manufacturers use maple for the fretboard because it is durable and holds up well over time. Maple is sprayed with a clear coat to protect it from scratches and wear.

Vintage guitars should be cleaned regularly using water and a clean cloth. Do not use any kind of cleaner or polish as this may damage the finish.

Naphtha is a lighter fluid used for cleaning guitars. It’s safe to clean your guitar with this product. You don’t need to worry about getting burned or anything!

Lacquered Board

Fretboards are made from wood. Lacquer finishes are applied to the surface of the wood. This makes the sound louder.

A fretboard is a part of an instrument that holds strings. The strings go over the frets. These frets are usually made out of metal or plastic. The string goes over these frets.

Matte Finishes

Water-based products should be used when cleaning finishes. Apply product to the cloth and don’t rub directly on the guitar.

Waxes and other heavy cleaners will leave shiny spots on the guitar body. Use care during this process because it does have a protective finish.

Gloss Finishes

Water and some dish soap can be used to wipe down guitar parts. Cleaning up the guitar can make it feel better when you play it.

You should avoid using store-bought products because they may damage your guitar.

Can I Clean My Guitar Fretboard Using Household Items?

How To Clean A Guitar Fretboard With Household Items

There are many ways to clean your guitar strings. You can use soap and water or even some alcohol. But if you want to go deeper, you should consider using an electric guitar string cleaner.

Using Fret guards is a great way to prepare your guitar for cleaning! Fret guards are made from scissors and some strong cardboard. They’re used for protecting your guitar strings from getting snagged by the frets.

Microfiber cloths are great for cleaning up your guitar. You can also use them to clear out the dirt and dust that accumulates on the frets.

Cleaning your guitar is important because if there is too much debris on the frets, it could cause problems when you play the instrument.

How To Prepare Your Guitar For Maintenance

Guitar bodies tend to be the most important part of the instrument. Maintenance means cleaning the strings and frets daily.

Fingerprints are normal and should be expected. Mineral oil gets all over the guitar and needs to be cleaned off regularly. 

Cleaning a guitar fretboard is easy if you know what you’re doing. You’ll probably want to use some kind of cleaner or solvent, but there are many ways to go about it.

Before you start, make sure you’ve removed all the strings from the neck.

Then, find a clean and dry spot to work on the fretboard. Make sure you wear safety equipment like gloves and goggles.

Finally, make sure you have a bucket or something else to put any excess cleaner into. Guitarists should always be careful when cleaning their guitars.

Some guitars require extra attention, while others don’t. Floating tremolo bridges require more effort than fixed ones.

Cleaning the exposed parts of the bridge will make it fall apart. Stringed instruments should be cleaned regularly.

Wood is an important part of the music. Different types of wood require different skills to make them into instruments or furniture. Guitarists use different types of wood to create their instruments.

How Do I Clean My Guitar’s Fretboard Using Household Items?

How To Clean A Guitar Fretboard With Household Items

Guitarists should avoid using any kind of household cleansers when cleaning their fretboards. Those products may contain chemicals that could harm the natural appearance of the wood.

Best practices suggest using only specialized products designed for guitars.

Guitarists must always use the right tools when cleaning guitars. There are many types of cleaners available, but some of them are not recommended for guitar cleaning.

Some of these include baby oil, nail polish remover, acetone, alcohol, turpentine, gasoline, bleach, ammonia, etc.

These products may work well on other surfaces, but they won’t do anything for the fingerboard. 

Distilled vinegar is your main cleaning solution when it comes to household items. You can clean almost anything with it around your home – including guitar fretboards too, but not for all of them!

At this point, you should do some research – it pays off considering the manufacturer’s recommendations too.

Light fluid is very effective for cleaning your guitar fretboards. You should use it as you would water.

Avoid using it directly on the fretboard or it could damage it. After cleaning, make sure you dry the fretboard well.

Guitar cleaning is fairly easy. Use Q-tips or cotton balls to get rid of dirt on the sides of the frets. Then use cotton balls or face-cleansing pads to get rid of dirt in the middle of the neck.

Always be careful when using chemical products, but if you’re willing to take some time, then you’ll definitely be rewarded.

Guitar cleaning products aren’t necessary if you’re careful about keeping your guitar clean. You can clean your guitar using these methods instead.


You should certainly try out using plain water instead of cleaning solutions if you’re worried about damaging your instrument. Using plain water isn’t as harmful as other methods.

You can’t remove the dirt by using water alone. Use a microfiber cloth instead. If the dirt is too heavy, use another type of cloth. Don’t worry about the sound quality because you’re cleaning your guitar.

Guitar manufacturers suggest getting a professional to clean your guitar. You can use tap or bottled water to clean your guitar.

Take care not to use too much water on the fretboard, as it could cause damage. You shouldn’t use water on the fretboard.

Cleaning the fretboard with lemon oil is a good idea. Oiling the fretboard is also a good idea. Don’t put too much oil on the fingerboard, though.

You’ll need to clean your guitar with water before playing it. Don’t let the guitar get soaked, or you might cause harm to the instrument.

Use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe off dirt and dust. Dry it off thoroughly after cleaning. A guitar needs water to be cleaned.

You should use water to give a guitar a light cleaning if it’s been sitting around for a while.

Old Guitar Picks/Cards

Guitar strings are very important because they help protect your instrument. You should always clean them regularly, especially after playing.

Old plastic cards or guitar picks could also be used to clean the frets.

A small piece of cardboard from a Listerine Pocketpak package could also work well.

Using this method, you can clean any type of guitar without damaging the instrument. Just make sure to get rid of dirt by pushing it away. 

Vegetable Oil Soaps

Potassium vegetable oil-based soap cleans the fretboard well. You should be careful when cleaning your guitar because it gets crusty after you stop playing.

Vegetable oil is used to cook vegetables, but it is also used to clean guitars. You can clean your guitar using vegetable oil soap.

Vegetable oil soap is safe to use on wooden furniture; it won’t damage them. It can also be used to clean guitars and other musical instruments.

Vegetable oil soap is an excellent product if you want to clean your guitar without causing damage to it. You should never take any risks when using this kind of soap. It is made out of vegetable oil, coconut, and water.

Lemon Oils

Lemon oil can help preserve the quality of wood. You can use it by rubbing the soft cloth over the fretboard.

The wood absorbs the first dose of the lemon oil very fast. After that, you can apply another dose of the lemon oil using the same method.

Lemon oil is used as an alternative to protect the wood from humidity and insects. You should put lemon oil on the fretboard using a soft cloth.

Rub the lemon oil into the fretboard using a circular motion. Depending on what kind of wood your fretboard was made of, it could take some time for the lemon oil to dry out.

You can reapply more lemon oil after the first application dries up.

Lemon oil is an acid that dries out your guitar’s fretboard. It’s also used as a disinfectant and cleanser in the house. But pure lemon oil isn’t suitable for cleaning guitars.

Most lemon oil guitar products have little lemon oil. They’re usually made of mineral oil, and they may be safe for use on fretboards. They’ll remove dirt, leave a beautiful sheen, and smell great.

Lemon oil guitar products won’t work well on wood necks. You should apply them carefully to wood necks.

Lemon oil products should be avoided when using a maple fretboard. Household and furniture wood cleaners aren’t recommended for guitars.

Petroleum distillates shouldn’t be used on a maple fretboard because they could damage the wood. Some guitar products may contain these harmful chemicals.

Lemon Oil is good for ebony or rosewood fretboard – even if unfinished – once every three or four months. If the fretboard finish is finished, such options don’t need oiling.

Therefore, don’t have to worry about using another oil for your guitar. And finally, make sure you use lemon oil with a relatively low concentrate – not lemon juice.

Mineral Spirits

Polish for guitar is a mixture of solvents and mineral oil. It is used to get rid of the dirt that sticks to the fretboard. This polish makes the fretboard shine and clean.

Mineral oil can be expensive, but you can use it to condition your fretboard. Olive oil can damage your fretboard, so don’t use it.

Lemon oil, rosewood oil, and ebony oil are alternatives to commercial fretboard oil. Less is more when it comes to cleaning your fretboard, so try not to overdo it. Share this tip with your friends.


Naphtha is a solvent used for cleaning oil stains off your hands. It evaporates very fast and won’t damage the wood. Use a cloth or paper towel to apply naphtha. Don’t use it near an open fire.

Naphtha is a chemical used as an alternative fuel source. It is very flammable and can cause serious burns if inhaled or ingested.

It also causes severe skin irritation when applied directly to the skin. It is useful to remove excess oil from a guitar’s frets.

It is also useful to clean up the dirty residue left by playing the instrument. Do not use naphtha if there is any other type of oil on the guitar.

Products That We Recommend You Do Not Use

How To Clean A Guitar Fretboard With Household Items

Fretboard cleaners should be chosen carefully. Many people swear by the Pledge, but some say it causes damage. Some abrasive cleaners work well, but others can scratch the surface of the wood.

Cleaning agents with bleach or other strong chemicals should be avoided. Dishwashing detergents are good for removing grease and essential oils, but they can also harm the wood.

Natural household items such as vinegar and freshly squeezed lemon juice are usually acidic and abrasive.

They can irreparably damage the frets. Baking powder should be avoided because it’s abrasive. Liquid hand dishwashing detergent must be diluted before using. 

Wax or polish should never be applied directly to the fretboard. Instead, apply them to a cloth or paper towel first.

Oils can be used to polish the wood surface, but they should be diluted. Lemon essential oil affects the appearance of the wood. Concentrations below 1% are safe.

There are several ways to clean your guitar with household items. You should use a toothbrush or an old toothpaste tube (with the cap removed) instead of olive oil.

You shouldn’t use any type of soap or detergent because these products could damage your guitar. These products can leave a stain on your guitar.

Fretboards are sensitive to different types of chemicals. You should avoid using household furniture cleaner, bleach, lacquer thinner, and silicone.

Furniture Polish

Using furniture polish is not recommended because it dries up the wood and may cause permanent stains. There are no positive reviews about this product online. So, we would avoid using it.


Bleach cleans anything! But it doesn’t work well on guitars. It will remove the natural color of the guitar and even make it thinner.

Bleach is not recommended for cleaning guitars. It will remove the protective layers of the wood, making it much easier to scratch. If you really need to clean your guitar, use baby oil instead.


Toothpaste should be used sparingly. You shouldn’t use too much, or it could cause harm to your guitar. When using toothpaste, first apply it to the frets. Then move to the wood. 

Finally, finish by applying it to the strings. People use toothpaste to clean CDs because of how well it works.

Since people have been cleaning CDs with toothpaste for years, they’ve come up with a few different ways to do it.

For example, they might use toothpaste to clean the frets, meaning the metal part that goes over your guitar strings.

But don’t use toothpaste to clean wooden parts of your guitar. Instead, make sure that you use a professional fretboard protector.


White distilled vinegar is a great house cleaner that can be used to clean fretboards. However, you’ll probably never notice the smell of a pickle when cleaning your guitar.

You can also buy Ernie Ball Wonder Wipe online, or you can make your own by washing an old cotton T-shirt through the wash a few times.

Cleaning your guitar involves more than just polishing the surface. You need to clean the entire instrument including the neck, fretboard, bridge, and sound hole.

A good cleaner will take care of all these areas.

Some manufacturers advise against vinegar. Distilled vinegar is safe for guitars when used in small amounts.

You shouldn’t pour it over the guitar neck because it could cause damage. However, using distilled vinegar is still better than using water.


Sandpaper is useful for making things smoother, but not for cleaning up any kind of material. Use sandpaper for rough materials, and watch out that your guitar isn’t too thin.


You should be very careful while using acetone. Naphtha is safe to use. You can safely use it to clean your guitar. However, you shouldn’t use acetone to remove excess glue on your guitar.

Acetone is used to clean things. It removes sticky stuff. But it is also very harsh and could harm some materials. So, use it carefully.

Ammonia is a cleaning agent that works well. It is safe for most things. But it is not recommended for guitars.

How To Clean Your Fretboard: As Step-By-Step Guide

How To Clean A Guitar Fretboard With Household Items

You shouldn’t use any kind of cleaning product to clean your guitar fretboard because it could damage the finish. Soak a cloth in water and wipe down the fretboard with it.

You should clean your guitar by using a toothbrush, warm water, and a soft cloth.

Cleaning a guitar fretboard is as easy as using a damp or wet cloth. You can do this by lightly cleaning your fretboard with a damp cloth.

This process should be done after every time you play your guitar. You should wear something comfortable and warm.

Keeping Your Guitar In A Secure Place

You should use a soft cloth or sponge to clean your guitar. A soft brush will also work well. Be careful when you’re working around the neck and body.

Removing The Strings

There is debate concerning which technique should be used for removing strings. Some people think that if you remove all the strings at once, it will affect the tension.

Others say that it won’t do any harm. If you’re concerned about your tension, then it’s recommended to remove only half of them, then replace them and repeat the process.

You should always replace your strings after cleaning the fretboard. You shouldn’t remove more than half of the strings because it could affect the tension of the guitar and make it harder to play.

Removing all strings would also cause problems since it could damage the bridge and other parts of the guitar.

Strings are only going to get into your way, and you’re going to need to clean them up anyway. So, take out the old ones, and toss them away!

Protect The Critical Areas Of The Guitar 

Fretboards must be protected from the damage caused by steel particles. Acoustic guitars should be cleaned without covering the sound hole.

Covering the sound hole prevents the buildup of rust inside the instrument.

Cleaning The Fretboard

Wring out your clothes before washing them. You can also use an old t-shirt if you don’t have a flannel cloth. Always start from the top and work down.

Use a soft flannel cloth, and soak it in warm water. Cleaning your car after using it is important because dirt and dust could ruin the paint job. You should use a clean towel or rag to wipe off the dirt and dust.

Use a soft flannel cloth to clean up the oil spillage. You can also use an old t-shirt if there isn’t a flannel available. Always start by moving from top to bottom.

Wring out the cloth completely before using it. You should clean your car after every rainstorm or snowfall.

To clean the fretboard, make sure you use a fine-textured cloth. Wring out the cloth in warm water. Then, wring out the water.

Let the cloth dry up completely. Don’t let the cloth get too wet. Dry the surface of the wood first.

Steel wool should be used to clean the frets first. Frets can be cleaned without steel wool if you aren’t planning on using them. A fret guard protects the wood from being scratched when filing the frets.

Using Steel Wools

Steel wool is used to clean the frets of guitars. Fine steel wool removes grime and oil stains. You shouldn’t use anything else because it could scratch the fretboard.

A fretboard conditioner helps protect the fretboard’s finish when using steel wool.

Be careful while cleaning the fretboard. Steel wool is recommended for unfinished maple wood but not for finished maple wood.

Fine cloth is advised for finishing maple wood. Don’t use steel wool for cleaning because it will damage the finish. Stop when you’ve cleaned the grimy spot.

Remove The Tape From Earlier

After peeling off the tape, you should carefully remove the remaining tape. Don’t rip it off too quickly or you might damage the finish of the instrument.

Newer guitars are made to withstand any damage from the tape ripping. 

But it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So, after peeling off the tape carefully, you can once again examine the surface for any leftover particles.

You can clean the pickups of the guitar using a vacuum cleaner to make sure there are no metal particles left behind.

Feeding Your Wood

Cleaning the fretboard will remove most of the natural oils from your guitar. Wait for the fretboard to be completely dry, then wipe it off with a clean, dry towel.

Apply a small amount of oil (linseed oil, almond oil, or mineral oil) to the fretboard. 

Let the oil soak in for a while, then replace the strings. You shouldn’t need to feed your guitar after cleaning. If you’re worried about damaging the fretboard, have it professionally cleaned.

Wood needs to be polished to get rid of any scratches, dust, or other impurities. Essential oils are used to make the wood shine.

A small amount of oil should be applied to the wood, let it sit overnight, then remove the excess with a clean rag.

Refrain from applying too much grease to avoid an oily fretboard. Before replacing the strings, make sure that the fretboard is no longer greasy. Afterward, you can replace the string

Making Your Own Fret Guide

You must make a template out of cardboard, then measure the fretboard, and cut a hole in the center of the board. Then, glue the template onto the fretboard. This will help you clean up the fretboard.

Polishing The Fretboard

How To Clean A Guitar Fretboard With Household Items

Steel wool should be used for cleaning fretboards because it removes dirt without scratching the wood. Fretboard conditioners should also be used when cleaning fretboards. 

To clean a dirty surface, first cut out a small square of paper and carefully place it over the spot you want to clean.

Then use a soft paintbrush to remove the dirt. The kit below is a fantastic choice for polishing your guitar fretboards.

Dunlop System Maintenance Kit

Cleaning The Fretboard

A guitar string needs to be cleaned by using a Q-Tip dipped in warm water. Fretboards need to be cleaned with a damp cloth. Use a soft cloth to clean off any residue.

How To Prevent The Fretboard From Obtaining A Large Amount Of Dirt

Guitar maintenance is important if you want to play your guitar well. There are several ways to clean your guitar fretboard.

You should use a guitar cleaner or pickguard to protect your guitar strings. This prevents them from getting damaged by sharp objects.

A guitar string cleaner removes any dirt or debris from your guitar strings. You should also polish your guitar strings regularly.

This helps maintain the quality of your guitar strings. When you’re done playing, you should take care of your guitar’s body.

You should oil it every once in a while. This keeps the guitar’s wood from drying out. 

In addition, you should check your guitar’s nut and saddle regularly. The nut and saddle are two parts of the guitar bridge.

These parts help hold the guitar together. You should make sure that these parts are in good shape before you start playing.

Guitar strings should be changed regularly to avoid damage to the guitar body. This should also be done when the guitar begins to show signs of wear.

You may want to contact an expert to help you out if you are having trouble finding someone who knows what they’re doing.

Scrub Your Hands Before You Play

Guitarists should clean their instruments before playing them. Sweat and oils make the strings sticky, and it makes it harder to play.

Do Not Hang Your Guitar On A Wall

A lot of dust will accumulate over time, but if you clean them regularly, you’ll see how much better they sound!

Clean After Using The Guitar

A thorough guitar inspection should include checking the neck, nut, truss rod, strings, tuning pegs, frets, saddle, and bridge. There are many videos online showing how to do these things properly. 

Guitars become dirty over time. We should clean them regularly. There are many companies out there that make guitar-specific cleaning products, but not everyone can afford them. 

Humidity Checks

Guitarists need to monitor humidity levels in order to protect their instruments. A guitar should be kept in a guitar case when traveling. A humidifier can be used to raise humidity levels in a room.

Final Thoughts

I hope you’ll find this guide on cleaning a guitar fretboard with common household items useful.

As many of the steps and methods discussed in this guide are often recommended by professional guitarists, you can try them without having to worry about compromising the look and feel of your guitar.

Fretboards are important because they are the contact points between the guitar and the player.

Dirt on the fretboard makes the sound worse, but it also makes the guitar harder to hold. A dirty fretboard may also cause problems with string tension.

Cleaning guitars is important because dirt and grime can affect how well your guitar sounds. You need to clean the fretboard regularly, but you must also be careful not to damage anything.

Your guitar needs to be cleaned in a safe environment, and you’ll want to take your time. Don’t rush!

You don’t need to be a pro to clean your guitar fretboards. Just like you don’t need to pay thousands of dollars to get a professional guitar cleaner.

Use common household products to clean your guitar fretboard. Make sure you know what kind of wood you’re using before doing any cleaning.

Howard Matthews