Alright, what about all these special guitar cleaning products? Do I need them or not? And if yes, what are the best guitar cleaning products and conversely, which ones are not useful at all?
As for the first question, there are several ways to look at this. But here’s an angle that I personally find absolutely reasonable: In my opinion, you do not need any special guitar cleaning items or devices. You can absolutely use some of the things that you’ll likely find in your cleaning closet at home. On that note, though, I would be remiss not to warn you that you can’t just use any household cleaner on your guitar. You have to be careful as to what type of products you use to clean your guitar with in order to protect it from getting damaged. Click here to watch a couple of quick videos on how to clean your guitar strings and the body of the guitar with household products.
So, as you just learned, using something like Windex in order to clean your guitar strings works actually very well. The same is true for Murphy’s Oil Soap on the body of your guitar and the fretboard. I’ve been using these products for many years and I had never any issues. Of course, you have to be careful as explained in the videos.
Okay, as I just explained, using regular household cleaners to clean your guitar works and it’s a great way to save money. However, ‘real’ guitar cleaning products to have their place and the reality is, they work better and they are safer to use on your instrument. Simply because they are specifically made for that purpose. But instead of getting out there and spending a ton of money on all the various guitar cleaning products available – and the manufacturers will tell you that you need them – I feel that you’re much better off getting a few selected items that are actually rather inexpensive. Specifically, the Gibson Pump Polish and the Music Nomad Fretboard Oil.
The Gibson Pump Polish is safe on all finishes and in my opinion a fantastic guitar cleaner to treat the body, neck (not the fretboard) and head of your guitar. It’s important to use it sparingly. Just spray a couple of pumps on the instrument, buff it in until it’s completely dry and look at the result. A bottle is around $10 and will last you a very long time.
Regarding the fretboard, I highly recommend Music Nomad Fretboard Oil. It’s a fantastic guitar cleaning product that not only cleans but also protects your fretboard. As with the pump polish, you only need a little bit (a few drops). Your guitar will play like butter, I guarantee it.
So, that leaves us with the guitar strings. Of course, there are special guitar string cleaning products available, too. But I personally stick to the good old Windex if I really need to clean them. The fact is, though, I’m changing my guitar strings on a fairly regular basis, so there’s hardly ever a need to actually clean the strings.
Alright, to wrap this up: do you need special guitar cleaners? No, you don’t. You can go with appropriate household cleaning products. However, actual guitar cleaning products are without a doubt very useful. Don’t just go out and buy them blindly. Think about what you actually need and get a couple of selected items. Use guitar cleaners sparingly and they will last for a long time which will keep the costs down.
As usual, for any questions around the topic of guitar cleaning products, just leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.