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Guitar Maintenance: How to Clean Your Guitar

Cleaning your guitar is an important part of maintaining its quality and appearance, and ensuring your guitar’s longevity. Regular cleanings can also improve the sound quality of your guitar by removing any buildup of dirt and grime on its surface. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean your guitar using the recommended Dunlop Cleaning Kit:

Step 1: Gather your supplies

Before you start cleaning your guitar, you’ll need to gather the necessary supplies. The Dunlop Cleaning kit includes all of the items you’ll need. 

  • A soft, lint-free cloth
  • Guitar polish or cleaner
  • A fretboard cleaner and conditioner
  • String cleaner and conditioner 
  • A small brush or toothbrush

Step 2: Remove the strings (optional)

If you want to do a thorough cleaning of your guitar, it’s best to remove the strings so you can access all areas of the instrument. If your guitar doesn’t need a deep cleaning, feel free to leave the strings on this time.

Step 3: Clean the body

First determine what type of finish is on your guitars as some cleaners and polishes may react differently. D’Angelico guitars come in both matte (like the Deluxe Atlantic in Matte Walnut) and gloss (like the Excel DC in Vintage Natural) finishes and each will require basic care. The biggest difference between matte and gloss finishes is that if you polish or buff a matte finish too vigorously it will start to turn the matte to a soft gloss. For our guitars, the same basic products can be used on all models, but we recommend varying your frequency and pressure based on the finish. 

Using a soft, lint-free cloth, gently wipe down the body of your guitar. If you have a guitar polish or cleaner, you can apply a small amount to the cloth and buff the surface of the guitar. Be careful not to use too much polish or cleaner, as this can damage the finish of your guitar. Avoid getting any polish or cleaner on the strings, as this can affect their sound.

Step 4: Clean the fretboard

If your guitar has a rosewood or ebony fretboard, you can use lemon oil or fretboard conditioner to clean and condition it. Apply a small amount of the oil or conditioner to a soft cloth, and rub it into the fretboard. Let the conditioner or oil dry for a few minutes, then buff off any excess. 

Be careful not to get any oil or conditioner on the frets or the body of the guitar. If you do, use the guitar cleaner or polish again to remove it.

Step 5: Clean the strings or restring

Using a small brush or toothbrush, gently clean the strings to remove any dirt. You can also use a string cleaner, lubricant, isopropyl alcohol, or even a little vodka to keep the strings sounding their best. Apply a small amount of the solution to the strings, and wipe away any excess with a cloth.

If you removed the strings, restring your guitar and tune it up. Give our Prohibition Bronze acoustic guitar strings or our classic Electrozinc, zinc coated round-wound electric guitar strings a try if you haven’t already.

We recommend changing your strings around every 3 months depending on use. 


In addition to cleaning your guitar regularly, it’s important to maintain your guitar’s humidity levels and keep your guitar in regularly dry and fair temperatures. Keep your guitar in a case or monitor weather and moisture changes when out on display. Wood expands and contracts, and monitoring this will help prevent cracks and bending on your instrument. We recommend D’Addario Humidpacks to help maintain proper humidity levels.

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