Guitar strings can start to show their age after a while, which is why it’s important to keep them clean.
This guide offers an all-encompassing look at what it takes to clean guitar strings and how to do it the right way. Use the tips mentioned in this article to get a better understanding of the key materials and techniques needed for cleaning guitar strings, the same techniques are used for acoustic, bass, electric, flatwound or any others regardless of playing metal or any other type of music.
- String Cleaner
- Microfiber Cloth
- Cleaning Tool
- Thin Towel
- Cotton Swab
1) Wipe with a Microfiber Cloth
The first thing that needs to be done is a preparatory step. This involves using a clean microfiber cloth and wiping each string individually. You want to do this to get rid of the surface dust and ensure there’s nothing in the way during the cleaning process. Do this gently and make sure to get every inch of the strings. This is essential and can help maximize how effective the string cleaner is later on. Otherwise, it’s easy to end up with a guitar that’s clean in some parts and dirty in others.
Please note, don’t use any other type of cloth as it may ruin the guitar strings. A microfiber cloth is good enough and will do a respectable job of preparing the guitar.
2) Cover the Pickup and Place a Thin Towel Under Strings
Before getting started with a guitar cleaner, it’s important to implement precautionary measures to keep the rest of the guitar untouched. Since you are going to be focusing on the strings, it makes sense to cover everything else. Otherwise, the string cleaner is going to drip onto other parts of the guitar and leave stains. In some cases, the cleaner can dry up and damage the pickup.
As a result, it’s best to cover the pickup and place a thin towel under the strings. This will make sure the guitar doesn’t get ruined because of the string cleaner dripping down.
Be methodical with this step and ensure every inch of the bottom has been covered. This is the only way to do a good job.
3) Gently Rub Using Cotton Swab
Once you are ready to go, it’s time to apply the string cleaner.
You are going to apply the string cleaner (as directed) onto the strings and make sure it sits for a set amount of time. Each brand of string cleaner is going to vary in this regard, so it’s important to follow the instructions as best as possible. Once there’s enough string cleaner spread throughout the strings, it’s time to take a small cotton swab and gently rub the cleaner in. This will ensure the strings look as good as new again. As always, you want to be gentle during this part of the process.
4) Let it Dry
After you have gently rubbed the cleaner into place and let it sit, it’s best to let it dry.
This is going to require understanding how the string cleaner responds to the strings. Each one is going to be different but the general idea is to let it dry.
This will be more than enough to keep the guitar strings in good shape without ruining their structural integrity. Be vigilant during this part of the process and make routine checks to see how the strings are doing. Avoid touching the strings during this part of the process, so it can dry as necessary.
5) Set a Maintenance Schedule
Are you taking the time to clean your guitar strings regularly?
This is something the average person doesn’t think about and that’s what leads to unwanted grime. Be smart and ahead of the curve by implementing a proper maintenance strategy. This includes understanding how the guitar strings get dirty. In essence, you are going to take the time to wipe the strings after each playing session. This doesn’t take a long time to do and will ensure the guitar strings look good for months before needing a more thorough cleaning (i.e. using a string cleaner).
Incorporate these tips on how to clean guitar strings as soon as possible.
With the right tools and techniques, the guitar strings will look brand-new in no time ensuring the guitar sounds great year-round.