Best Guitar Cleaner for all Finishes: A Review

You’re proud of your guitar as you should be. It sits in your house as a beautiful decorative piece and it’s something you want to ensure that you take care over time.

But how do you care for your guitar? Or more importantly, what should you use to take care of your guitar? We will look at the Best Guitar Cleaner for matte and gloss finishes. 

Best Guitar Cleaner 

In this guide we will review some of the best guitar cleaners out there for your axe. We will look at the pros and cons of each of these so you have all the information needed to choose the best guitar cleaner.  

1. Music Nomad MN108 Premium Guitar Care 5-Piece Kit

This five piece kit made by Music Nomad comes with all you need to take extra good care of your guitar (of guitars). It will also last you a long time. 

You receive an all-in-1 cleaner, polishes, and wax which is ideal for high gloss finishes.

In this kit you will also get guitar polish that will give your guitar that deep clean. This is also great for restoring that shine that may have experienced scratches and scuffs over time. 

What we liked is the fretboard oil you will receive that is perfect for your rosewood, ebony, and maple fretboard.

The fretboards are also tricky due to what we carry on our fingertips. It can cause quite the build of dirt over time. The oil does not content lemon oil which can damage and/or stain some fretboards. 

There are also two microfiber towels that come with the kit and they make it known that they are proudly formulated in the USA. 

It’s important to read the directions carefully on here as the application of these is very important to get the best results possible. It’s also important to ensure that you don’t have any grit on the guitar prior to using these products. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Formulated in the USA.
  • Comes with all-in-1 cleaner, polish, and fretboard oil. 
  • Provides great shine for your instruments. 
  • Comes with two microfiber cloths. 
  • Use once and it will last for months.

Cons

Cons:

  • May work better on electric than acoustic guitars 

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2. Gibson Gear Vintage Reissue Guitar Restoration Kit

This kit made by Gibson makes our list for best guitar cleaners. As it says on the packaging “makes old guitars look new again.” It’s coined as being exclusively for the Gibson nitrocellulose guitar finish. 

What this means is it’s applied many times over a few days with each new coat melting over the previous one and therefore making it so that you don’t have to sand each coat. 

However, this also works on all types of finishes. It includes a metal cleaner for your hardware, a fretboard cleaner, and a restoration finish cream. It comes with two  microfiber cloths and also is made in the USA. 

The cream works best if you rub it in (with a little elbow greases) then let it dry and buff it with the cloth. The metal cleaner may be the most challenging to use depending on the condition of your hardware. 

The cream also will polish out minor scuff but if you have a real scratch then you will need something else in addition to it. 

With regards to the sides and back of the guitar, this kit will not leave it feeling greasy which gives it a really nice and clean look. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Kit comes with a metal cleaner, fretboard cleaner, and restoration cleaner. 
  • Restores the shine to your guitar. 
  • Cleans and protects your guitar’s finish. 
  • Works for all guitar finishes. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Microfiber cloths may not last long.
  • Metal polish may not be effective depending on the condition of hardware. 

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3. Dunlop 6501 Formula 65 Guitar Polish Kit

The Dunlop Guitar Polish Kit is next up on our list for best guitar cleaner. This kit includes a body gloss cream of carnauba wax and a guitar polish. 

Made in the USA, Dunlop is a small family owned company that’s been in operation since 1965. This kit can be used for any lacquer guitar finish. It has everything you need to make your guitar shine like the stars.

This is a very easy to use kit and includes a polishing cloth. This won’t damage your finish and the cream buffs the surface very nicely.

The dirt and the dust on your guitar will be completely gone after using this product. It also applies nicely on your fretboard which will allow it to have a maximum shine and great playability after it’s use. 

If you have some pronounced scratched areas, this kit won’t assist with eliminating those from your guitar’s surface.

A little goes a long way so make sure you rub it in nicely and take your time to buff it off.  

Pros

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Produces a beautiful shine on your guitar. 
  • Removes dirt and dust from your guitar.
  • Smells great. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Cloth is flimsy. 
  • Won’t improve scratched areas. 

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4. Lizard Spit Guitar Finish 

Don’t be fooled by the funny name, as Lizard Spit has earned a spot on our list for best guitar cleaner.

It’s a 4 oz bottle that packs a punch. It contains special polymers that help protect your guitar from those annoying fingerprints and residue. 

Lizard Spit is great for use on metals, plastics, wood, and lacquered finishes. It also acts as a dust repellent. 

If used often it will help protect your finish from erosion. Like other cleaners, a little goes a long way. It won’t necessarily cover up those worn finishes but it will make them look much better. 

With Lizard Spit you won’t get the waxy build up or streaking like some of the others. It also doesn’t take much elbow grease to get the most out of it. 

For acoustic guitars, you will see the build up in those hard to see areas go away with the consistent use of this cleaner. The shine Lizard Spit produces will make your guitars look fantastic. It’s a cleaner you should consider for your guitar. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Works as a dust repellent. 
  • No waxy build up or streaking. 
  • Wipes off nice and clean. 
  • Will not strip raw wood. 
  • Won’t irritate skin. 
  • Works on all finishes.

Cons

Cons: 

  • Won’t cover up light scratches. 

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5. The String Cleaner by ToneGear

The products we have talked about up until now have been for cleaning and polishing your guitar body and finish. Now, we will take a look at a product that cleans an important part of your guitar…..the strings!!!!

ToneGear makes string cleaners for your guitar or your bass guitar. This string cleaner will preserve the life and overall tone of your guitar strings. 

It will remove the dirt, sweat, and oils from the strings. It features a microfiber pad which is cleanable.

Without damaging the fretboard, this cleaner will assist with the longevity of your strings and therefore decrease the need to change them often. 

Once applied on the strings then simply move it up and down the fretboard. It may take a little more force as you get up to the frets closest to the headstock and nut. 

This will also clean both sides of your strings. If you like your action low on your guitar then there may need to be some adjustments made. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Cleans strings fast. 
  • Features a reusable pad. 
  • Cleans both sides of your strings. 
  • Doesn’t require solvent or oils. 
  • Prolongs the life of your strings. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • If guitar action is low, it may be difficult to push under the strings. 

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6. Music Nomad FRINE Fret Polishing Kit

This is the 2nd product from Music Nomad that we have featured. Where the last product we looked at focused on the guitar strings, this polishing kit focuses on the fretboard. 

This made and formulated in the USA kit includes Frine Fret Polish that is designed to clean and polish all frets. The set also includes three fretboard guards. These guards have grip handles that keep your hands out of the way. 

The polish has micro-fine polishing compounds that will assist with removal of the oxidation and the damaging dirt on the frets. 

You will also get a microfiber suede cloth which will leave your fretboard looking bright and clean.

You can restore the smoothness and shine which will allow for your best playing. The grip fretboard guards may present a challenge as you have to hold them down with one hand and then polish with the other. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Formulated in the USA.
  • Safe for all types of metal frets. 
  • Kit comes with polish, three fretboard guards, and microfiber cloths. 
  • Fretboards guards prevent polish from getting over the fingerboard. 
  • Restores smoothness and shine to your frets.
  • No more masking the fretboards. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Fretboard guards may be flimsy and may bend easily. 

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Best Guitar Cleaner Buyer’s Guide 

The guitar is such an amazing instrument and beautiful to visually look at. You will want to make sure that you take good care of it and that you have the right cleaner to sustain it’s shine.

As you have already seen most of these cleaners come in a kit with other products and it goes well beyond the upkeep of the body. The strings and fretboard will also need some great tender love and care. 

Let’s look at some common questions that buyers may have before purchasing guitar cleaner. 

How often should I clean my guitar?

This is really a personal preference. I’ve seen guitar players out there never clean their guitar. This creates a build up of all sorts of dirt, gunk, and oils that are just not good for your guitar. They may whip down the surface of the guitar with a cloth but nothing more than that. 

Depending on how much you play, I would recommend after every time you play it to give it at least a nice surface level clean and light polish. 

With regards to the strings and the fretboard, I would suggest at least once a month to prolong the life of your strings and to make your fretboard look nice and new. 

What is a “total” cleaning?

A total cleaning is where you would take a part and dissemble the guitar and give it a very detailed and thorough cleaning. The process would look like something like this:

  • Removal of strings 
  • Remove tuning keys
  • Wipe down guitar dry with a cloth 
  • Clean pickguard with microfiber cloth
  • Polish the body and fretboard 
  • Reattached tuning keys 
  • Restring guitar and tune 

Is it safe to use guitar polish everywhere on the guitar?

It depends on the finish of your guitar. The fretboard’s finish you’d want to keep in mind. A maple finished fretboard requires less and a more basic cleaning. Using oils on a maple fretboard isn’t necessary. 

 A rosewood fretboard will require more detail and more attention. Rosewood is also more oily by nature so you will want to spend some more time with those types of fretboards. 

Will guitar cleaners/polish remove scuffs and scratches?

Some cleaners/polishes may remove some light scuffs or even very light scratches on your guitar.

With regards to the noticeable scratches these more than likely won’t take care of those. However, it is important to remember that guitars are meant to be played and dings and scratches will occur. Think of it as giving the guitar its own unique personality. 

Best Guitar Cleaner Conclusion 

If you are a guitar fanatic like me, then you will want to make sure that your guitar is taken care of. We all spend our hard earned money on it so we want to preserve it as much as possible. 

You may try some different polishes and cleaners throughout the years but it’s important to be consistent with it’s cleaning. 

It also goes beyond the body and the finish of the guitar. The fret and fingerboard and the strings are also important to upkeep. Yes it’s important to change the strings regularly but you also want to get as much use out of them as you can.   

Remember to be proud when displaying your guitar for everyone to see and most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!!

 

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