How to Clean Your Guitar Strings

A guitar relies so heavily on its strings not just because they make it function (of course) but they add a lot to the tone of your instrument and the whole sound you’re attempting to create. Strings are underrated! Sure, they can be a pain to replace, and when they break it is not only the time but the money we spend to restring our guitars that can be really frustrating, but there are things you can definitely do in order to make your strings last longer, possibly the most important of which is cleaning your guitar strings. Cleaning wont just improve the shelf life of your strings but it will preserve the lovely tones of a freshly restrung instrument, so the benefits are clear to see. In this article I’m going to walk you through how to clean guitar strings on both electric and acoustic guitars.

Guitar String Cleaner

The most efficient way to clean your strings is with a product designed to do exactly that, fortunately we can buy these at a very affordable price. You don’t have to get one to do the job, but trust me, they’ll help, and they’ll pay for themselves in preservation.

This Fender “Slick” is not only easy to use, it is affordable, and even claims to increase playing speed by avoiding grubby strings. No complaints. To use this simply rest your guitar neck on a box or similar item before wiping from top to bottom (towards the body of your guitar) – works on both acoustic and electric and comes with a cool little case and awesome design. These can be used on their own or with a cleaning solution (we’ll get to that in the next bit).

Using Household Items/Without A “Cleaner”

This has the same effect, but is just a little less easy to do. Step by step guide:

  1. Rest the guitar on a box or similar (as with the cleaner)
  2. Find a towel or paper cloth
  3. Fold it in half so that you have a long, thin (2 inch ish) towel/cleaner
  4. Apply a cleaning solution if you wish, some people even choose to use WD40! This helps to clean and condition, again improving tone.
  5. slide half under the strings, keeping half on top, so that you’re wiping from both sides.
  6. Slide from neck down to body, wiping firmly without putting too much pressure on. Try not to move up and down as this will cause the dirt and grime that has built up just to spread around, if you need to wipe again use another towel.

You’re done! All clean. The solutions and added products are a real luxury, and even if you just have a paper towel to clean with it is better than nothing. Remember that the techniques above are only going to help you if your strings are in reasonable shape, it wont fix rust (though if you use WD40 it will prevent it) and it can’t turn back time, there are times when you simply need to replace your guitar strings as they all have a shelf life, but that’s what we’re here for. Check out our home page for the best guitar strings and brands available to you.