Can I Use Alcohol to Clean My Guitar Body?


Maintaining your guitar in good condition is among the crucial things players should be practicing. Cleanliness keeps you safe from dirt and ensures good body health. And for this reason, it is important always to clean your guitar. But can I use alcohol to clean my guitar body?

Alcohol is unsafe to clean a guitar’s body because it may interfere with the finish. There are woods and finish types used to make guitars’ bodies. Different solvents perform differently on the wood and finish and can be a bit harsh, and the results could not be encouraging. When you use alcohol, it may cause the finish to ‘cloud’ over and even haze.

It’ll be best to use dry lint-free cloths or other methods that won’t interfere with the finish. However, the body is not only the part to clean on your guitar. Other parts like the fretboard and strings also need your cleaning. To properly clean without causing any damage is a key thing to consider. This article is here and will be of great use to you.

How Can You Clean the Body of Your Guitar?

The body of the guitar is large and the part that is always in contact with your body. So, maintaining it clean will be of great importance. However, you do not want to cause any damage to your guitar’s body. Below are the best methods to apply when cleaning without causing any damage to the body wood or finish.

Cleaning the Acoustic Guitar Body

Using a Piece of Cloth

The body may stick with dust particles, and using a piece of cloth to clean it could be of great help. It’s recommended to clean every day so that you prevent the building up of dust or any unwanted substances that could be hard to get off.

It will be of great help if you use soft microfiber cloth because the hard and rough microfibers can damage the finish during the cleaning of the body of the guitar. Also, do not use much water; a little sprinkle on the cloth is much better than a lot. A lot of water may spill up on the steel, damaging it and damaging the guitar’s exterior. Also, when the water finds its way into the control cavities, it can cause extreme damage to the electronics. This is applicable mainly when you have active pickups. The active signals running to the speaker and receiver could cause shocks when the guitar is plugged into an amp.

Using a Polish Cleaner

Polish cleaner is also a great deal when cleaning the guitar’s body. Polish cleaner is best because it does not interfere with the body finish of your guitar and the electronics. It functions by dissolving dirt and grease. It also protects the body from future dirt build-up and helps condition the finish.

Polish cleaner is among the effective ways to make your guitar look as brand new as the time you bought it from the store.

Preventing the Building up of Dirt

The best way to always maintain your guitar clean is by preventing the building up of dirt. This could be very challenging to some people, but there exist softer cases you can use for both electric and acoustic guitars. However, there are challenging ways to prevent dirt from building up on the guitars when you love displaying guitars in your room.

Arguably, your guitar will be more exposed to the air conditions, and it could be challenging to control the building up of the dirt. If you need to prevent dirt from building up, you have to clean your guitar continuously. This way could be of great help to you. However, you should not constantly use a polish cleaner to clean the guitar because it may end up causing some problems. However, if correctly used, it will greatly minimize the issues.

Also, a nice step is to wipe out your guitar after every use. To wipe, use a lint-free microfiber. As you clean, dirt sticks on the piece of the microfiber. So make sure to continuously change it when cleaning to avoid dirt from building up on the cloth because it could result in not cleaning the body well.

Also, maintaining the body clean is not only the key to making your guitar clean. It would help if you also cleaned your guitar strings because they are more prone to contamination. This could make the strings last longer, thus saving your pocket due to repairs.

What Should I Use to Clean the Body of My Guitar?

Owning a guitar means some extra work to do on your guitar to keep it clean. There are cleaning techniques you can use without damaging the body wood. Here are the tips to use:

Cleaning Guitar

1. Use water and mild soap when cleaning the guitar’s body and neck. You should also make sure the cloth you use is lint-free to avoid any possibilities of damage to the wood.

2. Use a soaped cloth to clean and dry the body of the instrument

3. Whenever you find stains on the wood, use polish or wood cleaner before you wipe down the wood.

4. If you have to replace the strings, remove all the old string dirt and grease before you install new ones.

5. Avoid using abrasive cleaners and harsh chemicals to avoid damaging the wood finish of your guitar.

6. If you are not using a guitar, store it in a cool and dry place. Too much humidity may cause the wood to swell and eventually crack.

Your guitar is more prone to catching dust and dirt during play due to fingerprints, sweat, and dirt on the instrument. If not properly maintained, the dirt could become cluttered, and the dirt could get challenging to remove.

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How Should I Polish the Body of My Guitar?

Most players love using polish to enhance the extra shining of the body of the guitar. But it would help if you never forgot that the finish could get damaged easily, so you do not want to use chemicals that can do more harm. There are polish you can feel safe using, and you can find them in almost all get stores around you. You should sparingly use them. You should spritz a small amount on top of your guitar body and use a piece of a soft cloth and use it to wipe across the guitar’s surface.

The polish cleans the surface quickly and can also self-dry, so when polishing the surface, you should do it lightly to remove any excess polish. After that, turn the rag on the dry side and use it to wipe the polish again. Just like when polishing any instrument. Repeat the procedure on all sides of the guitar’s body and ensure the surface is clean.

Also, pay attention to using a piece of satin when cleaning because you won’t use extra effort to keep the body shiny. Also, the piece of cloth will not leave any abrasion on the guitar’s body and will maintain the shiny outlook. Make sure the piece of fabric you are using is free of dirt and debris. You do not want the debris to scrub and damage the finish. The last thing you want is to end up with an attractive surface. This is why you should use a soft clean cloth to wipe down dirt before polishing.


Alcohol is not safer to use for cleaning your guitar’s body. It can interfere with the finish on the body of the guitar. However, other methods can serve best when cleaning your guitar’s body and may never cause any damage. The body is not only the key feature to make clean. You should also consider cleaning the strings because they are more prone to contamination.

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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