Your guitar is just like your car. When it is new, we all love it, care for it but eventually, we stop. This is detrimental to the life and sound of your guitar. Just like if you don't properly maintain your car, it will not run as smooth and will have a much shorter life. Maintenance of anything that you own is important. That is why, in this article, I will tell you about how you can clean the strings on your guitar with the best guitar string cleaners.
It is absolute nonsense that you do not have to clean your strings, you do! It is recommended that you change your guitar strings every 3 months. For the most part, that is a good rule of thumb. I, myself, prefer to change them every six months. So, to increase their life and still have them sound fresh and bright, I clean them once every week.
You can clean them every day as well and that is, of course, going to yield better results, but just like how it is not necessary to wax your car every day, the same rule applies here. Once a week, in most practical settings, works out to be the perfect number. So, let us start with the best guitar string cleaners:
BEST GUITAR STRING CLEANERS
1. STRING CLEANING SCRUBBER
My favorite way of cleaning guitar strings is using a scrubber. This is simply because of how easy it is and how conveniently you can get your hands on a cleaning cloth, no need to go outside. You can use any cloth for the most part but a microfibre cloth works the best.
If you wear spectacles as I do, you can use the cloth you get in the case. This best guitar string cleaners are just in the perfect size for me but it is entirely up to you. Strings accumulate a lot of gunk and grime.
You may not realize it at first but next time, compare your old guitar strings with a fresh one; the results will shock you. So, coming to the cleaning process, all you need to do is put the cloth underneath one of the strings, grab the cloth from the top and the bottom of the string and gently slide from the bridge to the neck (up and down basically).
You need to do this multiple times and at a nominal speed, don't rush it as you might cut yourself. If you start feeling the heat, you are going too fast. Loosen the strings' tension for conveniently reaching around the strings if you have fat fingers like me.
All done! Look at the cloth and see how much gunk there is. This part is optional. The strings should feel much better at touch now and should also look cleaner.
WHAT IS IT: A cleaning cloth, what it is is quite self-explanatory.
HOW IT WORKS: By applying a little pressure and run the cloth across the string, it removes all the gunk and grime on top of the string, on the area where you run the cloth.
HOW TO USE THEM: Slide the microfibre cloth underneath the guitar string from the bridge side and simply run it back and forth, up and down, from the bridge to the neck. Repeat this process multiple times.
ADVANTAGES OF USING CLOTH: Using a cloth is very easy, I am sure all of us have cleaned something or the other at some point in our life and cleaning cloths are very conveniently available.
2. STRING CLEANING BRUSH
If you feel cleaning strings with a cloth is too much work, well, you can purchase special tools to help fasten things up. One of those best guitar string cleaners is the special brush, which is made to make cleaning guitar strings much easier and faster.
There are multiple variations of these brushes, ranging from a simple microfibre cloth-attached-to-a-stick to a clamp with 2 microfibre cloth on the inside and capable of cleaning multiple strings on both sides of those strings simultaneously.
WHAT IS IT: A brush guitar cleaner is a special tool to more easily clean your strings.
HOW IT WORKS: Just like a cloth, you simply apply a bit of force upon the strings and slide the brush across.
HOW TO USE: It is basically a cloth on a stick, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out.
ADVANTAGES OF USING IT: The convenience factor, for the most part. You can clean multiple strings and not get your hands dirty. I would still recommend washing them afterward, though.
3. STRING CLEANING SOLUTION
Just like we discussed above, there are multiple tools designed specifically to clean guitar strings. So, naturally, there will be solutions that will help you clean your strings better and faster. To be very honest with you, for most guitarists, just wiping down your strings is going to be more than enough.
However, for those that wish to go the extra step, the ones with self-diagnosed OCD like me or those that play for a living, taking that extra step is the right decision. In this age of the internet, there is a lot of misinformation out there.
Everyone is obsessed with DIYs and Life Hacks, which is a great thing… provided it works. Regardless of what you might have heard, using rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol for cleaning your strings is not a very good idea.
Sure, they are quite effective at cleaning many other items but, unfortunately, not guitar strings because of one major issue. The fretboards in most guitars in lacquered. The alcohol will ruin the lacquer and can potentially damage non-lacquered fretboards as well. So, unless you are literally removing each string to clean it, avoid using rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.
You can buy the best guitar string cleaners in your local music store or on Amazon that will help you deeply clean away all the gunk and grime from your strings without damaging your fretboard.
WHAT IS IT: A Solution is a liquid chemical which can be used to clean your guitar strings better. Basically, a bar of soap for your guitar strings.
HOW IT WORKS: It loosens the grime and gunk from your strings, making it easier to remove them while wiping them down with a cloth.
HOW TO USE IT: Apply some of it on a clean cloth and rub it across the entire length of the string and then rub it on all sides of the string multiple times and then wipe away.
ADVANTAGE OF USING IT: It helps you clean your guitar strings better and more efficiently.
4. STRING LUBRICANT
When your strings are clean, they will start making those squeaking, scratching sounds when your fingers move around across the strings and fretboard. That means you did a good job as new strings, which are clean, make that sound. I am sure if you have been playing the guitar for a while, you must have noticed that. That is where you might want to get yourself some Lubricants.
WHAT IS IT: Lubricant is designed to help you get rid of the scratching noises created by clean or new strings.
HOW TO USE THEM: Using a Lubricant is quite similar to how you use a solution. All you have to do is apply some to a cloth and then rub that cloth across the entire length of your guitar strings whilst covering all sides. It is unnecessary to cover all sides as it is mostly the top of the strings that fingers make contact with; it takes like 30 seconds extra to be a bit more thorough and cover all sides. So, I would recommend doing that.
ADVANTAGES OF USING THEM: Lubricants are used to get rid of their scratching sounds. Some people actually like that scratching noise and feel it is unnecessary to apply a Lubricant, so it really comes down to personal preference.
Cleaning your guitar strings with the best guitar string cleaners should be a habit that I would recommend you develop. I have been playing for over 10 years now and I myself did not clean my guitar's strings over a very long period, a number I am ashamed to admit. However, it is a habit I developed eventually and there is no going back now.
Not only does your guitar look better, but it also sounds way better as well. The difference is quite noticeable, especially for someone with trained ears. You could get all kinds of tools to help you, but it is up to you to use them in the end. Anyways, that about wraps up this best guitar string cleaners article. I hope I can help you out, and now, you will start keeping your guitar strings clean as a relic.