Proper care and maintenance is an often-overlooked aspect of guitar ownership. Just as with any investment, it’s always a good idea to keep your guitar in peak condition. Maintenance is so much more than changing strings and lubricating your nut, though. One of the most important jobs is in fact, one of the simplest – we’re talking about cleaning.
Just as you wouldn’t wash your car with dish soap, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right products when you do clean your guitar. Some guitars, like Gibsons for example, have natural nitro finishes that can react badly with certain types of chemicals. Similarly, there’s a big difference in the products you’ll need to clean a rosewood or ebony fretboard vs a maple board.
With that in mind we’ve put together the most comprehensive roundup on the internet – in this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we’ll be looking at the 9 best guitar cleaning polishing kits on the market. When reviewing each we looked at a number of factors, including price, what kind of products were included, if any accessories were included, the smell, and the overall quality of the products.
If you’re guilty of cleaning your guitar with regular household products, or you’ve just never really thought about giving your guitar a proper clean, you won’t want to miss this!
Features: Quality travel case, Includes headstand, Fret polishing system
Benefits: Turn key kit, Ideal for travel, Top quality products
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Features: Precise spray bottle, Quality microfiber cloth, Natural fretboard oil
Benefits: Great conditioning properties, Provides UV protection, Oil suitable for all fretboard woods
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Features: Soft microfiber cloth, All in one spray, US made
Benefits: Pleasant smelling, Effective cleaning, Convenient wipe on/off polish
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- Our Top 3
- Individual Reviews
- Music Nomad Premium Guitar Care 3 Piece Kit
- Ernie Ball Instrument Polish
- D'Addario Instrument Care Kit
- Gibson Vintage Reissue Restoration Kit
- Dunlop Body and Fingerboard Cleaning Kit
- Dunlop 6500 System 65 Guitar Maintenance Kit
- Music Nomad Premium Guitar Care 5 Piece Kit
- Martin Instrument Polish and Cleaner
- Fast Guitar Strings Cleaner and Eraser
- How to Choose The Best Kit For You
- Final Thoughts
Our Top 3
Our top pick is the the Music Nomad MN140 Premium Guitar Care 3-Piece Kit. It comes with a premium all-in-one cleaning compound, an effective fingerboard oil, and a fine microfiber cloth to wipe everything down. Some guitar cleaning kits don’t give you everything you need to look after the entire instrument, but the MN140 has it all. If you want a turn key kit, this one represents a great blend of features and affordability.
If you’re trying not to spend too much, try our best budget pick – this simple Ernie Ball Instrument Polish. This polish has a thinner formula than some other guitar polishing compounds, so you can easily spray it on your guitar body for extra convenience. The bottle is still the same size as you’d get in one of the bigger kits, and a little goes a long way. It’s a great deal for under $10, and it comes with a microfiber cloth.
For a truly complete all-in-one guitar cleaning kit, our Editor’s Choice award goes to the D’Addario Accessories Instrument Care Kit. It is on the high end of the price range, but it’s fully justifiable when you consider how comprehensive it is. This kit came with a foldable stand and protective mat, as well as all the cleaning compounds you we needed. We were able to get a a pro-level finish, without having to pay for the pro-level labor. This kit went way beyond the typical polish-and-cloth, and we think it’s a great investment.
Read below for more about our top picks, and check out some other options to find the best guitar-cleaning kit for you, whether you’re cleaning an electric or acoustic, or your focus is on the body, strings or even the electrical contacts.
Easy to use and excellent quality products.
The all in one cleaner, polisher and wax makes guitar care a breeze, and the quality fretboard oil smells good and nourishes well.
- 2 oz pro-strength formula all in one cleaner
- 0.5 oz fingerboard oil
- Polish cloth
Our top pick based on price and performance was the MN140 guitar care kit from Music Nomad. The kit contained only a single all-in-one cleaning fluid with a fretboard oil, but the Guitar ONE fluid was pretty impressive. Its unique formula was developed to take the place of a range of guitar care products, streamlining them into one tiny bottle, meaning we were able to get everything into the gig bag with ease. It cleaned and polished as really well, plus it also waxed and enhanced the gloss. The best part? The formula was completely organic.
This cleaning kit is safe for use on lacquered instruments, and didn’t leave any unwanted streaks. It was super easy to use, and we think no matter your experience in cleaning guitars, you’ll get great results. The bonus waxing-like capabilities provided great protection for our guitar bodies. This kit was really good value for money.
The Fretboard F-ONE Oil is an ideal complimentary oil. It contained only natural ingredients, which actually meant it was safe for lighter woods. Maple is notoriously difficult to care for, and many of the more common guitar cleaning and nourishing oils on the market can irreparably damage it, but the F-ONE oil works great on pretty much every wood.
In the MN140 kit, we also got a microfibre suede cloth, designed especially to use with the two products. The seamless edges prevented it from catching on string windings, and ensured that it didn’t leave any lint bobbles on the fingerboard.
Verdict: The Music Nomad MN140 Premium Guitar Care Kit is great for pretty much every kind of guitar. It’s simple but effective, and covers both your guitar body and fretboard, unlike some other kits on the market. If you’re looking for a great guitar cleaning kit, you can’t go wrong with this all-in-one package.
A simple polishing solution for a flawless shine.
This Ernie Ball instrument polish simply sprays on and wipes off using the included microfiber cloth for a breathtaking shine that also provides protection for your guitar's finish.
Ernie Ball’s polish is convenience at its best
- Bare-bones guitar care option
- Generous 4oz bottle
- Safe for nitrocellulose and natural finishes
- All-in-one solution
- Low price
If you’re just figuring out your guitar cleaning needs, or you just want a convenient spray, the Ernie Ball Instrument Polish is a great option. We got double the fluid ounces of some other brand-name options for almost half the price.
The fluid is thinner than some others available on the market, which gives it good dispersion from the spray nozzle. We thought it was best for cleaning off fingerprints from every-day use, but it was still a good option for getting rid of fretboard grime. We found that the scent was light, and didn’t linger after use.
The Ernie Ball spray was good for polishing body wood and pickguards, and it was safe for nitrocellulose and natural finishes. We didn’t need to remove, or avoid strings when using it either, which is a plus. It even acted as a string conditioner, though it wasn’t the primary purpose.
The main job of this guitar cleaner was to tend to the bodywork. It left a protective layer but wasn’t tacky to the touch. After use we still found that scaling the neck was still smooth and easy. We also found that this spray brought out colors and wood grain, and really helped our guitars pop.
It came with a good-sized, branded microfiber cloth for polishing. The cloth edges were double overlocked to prevent lint issues, and to prevent it from fraying.
Verdict: The Ernie Ball Instrument Polish is a no-nonsense, all-in-one spray. It’s convenient and ideal for most guitars out there, and it won’t break the bank. You might want to go a different route if you want to clean your fretboard or go more heavy-duty, but for general body cleaning, this spray does the job just fine at a bargain price.
The ultimate package for cleaning and finish protection.
If you're looking to take serious care of your instrument look no further. This kit is loaded with everything you need to clean, nourish, polish, and protect your most prized guitars.
- 3-step polishing system
- Hydrate fretboard cleaner
- Fret polishing system
- XLR8 string lubricant
- Range of other accessories
- Travel/storage case
At the opposite end of the spectrum, this D’Addario Accessories Instrument Care Kit had literally everything we needed to clean our guitars, and then some.
The 3-step polishing system consisted of a cleaner, wax, and restorative detailer. The cleaning fluid was non-abrasive and non-alcoholic. It came in a spray bottle for easy application, and was able to handle pretty much any level of grime. Our guitars really looked rejuvenated after using this array of products. The highlight for us was the detail restoring solution, which brought out all the beautiful details in our guitars that had been obscured with age and dirt.
It had a separate flip-top bottle of fingerboard conditioner, which was ideal for rosewood, pau ferro, laurel, ebony, and other dark woods. We even got five sheets of disposable fret polishing sheets to work on fret wires with. The packet included two different templates: one with narrow slots, the other jumbo, allowing us to really work the frets without damaging the fretboard.
There was also a jar of string lubricant, for cleaning strings and conditioning them. This gave them that new string feeling, and we really thought it helped them last longer.
Also included in this kit was a non-slip protective body mat and a headstand rest. This allowed us to safely apply some pressure while we cleaned, and really get into all the nooks and crannies. The mat and headstand rest all fitted compactly in the case, so this kit wasn’t too bulky. It also came with a microfiber cloth.
Verdict: The D’Addario Accessories Instrument Care Kit provides all the essentials, and a whole lot more. It’s a contender for the best kit, but it is a little expensive and therefore not great for beginners. Invest in this kit if you know you’re committed to taking great care of your guitar.
The perfect solution for maintenace of vintage guitars.
This cleaning and restoration kit has been designed with vintage instruments in mind, with products like metal cleaner and a restorative finish cream to breath life into old parts and dried out nitro.
- 2 oz low-abrasion metal cleaning fluid
- 2 oz premium fretboard conditioner
- 2 oz restoration cream
- 2 x cleaning cloths & application micro-brush
- Nitro-cellulose safe electric guitar cleaning kit
Your guitar’s finish should be the single most important factor when choosing a guitar care kit, it’s really important to make sure you’re choosing chemicals that are safe for your guitar’s finish. The Gibson Gear Vintage Reissue Guitar Restoration Kit was specifically made for Gibson guitars, so you can use it safe in the knowledge that it won’t cause damage to the notoriously finicky nitro finish. It also came with a metal cleaning solution that was perfect for polishing hardware, as well as fret wires and strings.
The fretboard conditioner had a nice lemon scent, so our guitars felt extra fresh as we cleaned. We were able to use this conditioner on both finished and unfinished woods, and a little went a long way. It also came with two microfiber polishing cloths and a micro-sized applicator brush that had a resealable plastic casing to keep it stored in.
Because it was literally designed for vintage guitars, it was quite a delicate cleaner. If you have decades of grime and dirt to take care of, we’d still recommend you use something like this kit, but just know that it’s not going to obliterate grime quickly like a more intense product would. Plus, before cleaning a vintage guitar, particularly a vintage Gibson, we’d always recommend getting it checked out by a pro to make sure you’re not damaging any kind of patina that would add to the value.
The finishing cream had a streak-free formula, and was able to polish both the body and neck. But again, we did need to give it a bit of elbow grease for the results, but it gives your guitar a great face-lift.
Verdict: The Gibson Gear Vintage Reissue Guitar Restoration Kit is a good, comprehensive guitar maintenance kit. It provides a full cleanse and conditioning solution for your guitars, and even though it’s not the strongest on the market, it’s great for Gibson owners, particularly those with vintage models.
Tried and tested cleaning solution and fretboard oil.
This is a simple kit that does the job well with a non corrosive cleaning solution in a handy spray bottle, a quality microfiber cloth and some high quality (and great smelling) lemon oil for the fretboard.
- Combo kit
- 4oz formula 65 polish
- 4oz ultimate lemon oil
- 2 microfiber polish cloths
- Realistic price-tag
This acoustic guitar cleaning kit from Dunlop is an affordable and practical option for players who only use acoustic guitars. Essentially, it’s a combination of two of the company’s best-selling maintenance products.
We loved the Formula 65 polish for buffing our acoustic guitar bodies. It provided a thorough clean, and best of all didn’t leave any residue, so we didn’t have to wait to pick up the guitar and get playing after we’d cleaned it. What it did leave, however, was a protective seal that helped keep preserve the guitar’s moisture and also provided stain resistance. It was abrasive-free and was formulated to be safe enough for daily use.
Lemon oil is the go to cleaner and nourisher for a lot of players, and this Dunlop lemon oil was great quality. The scent wasn’t overpowering, or too artificial smelling, and it did a great job of removing buildup along the fretboard, breaking down grease and lifting the grime with very little effort. If you find that you tend to accumulate a lot of dirt on your fretboard, this is a great choice.
Alongside the 4oz bottles, Dunlop also included two microfiber polishing cloths. As we did, you should use one cloth separately for each product so that they don’t mix. Unfortunately, the cloths were on the smaller side, so you may need to replace them before too long – but any microfiber cloth will be fine as a replacement.
Verdict: The Dunlop Acoustic Guitar Cleaning Kit is great for acoustic guitar users who want quality products, but don’t want to break the bank. It makes use of two tried and tested, industry standard products, and we have to say, the quality was excellent. If you’re a first-time buyer of a guitar cleaning kit, this one is trustworthy and not too expensive.
A comprehensive collection of cleaning and maintenance products.
In this kit you're getting a full range of products that will allow you to clean and prep your guitar, condition and nourish the wood, and finally polish to your desired finish with the included microfiber cloths.
- Body Polish and Cleaner
- Bodygloss Cream
- Bottle of Ultraglide String Conditioner
- Fingerboard Cleaner
- Deep Conditioner fingerboard Oil
- 2 100% Cotton polishing cloths
The Dunlop 6500 System guitar polish kit came with five individual solutions, each dedicated to a specific guitar cleaning task. This comprehensive kit came with everything we needed for the neck, fretboard, and body.
Like the affordable Dunlop 65 bundle earlier in the roundup, this kit came with a spray-top bottle of Formula No.65 to clean and polish the body, but in addition, we also got 4oz of body gloss. The gloss is a cream of carnauba, a type of Brazilian palm-wax that you might recognize if you’re into auto detailing – this natural product does a fantastic job of adding gloss to a guitar’s finish, and was our favorite thing about the kit.
We also got two-step fingerboard maintenance from the cleaning and preparation solution. Once we’d shifted the dirt off the fretboard, we tackled it with the deep conditioner for a glassy smooth feel. This left it protected against sweat and staining, and brought dry any wood back to life. The conditioner was in a smaller bottle than the rest, but it went a long way.
For the strings, there was a 2-in-1 bottle of Dunlop Ultraglide to cleanse and condition them. We got two cotton cloths, as well as a Micro Fine Fret Polishing Cloth.
Verdict: This guitar care kit is jam-packed, and checks all the boxes for proper guitar care. If like us, you think of guitar cleaning and maintenance as therapeutic, and you like to take your time over each detail, then the Dunlop 6500 System 65 Guitar Maintenance Kit is perfect for you.
Quality cleaning and restoration products from a trusted brand.
This 5 piece Music Nomad kit features 2 premium microfiber cloths for easy application of the quality polish and fretboard oil solutions that will help to keep your guitar in pristine condition.
- 4 oz Guitar ONE all-in-one solution
- 4 oz Extra deep polish
- 2 oz Fretboard F-ONE oil
- Affordably priced
Music Nomad’s 5-piece kit is an alternative guitar care kit that provides super thorough care. We were able to use the regular Guitar ONE spray-on solution for general cleaning and maintenance, saving the deep polish to give it a little extra shine in time for a gig night.
The polish was infused with Brazilian carnauba palm-wax, which has restorative properties. It works great on older models that have been through some wear and tear, reviving dull bodywork to bring it life. It was very easy to work into the wood and left an undetectable surface coating.
The guitar ONE formula functioned as a 3-in-1 cleanser, polish, and wax. This made it great for glossy guitars, and we only had to haul around one bottle instead of three. It was also made from organic ingredients. The F-ONE oil cleaned and conditioned our fretboards, and again, it’s 100% natural.
In this kit, we got two of the company’s lint-free, microfibre, suede cloths. They were seamless and densely woven with 90,000 microfibres per square inch, which is pretty impressive.
Verdict: Music Nomad MN108 Premium Guitar Care 5-Piece Kit is another great premium guitar cleaning kit. The 3-in-1 cleaner is great if you’re on the go, so this kit is great for touring musicians.
Gentle yet effective guitar cleaner for high end instruments.
Keeping an acoustic guitar clean is vital for preserving its proper tone and keeping the wood in top condition, and this Martin cleaner and polish spray will help you to clear away dirt and debris without damaging the instrument.
- 6 oz bottle
- Spray-pump nozzle
- Cleans & polishes
- For finished guitars
Another bare-bones option for those who want an easy clean is the Martin Instrument Polish & Cleaner. It applied a fine mist very evenly to help keep our instruments pristine. It also left behind a protective layer. This instrument polish and cleaner can’t be used on natural finishes or satin finishes, but if you have a gloss finish guitar then it’s another good low-budget choice.
If you have a second-hand guitar with a glossy finish, or any glossy body that could do with a deep-clean, this formula is a safe bet. Even though it’s more of a niche product, it did its job very well, and removes grime like a dream.
We got six fluid ounces for a great price. It had a non-abrasive formula, but was pretty strong, so we recommend you wear gloves when you use it. This spray is good for at-home, heavy duty cleanings. It quickly broke down dirt without needing to soak, making it easy to shift with a cloth. It did a good job with restoring older wood, and gave it a good polish, bringing out its highlights and adding shine. It dried quickly and didn’t leave any streaks behind.
You can use this cleaner on frets, although, you may prefer a fret conditioning product to use with it as it is mainly designed to use on your bodywork. You’ll also have to get your own cloth and gloves for this one.
Verdict: Straight from the Martin factory, the Martin Instrument Polish & Cleaner is the company’s tried and tested, 2-in-1 cleaner. All of their guitars are prepped with this before leaving the site, so you know you’re getting the real deal. This formula is not for the faint of heart, but it’s a good choice if you want something super strong and effective.
Bring your strings back to life with this deruster and lubricant wand.
As unusual as it looks, this hand held wand efficiently removes rust and corrosion from strings with one side, and lubricates them with the other, all without chemicals, helping you to save money and extend their life.
- Double-headed design
- Cleans rust
- Lubricates with oil
- Lightweight and easy to store
- Works on a range of stringed instruments
- Accessibly priced
If you change your strings less often and like to keep them pristine, this product is great for you. The Fast Guitar Strings Dual-Head Cleaner is a 2-in-1 tool focused specifically on string restoration and protection. If you have a neglected instrument that you don’t want to restring just yet, this is ideal.
This product came with a double-headed, strong ABS plastic applicator that houses two different kinds of felts. One was designed for removing layers of rust and surface dirt, and the other for lubricating the strings afterwards.
The grey rust-tackling felt has a heavy-duty weave, so we didn’t have to apply a lot of pressure to get the debris moving. The second white lubricating felt was lightly woven from a softer fiber and applied oil to the strings. It helped to condition them and left an imperceptible residue that protected them against further oxidization.
This tool had a slider in the middle so we could adjust the length, and the felt was already cut at the perfect angle for convenient cleaning. The rust removal capabilities were impressive. It left strings smooth and feeling new, and this effect lasts a long time before you have to do it again. One bonus is that when the oil runs out, you can still use the cleaning end of the tool with your own formula.
Verdict: This string cleaner is super convenient and great for any guitar enthusiast’s tool-built. If you collect older guitars and want to keep the strings in perfect shape, then the Fast Guitar Strings Dual-Head Cleaner will work great for you. It’s a once-in-a-while practice to make your strings last longer.
How to Choose The Best Kit For You
A guitar, like any instrument, no matter how much, or how little you paid for it, is an investment. The more you put into your guitar, the more you’ll get out of it, and that doesn’t just mean practice!
Not only does a clean guitar look nicer, but it more than likely sounds better, too. The grime that builds up on strings, pickups and other components can interfere with your tone, leaving you with a dull sounding instrument.
Keep reading to find out more about what you should be looking for in the best guitar cleaning kits:
A good guitar cleaning kit should come with at least one cloth, preferably microfiber or chamois. Terry towel, muslin, linen and other types of cloth should be avoided as their fibers don’t pick up as much dirt, and can also leave fine scratches on delicate guitar finishes. On the other hand, microfiber does an excellent job of trapping dirt, and won’t leave scratches like rougher fibers can.
Bonus points for the kit if it has 2 cloths, in which case you can use one for rubbing in the cleaning or polishing solution, and another for polishing it off. A 2 cloth polishing system will let you get the best possible finish, while using the products to their maximum efficiency
Finish Specific Products
If you’ve spent thousands on a custom shop guitar, it’s essential that you use the right cleaning products for the finish that has been applied. Gibson, for example uses nitrocellulose lacquer, which is much more likely to be damaged by harsh chemicals than a polyurethane finish would be. In all, be sure to check that whichever guitar cleaning kit you’re buying is safe for the finish on your guitar.
Guitars should be stabilized when cleaning them, and as such the proper neck supports should be used to keep yours from wobbling around while cleaning. This will not only make cleaning easier, but it will also help to prevent damage caused by drops if you leave your guitar unstabilized while cleaning. Some kits come with neck supports included – this is a great accessory to look for.
Some guitar cleaning kits are simply a bottle of cleaning spray and a cloth. Cleaning your guitar isn’t even half of the process. In fact, deep cleaning without nourishing and polishing can leave your guitar in worse condition.
When using cleaning products, particularly on open pore wood like your fretboard, you strip away the wood’s natural oils along with the grime that you’re trying to get rid of. Once your guitar is cleaned, it’s important to replenish these naturally protective oils to prevent your guitar from drying out. Good cleaning kits will have a grime stripper, fretboard oil, and sometimes wax to keep the bodywork in pristine condition.
We hope our genuine in-depth reviews will help you find the right guitar cleaning and polish kit for your needs. We depend on you spreading the word about KillerGuitarRigs in order to keep making these free guides and resources, so feel free to share this article with your friends.
To recap our favorites, if you’re looking for a quality kit with a range of great products included at a fair price, our Top Pick, the Music Nomad MN140 Premium Guitar Care 3 Piece Kit is a great choice. If you’re just looking for the cheapest possible cleaning kit, we’d recommend our Best Budget choice, the Ernie Ball Instrument Polish Kit. If you don’t mind spending a bit more to get the best set on the market, look no further than our Editor’s Choice, the D’Addario Accessories Instrument Care Kit.
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