While dust by itself doesn’t necessarily hurt the performance of a guitar, excessive dirt and grime are unsanitary and can lead to rust, which will eventually affect the tone of your guitar pickups. Therefore, taking good care of your guitar often includes doing your best to prevent dust buildup.
Here are four ways to keep your guitar from getting dusty:
- Clean and polish your guitar regularly.
- Keep your guitar in a high-quality case.
- Cover your guitar with a dust cover.
- Wipe your guitar down every time you play.
In the rest of this article, I’ll take you through these four simple yet effective ways of keeping your guitar from getting dusty. Let’s get started!
1. Clean and Polish Your Guitar Regularly
One of the best ways to keep your guitar in good condition and prevent excessive dust buildup is to clean it regularly and to use a high-quality guitar polish. Not only does a polish get rid of dust, but it also eliminates grime and fingerprints while helping your guitar look new again.
Here are some of my recommendations for the best guitar polishes and guitar care kits on the market. All links are to Amazon.com:
- Fender Guitar Super Care Kit. This bundle includes a bottle of each Fender guitar care product: cleaner, polish, quick clean, and fingerboard memory. The polish doesn’t leave any streaks, and all of the products are made without silicones, resins, polymers, or alcohol. Finally, this kit also comes with microfiber cloths with two sides for precision cleaning.
- Dunlop Guitar Polish & Cleaner. I recommend this one if you want to clean and polish with just one product. This affordable formula cleans quickly and efficiently, leaving a thin, stain-resistant layer that helps prevent dust buildup. This product is also gentle enough for daily use.
- MPEDOUR Guitar Care Cleaning Kit. This kit contains everything that you need to keep your guitar clean and dust-free, including cleaner polish, lemon oil, string cleaner and lubricant, wax, a string winder, and microfiber cloths. The cleaner and the polish contain no wax, petroleum, or harsh chemicals that could damage your guitar.
- Ernie Ball Instrument Polish. This formula is oil-free and won’t leave any powdery residue on your guitar after you clean with it. Furthermore, the polish has been perfected, so it always leaves a streak-free finish. I also like that the polish comes with a microfiber cloth, so you don’t need to remember to buy a cloth separately.
- Careful-With-That-Axe Guitar Cleaning Kit. This kit only requires you to go through a quick two-step process. The polish is made with high-quality ingredients and nourishes the wood by restoring its natural oils. Furthermore, the fretboard oil effectively removes grease and grime and conditions the fretboard without leaving behind residue. These products are safe on any finish, including nitrocellulose, shellac, and polyester.
How To Clean Your Guitar
You must clean your guitar properly to ensure that dust doesn’t build up and to ensure that you don’t cause any damage. You especially have to take caution with old or vintage guitars, as they are more delicate and breakable. Here is the best way to clean your guitar:
- Acquire the proper materials. If you purchase one of the above cleaning kits, you’ll have everything that you need. If you don’t have a complete kit, you’ll need a microfiber cloth, guitar or glass cleaner, and guitar polish. Ensure none of the products you use include silicone or bleach, as these substances can damage a guitar, especially if it is particularly old.
- Remove your strings. Your cleaning products could damage your guitar strings, so be sure to take them off before you start the cleaning process.
- Use a cloth and cleaner to wipe the fretboard and the neck. This part of the guitar can pick up dust and natural oils from your fingers. Use your microfiber cloth to wipe away the grime gently.
- Use a different cloth and cleaner on the guitar’s body. Apply cleaner to the cloth and wipe down the guitar’s front, back, and sides in circular motions.
- Clean the tuning keys. The tuning keys can easily gather dust, so make sure you don’t forget to wipe them down.
- If you use an electric guitar, use polish on the pickups. Pickups can quickly get dusty and rusty, so it is important to keep them clean. You can unscrew the pickups using an Allen wrench and wipe away all the grime.
- Polish your guitar. Using polish is a great way to prevent dust buildup, but too much of the stuff can build up and influence the guitar’s sound. You shouldn’t use polish on vintage guitars because they have unique finishes that could be irreversibly damaged by polish.
I recommend the Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (available on Amazon.com) if you need a microfiber cloth. I especially like these because they are non-abrasive, so they won’t scratch the surface of your guitar. They can also be rinsed and reused hundreds of times so you won’t waste money on constantly repurchasing cloths.
Alternatively, you could use these Hricane Guitar Cloths (available on Amazon.com). These cloths easily pick up dust, dirt, and fingerprints, and the continuous fibers are lint-free and ultrasoft to prevent damage to your guitar. Finally, you can use these cloths on various instruments, including the violin, piano, clarinet, trumpet, and saxophone.
If you regularly clean your guitar, you won’t give dust the chance to build up. Furthermore, you’ll keep your guitar looking brand-new and have a more sanitary playing experience.
2. Keep Your Guitar in a High-Quality Case
Another effective way to keep your guitar from getting dusty is to keep it in a high-quality case when you’re not using it. As tempting as it may be to keep your beautiful guitar on display for all to see, this exposes the guitar to all elements, including dust.
Guitar cases are hard cases with some sort of foam or plush material on the inside that helps ensure the safety of your guitar. Alternatively, you can use a gig bag made of durable fabric and foam. Gig bags will also help prevent your guitar from getting too dusty, but they aren’t as protective as hardshell cases.
Hard cases are more effective in preventing dust buildup. Additionally, they are better for people who frequently travel, whether it’s by plane, bus, or van. Guitars can easily get damaged during transport, and hard cases are your best bet at preventing this type of damage.
Gig bags are easier to move around because they are more lightweight and can be carried like a backpack. These bags are also more affordable than hard cases, so if you’re on a tight budget, a gig bag may be the better option for you.
Hard cases help maintain a consistent humidity level and keep dust away from your guitar. This prevents cracks and warping.
To purchase the right case, you’ll need to know the shape of your guitar. There are four categories:
- Telecaster or Stratocaster. Although these guitars produce different sounds, they have the same shape and include Fender, Yamaha, Super Strat, Jackson, and other variants.
- Les Paul. These guitars have thick bodies, short necks, and angled headstocks. Therefore, guitars with this shape need a case that is specific to them.
- Offset. Offset guitars have asymmetrical bottoms and tops. Explorers, Firebirds, and Jaguars have this shape.
- Semi-hollow Body or Hollow Body. Grestch, Sheraton, and Dot sell guitars with these shapes. Typically, large gig bags or cases will fit this shape.
Here are some recommendations for the best guitar cases to protect your guitar from dust buildup. All links are to Amazon.com:
- Fender Deluxe Molder Stratocaster. This case is made with military-grade ABS plastic, so it is sturdy and protective. Inside, the polyester fur is great for keeping your guitar safe from damage. I also like the storage compartment, which is big enough for your strings, cables, and a strap.
- MONO M80 Dreadnought Guitar Case. This case is lightweight, but that doesn’t mean it won’t protect your guitar. The webbing, stitching, reinforcements, and water-resistant outer shell all contribute to a long-lasting and protective bag that will keep your instrument safe from damage and dust. The ABS panels and foam bumpers inside add another level of protection.
- Gretsch G6238FT Electromatic Guitar Case. This is an excellent option for you if you’re on a tighter budget. Despite the affordable price, this case still provides great protection. The plush interior is snug and will help prevent dust from gathering on your guitar.
- TKL Archtop Electric Guitar Case. This case is incredibly durable and resistant to changes in humidity and temperature. The molded handle and thick plush interior add to the value of this case and make it an excellent purchase for anyone seeking a case that will protect their guitar in various situations. Additionally, TKL provides a lifetime warranty with any purchase.
- ChromaCast CC-EHC-KIT-3 Electric Guitar Case. This hardwood case may be heavy, but it is extremely effective for protecting your guitar and preventing it from getting dusty. The case is lockable, so if you have a valuable guitar and are worried about security, this is a great choice. I also like the sturdy chrome latches and bumpers on the bottom of the case.
Here are my suggestions for gig bags:
- Water-Resistant 41-Inch Guitar Bag. This polyester bag is water-resistant and lightweight. I also like the front zipper pocket, which is large enough to hold a tablet, picks, cords, tuner, or other accessories. The bag also comes with a shoulder strap and dual zippers.
- Gator Electric Guitar Gig Bag. This high-quality gig bag is made with weather-resistant blended fabric. I also like the rubber tread on the bottom of the bag, which prevents wear and tear. Inside, there is a 20 mm (0.8 in) thick foam padding with plush micro-fleece lining, ensuring your instrument’s protection.
- ChromaCast Electric Guitar Padded Bag. This is a great option for those on a tight budget. The bag is made from Nylon, and the inside doesn’t have a lot of padding; however, the bag will still protect your guitar from dust, and the bottom is fully rubberized to further protect your instrument from damage.
- Hola! Music Electric Guitar Bag This bag is made of abrasion-resistant and extremely smooth nylon, and the bottom is outlined with hard rubber to protect the instrument from damage. The best part of this bag is the neck support pillow on the inside, which helps protect this vulnerable part of your instrument. The inside also features anti-scratch pads that protect the bridge and the headstock.
- MONO M80 Electric Guitar Case. This case is top-loading and stands up, so you’ll have quick access to your guitar without having to lay the bag down on the floor. This bag also features a patented neck suspension system with a headlock molded from EVA rubber, which will help protect your guitar’s neck should you accidentally drop the bag on the ground. A small storage pouch can also fit a laptop or cables.
One of the best ways to keep your guitar from getting dusty is to keep it stored away in a snug and high-quality case so it isn’t exposed to the dust particles in the air. The above are some of the best guitar cases you can get your hands on.
3. Cover Your Guitar With a Dust Cover
If you don’t want to put your guitar in its case or gig bag every time you’re done playing, you can prevent dust by covering it with a dust cover instead. This is quicker and easier than putting your guitar in a case every time, and it is still effective in preventing your guitar from getting too dusty.
Another benefit to using a dust cover instead of a case is that many covers are big enough to cover a variety of guitar shapes and sizes, so you don’t need to worry about buying a specific type.
Here are my recommendations for the best dust covers for your guitar. All links are to Amazon:
- WECALTH Guitar Dust Cover. This cover bag is made with durable PEVA material, which is suitable for protecting your guitar from dust and scratches. This bag is big enough to cover various guitar shapes and sizes, including electric and acoustic. This dust cover also comes with a polishing cloth, so you can easily clean it by wiping it down with the cloth.
- Topnix Guitar Dust Cover. This dust cover is durable and waterproof, protecting your guitar from dust and any water or humidity that the instrument may be exposed to. The cover is large and long, so it is compatible with many stringed instruments. The cover comes with a microfiber suede cleaning cloth that you can use for both the bag and the guitar. It also comes with a guitar pick holder for all your picks.
- UXELY Guitar Dust Cover. This bag is transparent, so this is a great option if you have a cool or vintage guitar that you want to show off but you still want to protect from dust. I also appreciate the portable design because the bag is easily foldable and can fit in a backpack. Finally, the matte PVC material can be cleaned with a wet towel or hand washed if it gets dirty.
- KUTRAL Guitar Dust Cover. This fabric cover comes with a black lining, which will protect your guitar from dust, dirt, and moisture. The silver reflective side deflects the sun’s rays, which prevents UV damage to your instrument. The guitar cover is forty-three inches long, so it is large enough to cover your entire guitar and keep it protected. This cover also comes with six celluloid guitar picks.
- SYCOOVEN Guitar Dust Cover. The matte PVC cloth this dust cover is made from is moisture-proof, durable, and effective in keeping dust away from your guitar. I also appreciate the fact that you can choose between the matte style and the silver coated style, depending on your preference. Finally, the trim of the cover is designed with hemming, which makes the dust cover look more presentable.
Dust covers are a quick and convenient way to protect your guitar from dust particles. Additionally, they are a more affordable solution than buying an expensive guitar case.
4. Wipe Your Guitar Down Every Time You Play
One of the best ways to prevent dust is to be proactive. If you simply wipe your guitar with a microfiber cloth every time you pick it up to play, you’ll prevent the guitar from getting too dusty in the first place. You’ll also prevent too much grime buildup from the natural oils on your fingers and other elements in the air.
Just ensure that whatever cloth that you use is lint-free. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with so many annoying balls of lint on your guitar.
It may seem like a hassle to wipe your guitar down every time, but this is far better than allowing the dust and grime to build up on your instrument. Furthermore, if you get into the habit, it won’t feel like such a chore after some time.