How Do You Clean a Carbon Fiber Guitar? (Detailed Process)

Keeping your carbon fiber guitar clean is quick and easy, and I recommend you do it often.

The process will vary slightly depending on whether you have a full carbon fiber guitar, or hybrid (part carbon fiber, part wood), and I will explain the relevant differences at each step.

How to Clean Your Carbon Fiber Guitar

Throughout this article, I will explain the materials you need to clean your carbon fiber guitars as well as the recommended process to follow.

Cleaning a Carbon Fiber Guitar: Materials Required

Microfibre Cloth (Must Have)

The number one thing you will need to clean your carbon fiber guitar, or any guitar for that matter, is a microfibre instrument cloth.

Most guitar manufacturers manufacture their own microfibre instrument cloth, but if you don’t want to pay premium prices, you can also pick up a pack of miro fiber cloths at most hardware stores, or retail warehouse chains.

Moist Breath (Must Have)

To work in partnership with your microfibre cloth, your warm breath will be your biggest asset.

Lemon Oil (Optional)

If you have a composite carbon fiber guitar with a wood neck then you will need lemon oil, some other timber instrument oil to clean and look after your guitar neck.

Scratch Remover (Optional)

If there are some scratches in your guitar that you are trying to rub out then scratch remover will be a big help.

Liquid Automotive Wax (Optional)

If you want to really polish up your carbon fiber guitar then you can use a liquid automotive wax on the surfaces.

Non-Abrasive Automotive Detailing Product (Optional)

To give that final polish, an automotive detailing product can do wonders.

Cleaning a Carbon Fiber/Graphite Guitar Body

In general, the best and most basic cleaning method for a microfibre guitar body is for you to breathe on the guitar with your warm moist breathe, and then rub that area with a microfibre cloth, in a circular motion.

Wax

If you really want to give your guitar a thorough detailing then you can safely ut and polish with liquid automotive wax, in much the same way you would do to a car.

Rub the wax all over the body in a circular motion, leave it for a few minutes and then rub it off.

If you do decide to wax clean your carbon fiber guitar, make sure you do the whole body. The waxing will make quite a difference, and if you just do one little patch, then it will stand out compared to the rest of the guitar.

High Gloss Finish

Whether you have done a full wax, or just moist breath and microfibre cloth, you can always add some high gloss automotive finish on top.

Using a variety of different automotive products, just use them as recommended on the package and your carbon fiber guitar will not be damaged.

Removing Scratches

If you have some scratches in your graphite guitar body, you can usually get them out with a standard ‘scratch remover’ product.

Apply a small amount of scratch remover to your microfibre cloth, and rub the area in a circular fashion for 30 seconds.

Once you complete the circular motion counter that with a back and forth straight motion over the same area. Then wipe off the residue and see I the scratch is still there.

If it is still there then repeat the process two to three times. If you can’t get the scratch out after three cycles of scratch remover then the scratch is probably too deep to be removed.

Cleaning A Carbon Fiber Guitar Neck

The process for cleaning the neck depends on whether you have a full carbon fiber/graphite guitar where the neck is also carbon fiber, or whether you have a hybrid guitar with a wooden neck.

Cleaning Carbon Fiber Neck On Carbon Fiber Guitar

If the neck of your guitar is made from Carbon Fiber then the cleaning process is much the same as is for cleaning the carbon fiber body.

Breathe warm moist breath onto the neck and then rub it with your microfiber cloth. It is that simple. The same goes for the fretboard.

If you have some gunk that is not coming off, you could try rubbing very gently with a small amount of saline solution or rubbing alcohol just to loosen the gunk, then return the basic moist breathe approach.

Cleaning A Wooden Neck on A Carbon Fiber Guitar

If you have a hybrid carbon fiber guitar with a wooden neck, then the neck cleaning and maintenance is the same as it would be for any typical guitar neck.

I recommend gentle rubbing up and down the neck with fine steel wool. Make sure you are rubbing up and down the grain (longways up the neck) as opposed to across the neck, as it can put marks in the neck you won’t be able to rub out.

The only reason to rub across the neck is if there is gunk or build-up on the fret edges. If you do this, do it very gently, and just to get the gunk off.

Once you have rubbed the neck clean with the steel wool, rub off all the steel wool residue, and then apply a thin coating of lemon oil (or other wood oil) to the guitar neck.

Be sure to keep the oil away from the saddle or the bridge, as the oil can lead to discoloration and make the white into more of a yellow color.

This video by Klos guitars explains and demonstrates this process in more detail.

How Often Should I Clean My Carbon Fiber Guitar?

Ideally, it is good to give your carbon fiber or graphite guitar a quick clean each time you play it.

A quick rub down after each session will eliminate the need for more serious cleaning in the future.

It is also good to do a thorough clean each time you change your guitar strings.

This is a good opportunity to reach some of the cracks and crevices that can be harder to reach when the strings are in place.

Should I Clean The Strings On My Carbon Fiber Guitar?

Yes, at the same time you do a quick clean of your carbon fiber guitar with a microfibre cloth after each session, give the strings a quick rub with the same cloth.

This will extend the life of the strings.

How Can I Prevent Scratches on My Carbon Fiber Guitar?

The main places that scratch appear on an acoustic guitar are on the back of the guitar if the acoustic guitar body has rubbed against your belt buckle or other clothing, and then around the soundhole from hand and pick marks.

If you do not wish to apply for a permanent pickguard you can actually get self-adhesive pickguards that are removable.

This is a great way to protect your guitar, without having to modify it permanently.

There is a range of soundhole protectors which should shelter your carbon fiber guitar finish both above and below the soundhole, but you can also buy a simple rectangular shape of the same material.

This can be used either on the front of your guitar to cover the soundhole and protect the above and below, or it can be used on the back of the guitar to protect your clothing.

Some examples can be found here:

https://www.thomannmusic.com/pickguards_for_acoustic_guitars.html

Useful Resources

FAQs

Can You Clean Your Carbon Fiber Guitar With a Soft Cloth?

Yes, you can use a soft cloth to clean your carbon fiber or graphite guitar. I recommend a microfibre cloth. A microfibre cloth and moist breath are enough to cover most of your cleaning needs.

https://journeyinstruments.com/ufaqs/how-do-i-clean-my-journey-instruments-guitar/

https://klosguitars.com/blogs/klos-insights/how-to-clean-your-acoustic-guitar-101

https://www.rainsong.com/care