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Thread: Can I use pledge to clean my guitar?

  1. #1
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    Can I use pledge to clean my guitar?

    Hi, I spoke to the guy who repairs my guitars and asked his advice on cleaning them. I asked if I could use Mr.Sheen aka Pledge and he said NO!!! He said to use something called Karnauba Wax and to use Lemon Oil on the fretboard.

    I've always used Pledge on my old guitar and far as I can tell it's done no damage. I have just bought a new guitar and I'm a bit wary of using Pledge now after what he told me.

    Can anyone offer any advice/help, please.

    I want to clean the body, neck and fingerboard (which I'll do when the strings are off, before I re-string).

    Thanks a lot,

    Jon

  2. #2
    some guy Doug McMullen's Avatar
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    I don't have direct experience with this (that is, I've never personally wrecked a guitar with pledge) but I've also always heard that commercial furniture polishes are very bad for musical instruments... something about the furniture polishes soaking in and "lifting the grain." Supposedly this process happens slowly over time and but once it gets going there's nothing you can do. Frankly it sounds like complete BS to me but I don't feel like conducting any experiments on my guitars just to find out... ooops, well whaddya know, it's true, pledge does ruin guitars after all!

    I use Martin Guitar Polish, which is almost surely a total ripoff and can probably be homemade for 1/100th of the price but whatever... who wants to worry and fuss with this stuff?

    Doug

  3. #3
    Registered User LarryJ's Avatar
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    just spend the 3.99 it costs to get some proper polish. It can't hurt, a bottle of pledge probably costs the same thing, and you can never be too careful.

    I would worry about pledge on the fretboard because it might dry it out. The body depends on the finish you have, and how thick the clear coat is, and things like that I'm sure. Either way its better to trust Gibson or Martin or Fender or whoever makes the stuff in the long run. Its cheap insurance.

  4. #4
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    It totally depends on your guitar finish, and what your idea of 'ruined' is. Most furniture polishes contain solvents to lift dirt, solvents to deliver the wax that's in the polish, and wax. You shouldn't need ANY of these things on an instrument, IMO.

    BUT, I use a liquid furniture polish once every several months on my Gibson because a) it has a hard, high-gloss finish that I feel is impervious to anything except possibly acetone, and b) there's nothing furniture polish is going to do to this guitar to 'ruin' it--the folks who built it managed that by themselves.

    On my Ibanez hollow body, I just slightly moisten a piece of smooth cotton cloth and very lightly wipe it down. THis guitar also has a synthetic, semi-impervious finish.

    Many guitars have finishes that seem to me to be far more permeable--they look almost like oil finishes. Also, some hollow-body and acoustic guitars have non-plywood spruce tops, and I'd want to keep the moisture level around these very uniform. So in these cases, I wouldn't use anything with solvents or waxes.

    I'm not a guitar expert--just advising, think about the finish on the guitar, and how well you think it tolerates these things. THe finishes on most solid body guitars are done with synthestics that are, near as I can tell, FAR more tolerant than the finest furniture finishes--if they aren't identical.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 02-22-2004 at 12:53 AM.
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  5. #5
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    Supposedly Pledge will dry out a rosewood fretboard. I can't remember why. I use a damp cloth to clean my guitars nowadays. I used Pledge for about 5 years with no obvious damage, and that was quite some time ago.

    I use Guitar Honey 2x a year to condition rosewood necks.
    -Bizarro
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  6. #6
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Yeah, to me fretboards fall into that 'open grain' category. I wouldn't think there are very many things that are good for them.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  7. #7
    Registered User Unhorizon's Avatar
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    If I had to guess, I would say Pledge wouldn't ruin most guitar, but by no means would I ever chance it. Even if you have a $100 Squier strat, it isn't worth ruining it. Now if you've got a vintage les paul, heh...yeah. Just buy guitar polish.

  8. #8
    Registered User LarryJ's Avatar
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    This reminds me of a question I had. My rosewood fretboard seem to have the grain showing, like white. I dont know if its dirt or dust that got in or what. I condition them but it doesn't seem to do anything. I dont kno how to describe it...its like some of the grain is white instead of dark in places...does this mean its dried out , or just needs cleaning? Any advice?

  9. #9
    Registered User BassDeffy's Avatar
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    I have used Pledge on my old bass and it did kinda leave a residue so dust and stuff would stick to it. When it comes to the fretboard, I just wipe it with a cloth and maybe rubbing alcohol on the frets if they really needed it (really high alcohol content, less chance for a film) other then that I use Dunlop Guitar Polish and its kept me satisfied so far. Could just not clean your guitar but thats just nasty.

  10. #10
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    Most guitar bodies have such a thick high gloss finish that Pledge probably won't hurt it. It's the neck that I don't take chances with... Plus I'm too lazy to really clean anything except when I change strings, maybe 1-2x per month depending on how many gigs we have.
    -Bizarro
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  11. #11
    Registered User LarryJ's Avatar
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    putting alcohol on a maple board is okay, cause its such a tight grained wood, but putting it on rosewood or anything else is a big mistake. It definitly will dry out the fretboard, so be careful what you do.

    I really dont understand why people try to make these home concoctions. I have used rubbing alcohol and it worked great on my strat's maple board, but for >5 dollars (US) you can get some official stuff to really make your guitar shine and get conditioned proper.

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