4 Guitar Polish Alternatives to Clean Your Guitar With

Don’t have guitar polish handy? No problem, we put together 4 guitar polish alternatives that you can try on your guitar. They might not be as efficient as polish, but if you need a simple way to get dirt and grime off your guitar, you’ve come to the right place. 

We have looked around the internet, asked other people, and tested out a couple of different ways to clean your guitar without polish.

Guitar Polish Alternatives

Here are 4 guitar polish alternatives:

Vinegar and water

Using vinegar and water is a great way to clean your guitar. Vinegar is proven to work very well with dirt and grime see here for more information on that.

So, what you are gonna want to do is make a white vinegar and water solution. However much vinegar you put make sure you add twice as much water. Vinegar is quite strong, it’s made from acetic acid that’s why we want to dilute it with water.

Once you’ve made your solution, spray or lightly moist a soft cloth and start rubbing in a circular motion. Make sure you don’t apply too much pressure.

I like the way it worked however, it did smell a little. I hate working with vinegar!

You can find the vinegar I used here

Baking soda and water

Baking soda is also great for cleaning. However, we must be extremely careful doing this since baking soda is an abrasive powder that can eventually damage a guitar’s finish. That’s why we need to make a baking soda solution.

To make this solution you are gonna need to mix some baking soda with warm water to dissolve the baking soda. I put a very little amount of baking soda. 

Then, like the vinegar method, spray some of your baking soda solutions onto a soft cloth and start rubbing in a circular motion.

You can find the baking soda I use here.


Beeswax is great for making things shiny. People even use beeswax on their wooden floors. Beeswax can protect and moisturize the wood of a guitar.

To do this you are gonna need some beeswax and a soft cloth. Apply some of your beeswax onto your soft cloth and start rubbing in a circular motion. 

Make sure your beeswax isn’t too thick so you can evenly distribute the beeswax. If you don’t you can find a big shiny spot on your guitar. It will look ugly and uneven. You can add water to make the beeswax less thick.

You can check out beeswax here.

Make sure not to use beeswax on satin finish guitars. Those aren’t supposed to be shiny. To learn how to clean a satin finish guitar see here


Sometimes we just underestimate the power of simple water. Water is the safest way to clean your guitar out of the options mentioned before. Sometimes the dirt and grime we see aren’t as stubborn as we think. Sometimes all you need is water.

All you need to do is spray some water onto a soft cloth and rub it in a circular motion.

Things to look out for

There are some small details that can potentially hurt your guitar in the long run. Here are the things you need to look out for when cleaning your guitar.

Don’t leave it wet

We have to remember that our guitars are a piece of wood at the end of the day. Leaving it wet can cause the wood to swell, warp, and crack over time. The guitar’s finish is what saves it from getting damaged but you still don’t want to take a chance. You can burn through the finish and warp the wood and it can be impossible to fix.

Don’t apply too much

In all of these methods, we said to simply spray a cloth. You don’t need to soak your cloth. On the contrary, it can actually hurt your guitar. Especially the methods that use baking soda and vinegar. These are strong ingredients that are meant to act tough on grime. Putting too much can hurt your guitar’s finish.

Don’t use harsh materials

It’s extremely important you use the softest cloth you can find. Even something like paper towels is too hard for the guitar’s wood to handle. Rubbing with a hard cloth could be putting scratches straight onto your guitar. I would recommend using a microfiber cloth.

You can find one here.


There you have it! There are your 4 tested ways to clean your guitar without polish. They worked pretty well but I can guarantee polish works better. Polish doesn’t cost that much so I would definitely recommend that. If you later decide you want to polish your guitar see our page here.

If you want to learn what generally can or cant be used on guitars see Guitar Cleaning: what you can and cant use.

I hope this article helps you clean your guitar but make sure you aren’t doing anything that can hurt your guitar. Refer back to this page to make sure that you aren’t doing anything that can hurt your guitar.

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