How to clean a guitar output jack

An output jack on a guitar is very important. It’s what allows a player to connect their guitar to an amp. That’s why it’s crucial that you clean your guitar output jack. If your output jacks are too dirty you may even need to call a luthier to get it fixed. But before you do I think you should keep reading (it may save you a trip to the luthier).

Whether your output jacks just look bad or they lost connection totally, we can help. We put together a couple of ways you can get your output jack clean. We already have a couple of articles written on cleaning metals on your guitar.

So, lets get started.

How to clean a guitar output jack

In this section, we will go through what you should use and how to use it.

What you should use for output jacks

Here are the things I found to work best


WD-40 is great to use on metals. It’s got anti-corrosive agents that reduce oxidation. In other words, it’s great if you need to “un-rust” metal. 

You can see the article that WD-40 has on their website here.

It’s also easy to get inside the jack with its spraying mechanism. If you don’t have WD-40 you can use any deoxidant.


As some may know, alcohol is great for drying things. That’s why it’s dangerous for the guitar body since the wood needs a certain amount of moisture so it doesn’t dry up (see more about that here). Generally, you can learn what you can and can’t use on guitar here.

Anyway, the way metal gets rusty is when moisture sits for too long and starts to oxidize. The next thing you know is that you’ve got rust all over. That’s why alcohol is great, it will dry it out cleaning the inside of your guitar output jacks.

Electrical part cleaner

You can also use something like an electrical part cleaner. It sprays and acts just like WD-40. It will clean the inside of your guitar output jack giving you the connection you need. You can check one out here.

Here are the ingredients you can use. Now, how do you use it?

How to clean them

Here are some ways you can use those cleaners mentioned above.


You can use a Q-tip to reach inside the output jack. It will get your cleaner inside and the dirt out. With the WD-40 and electrical part cleaner you can spray right inside the output jack and start cleaning it with the Q-tip. With alcohol, you can put some on the Q-tip first and then start to clean the jack. 

Use the input jack

You can even use the input jack itself. Well, think about it, at the end of the day the thing that needs the connection to the output jack is the input jack. So by putting the input jack in and out you will be sure you are getting the cleaner to the spots you need to get to in there.

I wouldn’t spray the input jack itself, I would spray the output jack and start putting it in and out. Because of this, I wouldn’t use alcohol with this method since you can’t really spray it in there.

If you want, you can remove the excess by sticking a paper towel in the output jack to absorb any leftover moisture.

After all of this, you should be set!

If you still can’t get a connection then you may need to detach the output totally, cut the wires, unscrew everything, leave it in vinegar, and apply some WD-40. Once that’s done you are gonna need to screw everything back together, sauter the wires back, and screw the output jack into the guitar.

I didn’t really want to go so deep into this method since it’s pretty hard to do. You are gonna need to cut wires and unscrew things. If you aren’t a pro I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s probably worth it to go see a luthier at this point. Scary, I know, but you might be doing worse to your guitar if you don’t know what you are doing. Better safe than sorry.


Here are the frequently asked questions regarding cleaning your output jacks.

Do I need to clean my guitar’s output jack?

Yes! Every so often one should clean their guitar’s output jack. If you don’t, there will be a build-up of dirt and grime. Aside from it looking disgusting it may also eventually be non-functional. The dirt that’s there can get so bad that it can disrupt the connection between the output and input. 

Why does my guitar buzz when plugged in?

It could be that there is dirt and grime in there disrupting the connection. This will cause buzzing since it’s trying to get a connection but fails to do so smoothly because of the dirt.

How do I know if my guitar output jack is bad?

You can simply judge it on your own based on how dirty it looks. You don’t want that dirt to build up so you definitely want to clean it before it gets out of hand. Once it starts buzzing you definitely need to get it cleaned

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! As I said it’s crucial but easy to clean your output jacks. Give them a quick clean before it gets out of hand. As we mentioned, once it gets out of hand it means you may lose connection with your input jack and take a trip to the luthier. So, before it gets to that, CLEAN YOUR JACKS. Don’t think your jacks are always clean, they can even get dirty from the guitar case.

You can refer to this article when cleaning your output jack. 

I hope you enjoyed!

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