How to clean a satin/matte finish guitar without ruining it

Satin/Matte finish guitars look great in my opinion. It’s safe to say that the only difference between a matte-finish guitar and a gloss-finish guitar is its look. There are other differences in its sound and tone but it’s not so noticeable. However, when it comes to cleaning them you better make sure you don’t mix these two up.

Guitars can cost a ton! You don’t want to throw your guitar away for something so silly. That’s why we wrote this article so you know how to safely clean your matte finish guitar.

Simply, to clean your matte/satin finish guitar, you will need to do the following:

  • Step 1: Wipe off any dust
  • Step 2: Wipe the guitar with a microfiber cloth
  • Step 3 (Optional): Use a satin cleaner or water to wipe the guitar

WAIT, don’t leave! I need to explain a little more first. And before you start, you need to make sure you aren’t doing anything else that can be killing your guitar. We will cover everything you need to know so you can save a buck or two.

Keep reading.

How to clean your satin/matte finish guitar

Here are the steps you need to do detailed.

Step 1: Dust off what you can

When cleaning your guitar, you wouldn’t want to do so with dust still on your guitar. So wipe that off first before you do anything.

What you can do is hold your microfiber cloth and let it swing on top of it to get rid of the dust. Just make sure to now take the dust off of the microfiber cloth if you are gonna use the same one for the next step.

Step 2: Wipe it down with a microfiber cloth

After the dust is off you can now lightly wipe your guitar with the microfiber cloth. Remember, this is meant to get fingerprints off your matte guitar. You don’t need that much pressure.

Remember, anything harder than a microfiber cloth can cause scratches on your guitar.

Here are some microfiber clothes:

All of this is meant to clean the body and neck of the guitar. The fretboard can be cleaned normally since it’s probably the same as other guitars. For fret wear see our article what causes fret wear and how to prevent it.

Step 3 (Optional): Use a specific satin cleaner or just water to take off any stubborn grime

Usually, the microfiber cloth should do the trick to remove the fingerprints off your guitar. However, you might be in a situation where you have stubborn dirt and grime. 

To remove stubborn grime on your satin guitar, you are gonna need to use a specific satin cleaner or a little bit of water to rub into the guitar. To do this, dampen the microfiber cloth (with either water or satin cleaner) and start rubbing lightly in a circular motion.

Be careful! Don’t use too much and Don’t apply too much pressure. Even something like water can ruin the wood when you put too much. It can make the wood swell and affect the guitar’s tone.

Here are some satin cleaners:

Do’s and Dont’s

Here are the biggest do’s and dont’s. We might have touched on some but I think its extremely necessary to reiterate it. Who knows, maybe I can save a couple of guitars in the world by doing so.

Don’t polish your satin finish guitar!

There aren’t any major advantages to satin-finish guitars over gloss-finish guitars besides their look. So I’m assuming you picked out your satin-finish guitar for its look. 

Polishing your satin-finish guitar will destroy that look sleek look. It will look like a grease spot on a non-glossy finish. Remember that sleek look was the reason you got it. If you want it to look glossy, then by all means, polish away! 

If you want to learn how to polish your guitar see our article: how to safely polish your guitar.

Don’t Put too much water

It’s understandable to want to use water to clean your guitar if you can’t use polish. However, don’t get too carried away! If you put too much water you can waterlog the wood, cause the wood to swell, and eventually ruin the guitar’s tone.

Use a soft clean cloth

I can’t express enough how soft your cloth needs to be. Even something like a paper towel can cause scratches in the wood. And you definitely don’t want to do that on a matte-finish guitar. Its scratches are more noticeable.

The cloth also needs to be squeaky clean. You don’t want to rub dirt back into the guitar. That seems counterproductive.

Satin-Finish Cleaning FAQ

Why are there glossy parts on my guitar if I didn’t polish it?

You might be experiencing this by the knobs or the neck of the guitar. This is because we touch those parts of the guitar a lot and we could be rubbing sweat or dirt into the wood which can take away that matte look and thereby make it look glossy without ever touching guitar polish.

What are other things that can ruin a satin finish?

As mentioned before polishing ruins a satin finish. Also, things like sweat, rubbing hard, and wax can also ruin a satin finish.

How do I remove sweat off my satin finish guitar?

Sweat can easily be removed with a damp cloth.

What do I do if my satin finish guitar gets scratched?

For light scratches polishing usually does the trick. But we know we can’t polish. So the next best thing to do is clean it as well as you can and if that doesn’t work you should contact a professional guitar repair person. You don’t want to try anything funny to cause further damage.


There you have it! That is how you can safely clean your matte guitar. Before you go, make sure you thoroughly read this guide so you don’t make a costly mistake. You can refer back to these steps if you need to.

Anyway, I hope I saved a couple of guitars with this article. I hope you learned something as well. See ya!


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