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Simple Green to clean guitars?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Ravenmore, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. tealsixtysix

    tealsixtysix Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 30, 2015
    Massachusetts USA
    I wouldn't clean a vintage acoustic with Simple Green, but a gunked-up old Fender? It should be fine. Wipe it off thoroughly, especially if you get any on the bridge.
  2. Green Craig

    Green Craig Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 15, 2012
    Back when I was into restoring old bikes, even the spray bottles of Simple Green said to dilute it 3-to-1 with water...those of you who have had issues with metal plating, was that with a properly diluted mixture of Simple Green, or was it straight out of the bottle?
    Bodean likes this.
  3. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Jun 23, 2017

    This can be safely applied to guitars.
    Green Craig likes this.
  4. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 13, 2011
    Music City TN
    I use Simple Green at work.
    It's pretty strong stuff.
    Based on the smell alone, I'd be hesitant to spray it on a guitar.

    At one time Fender's recommendation was Pledge.
    The kind of residue described obviously calls for some sort of solvent.
    Note that nitro lacquer is much more sensitive to solvents than a pickguard or poly finish.
  5. newplayeroldguy

    newplayeroldguy in the wind

    May 12, 2015
    north and east
    If you can use it to clean a motorcycle chain (you can) you probably don't want to use it on your guitars
  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014

    Guitar gunk found on used guitars seems to be of three kinds:
    -water based like sugared pop and beer
    -oil based like motor oil, fried chicken, and suntan oil
    -alcohol based like stickers and magic markers

    One cleaner won't do all unless it's pretty harsh

    I'll use 50/50 water/ammonia (glass cleaner) to get most of the crud off an abused and neglected guitar, then spot treat what that misses -- like getting old sticker residue off. Let the guitar dry and re-oil the fretboard. Maintenance cleaning just a damp cloth.

    This is more common on guitars than what I would have ever thought to see:

    I have repaired a few that I wanted to do this with them (I suspect this guitar was retrieved from the local dump or other contaminated site as a rescue):

    Deschain likes this.
  7. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
  8. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Jun 23, 2017
    Good point. I actually also use ammonia when I have to clean off years of nicotine. I have not found any other cleaning agent that can take off layers of nicotine. I have also done it on nitro finishes :eek: without damage to the finish.

    Again, use common sense when using chemicals to clean your guitar.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  9. Bodean

    Bodean Rock N Roll Ain't Noise Pollution Strat-Talk Supporter

    Aug 23, 2014
    South Carolina
    Common sense? That quality is getting harder and harder to find.:D
  10. Ravenmore

    Ravenmore Strat-O-Master

    Oct 9, 2017
    Cedar Park
    The glue residue on the Squier honestly looked like perhaps wood glue that had been smeared. It wasn't coming off with anything else but the Simple Green cut right through it pretty easy. Honestly wiping down the guitar with it sprayed on a rag made the guitar look really nice. Maybe I'll try diluting it next time.
  11. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 26, 2014

    Yes indeed my friend, common sense is certainly not so common anymore!:rolleyes:
    Just My $.02,
    Bodean likes this.
  12. Sarnodude

    Sarnodude Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 26, 2015
    Yes, I have been using it to clean oil, grease and brake dust from my cars for several years.
    Ferret619 likes this.
  13. Tube ToneChaser

    Tube ToneChaser Strat-O-Master

    Mar 30, 2017
    South Carolina; USA
    Indeed! My Nephew calls it "Rare Sense;" because it's so rare these days!
    Bodean likes this.
  14. Ferret619

    Ferret619 Strat-Talker

    May 6, 2017
    Fair enough, diluted it should be fine on a Polly body really assuming it’s cleaned off well aswell.
  15. moparguy

    moparguy Strat-Talk Member

    Mar 22, 2014
    Bryan, Texas
    E810C824-2077-4D22-9E7A-D13CED9DB135.jpeg I use non abrasive turtle wax car wax to shine it up, works great, the shine is awesome, this is a 20 yr old guitar that I just waxed
  16. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 27, 2012
    I have not used Simple Green, but have used white vinegar and water mixture to get dirt off guitars and cases and also remove nicotine and odors. A little fresh air and sunshine helps with odors too.
  17. dazco

    dazco Former Member

    Oct 5, 2017
    The crap ruined the finish on some parts of my motorcycles before, certain painted parts and certain metal parts. I'd never use it on anything where there are cosmetics i would worry about. There are a zillion things you can use that won't harm it.
  18. Ed Storer

    Ed Storer Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 5, 2016
    I would normally use Simple Green diluted at least 5:1 for normal cleaning and I'd only use it on the painted/varnished parts, chrome, and stainless steel - not the fretboard. If I was dealing with something like sticker adhesive, I might use undiluted Simple Green followed by a clean water sponge wipe or a solvent like rubbing alcohol or naptha followed by a clean water sponge wipe. Dry with towel immediately after wipe.

    I would finish with a (wax) guitar polish.
    henderman likes this.
  19. vid1900

    vid1900 Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 25, 2016
    I would not use any water based cleaner on a guitar.

    As the instrument's finish becomes older, it becomes more porous.

    ....and really, there is no guitar so crapped up that it would require an industrial strength cleaner to clean it.

    Just plain old Naphtha, (safe for all guitar finishes), has completely cleaned every guitar that has ever come across my bench.

    Safe on Nitro, poly, bare wood, and all metals.
  20. West Coast Idea

    West Coast Idea Strat-O-Master

    Mar 10, 2017
    Out on the Range
    I generally follow these steps:


    Murphy's Oil Soap with credit card and toothbrush on finger board (then oil)

    Mild dish detergent, warm water and a soft cloth on the body

    Goof Off (outdoors) to remove paint scuffs

    *Still experimenting with chrome cleaners. I've heard CLR works well, so I hope to try that next.

    I've tried Simple G on the fretboard of my cheapo Squier J Bass and I think it took off a little of the finish on the side of the neck.

    I know many people use naphtha all over the guitar. I am just to the point of minimizing my own and the environment's exposure to the stuff.

    Regarding stickers, I have a guitar that had a large auto shop one with several small pieces. I peeled one off easily on a warm day and the rest of the body paint had faded around it.