How to Clean Rosewood Fretboard

The durability of your musical instrument is dependent on how much you put in towards its maintenance. When you do not take care of your guitar, it may end up getting completely damaged faster than it originally should. In this review, we will look at a step-by-step guide that should guide you when cleaning the Rosewood fretboard on your guitar.

Your guitar is among your musical instruments that are extremely sensitive and susceptible to scratches, finger marks, water marks and almost all kinds of damage when playing or when it is not correctly stored in a guitar case or stand.

Aside from protecting your guitar and increasing its durability, cleaning its rosewood fretboard gives your guitar long lasting sheen that brightens your music gear.

In addition to that, properly maintaining your guitar maintains its resale value which comes in handy when you would want to upgrade your equipment.

When you begin to notice a color change on the fretboard of your guitar, then that should be a call for you to clean it.

All you need to use is wood oil, particularly lemon oil which is designed for cleaning guitar fretboards with darker tone woods such as Rosewood.

However, you should avoid using ordinary household cleaners and furniture cleaners because they can actually cause worse damage to your guitar.

Proper care prevents cracking, drying out and wearing.

So, how do I clean the rosewood fretboard on my guitar?

Generally, Rosewood fretboards are always unfinished and for this reason, the wood grain is often so much exposed that gunk, dirt and grit tends to continually accumulate after sometime.

This may need you to clean it often to maintain its playability levels.

To clean the rosewood fretboard on your guitar, you would need to follow the following steps;

Step One: Remove the strings off the fretboard

Cleaning your Rosewood fretboard with the strings may be a daunting task thus you may need to take them off. However, this entirely depends on the type of guitar that you own.

If you own a hollow body guitar or a vintage one, you may need to consult a guitar technician to help you out but if you own a classic or acoustic guitar then you can always try to take them off on your own.

Also, when doing this remember to re-string them correctly to maintain an even tone when playing.

Step Two: Make use of alcohol wipes

The alcohol wipes generally remove dirt that has accumulated on the fretboard.

So, once you have removed the strings you should run a few alcohol wipes across the rosewood fretboard on your guitar.

This further prepares the surface for wood oil.

Step Three: Use 0000 Steel Wool on the Fretboard

0000 steel wool works well on unfinished surfaces such as the Rosewood fretboard on your guitar.

Gently brush through your fretboard using steel wool to remove remaining dirt from your fretboard.

If you own an electric guitar, ensure that you have covered the pickups of your guitar using tape to prevent the steel fibers from damaging them.

Step Four: Apply Lemon Oil on a clean rug and run it through your Rosewood Fretboard

Once the dirt on your fretboard has completely broken off and it seems clean enough, you would need to apply a small amount of lemon oil onto a clean dry rug and then rub it onto the rosewood fretboard.

Give it some time to sit as the oil residue slowly dries off.

Generally, the amount of lemon oil that you would end up putting on your fretboard entirely depends on the degree of damage.

If your guitar is cracking or completely drying out, you may want to apply a second layer ad let it sit overnight then wipe it off using a paper towel the following morning.

In the event that you choose to clean your rosewood fretboard with the strings on, you may want to use a toothbrush to apply the lemon oil and to remove dirt so that you do not end up tampering with the strings.

When doing this, you would need to use a paper towel to clean off the residue because once it gets onto the strings it tampers with playability and sound performance.

Step Five: Re-string your guitar

Once you are completely done with the above steps, you would want to continue playing your guitar. You would need to re-string it and tune it for a seamless user and music experience.

Keep in mind to regularly clean your rosewood fretboard because it is prone to dirt and grit that accumulates over time.

How can I regularly keep my guitar clean?

To keep your guitar fretboard clean at all times, you would need to always wash your hands before playing.

This significantly reduces any gunk, grit or dirt on your guitar. Also, you have the option to wipe down your fretboard using a lint-free or microfiber cloth once you are done playing.

The way you store your guitar also matters because it determines its durability.

Purchase a hard shell case or gig bag that you can put your guitar in when it is not in use.

It is also advisable that you should not keep your guitar in damp spaces or near direct sunlight to ensure that its finish remains intact for a longer period of time.

If you notice that your rosewood fretboard is starting to dry out, then you would need to at least try to clean and condition it every two to four months.


When you are a frequent guitar player, you would need to regularly clean your guitar to avoid the accumulation of grit and dirt on its rosewood fretboard.

It’s very important for you to always condition your guitar when you notice that it is drying out. In the event that you live in a dusty environment, you should always dab clean dry cloth across your guitar to keep it clean at all times.

When you live in an environment that is properly humid then all you need to do is clean and condition your guitar at least once or twice a year but if you live in an environment that is susceptible to extreme weather conditions, you would need to clean and condition your guitar at least once every three to four months.

Lemon oil simply ensures that your guitar is nourished enough to avoid cracks, drying out or color changes. All in all, regularly cleaning your guitar helps improve the longevity of your musical instrument.


Can I use water to clean my guitar?

Yes, you can.

However, you can only use water to clean your guitar in the form of a damp cloth.

When using water to clean your guitar, you should be very careful because getting the fretboard on your guitar wet can cause multiple problems such as swelling frets which eventually affects the sound performance and longevity of your guitar.

What oil can I use on the fretboard of my guitar?

The wood on your guitar tends to dry out over time.

When this happens, you would need to use lemon oil to protect the wood and raise its aesthetic fabric.

However, you should always use it in small amounts so that it doesn’t end up being too slippery to do anything.

Cooper Green

Music we must say is complex but according to Cooper Green, with the right information creating good music is a breeze. Guitars are a single aspect in the complex world of music but which play a major role, the problem however, lies in finding the right guitar for the relevant application. There are so many brands of guitars, each of which are differently configured but offer the best sounds. Cooper has been in the music industry for over 10 years, he recently started interacting with enthusiasts in the various platforms and therefore, shares his knowledge on music in general and specifically on guitars. And with the markets now flooded with knockoffs, among his missions is to help upcoming musicians get good quality music instruments or guitars.

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