Learn how to clean a glossy/finished, raw/unfinished, or roasted maple fretboard when strings are removed/lose. You’ll also get pro tips and recommendations for each.
Do you have a maple fretboard on your guitar?
If so, then you’ll want to keep reading this article. We’re going to teach you the best ways to clean and maintain your fretboard – regardless of what type of maple it is.
By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be an expert at cleaning and maintaining your maple fretboard! And who knows – maybe you’ll even learn something new about your instrument.
Cleaning The Glossy/Finished Maple Fretboard
To keep your finished/glossy maple fretboard looking new, use any standard guitar cleaner on it. More on this is below. Make sure you don’t apply anything too abrasive because this could damage the finish and leave behind a residue that will scratch easily over time if left untreated!
You should also clean often- whether it’s once or twice per week – depending on how heavily they sweat in hot weather conditions.
Cleaning your maple fretboard is an essential part of maintaining it. Use a dry, lint-free microfiber cloth to wipe away any dirt and grime from in between the strings as well as around them; don’t forget about polishing too!
It’s best if you can remove or lose the strings before cleaning so doing deep cleaning can be easier.
Cleaning The Raw/Unfinished Maple Fretboard
Unfinished maple fretboards are a lot like raw wood that requires conditioning and cleaning. The best way to clean them is with an oil-based cleanser, but you can also use other nonabrasive treatments if desired!
This lint-free microfiber cloth from Fender will help you gently massage the conditioner into each section, removing any debris particles along with it. Buff out any remaining cleaner using another soft cloth that is clean fabric like cotton.
Make sure you remove the strings prior to cleaning your raw maple board too.
Cleaning The Roasted Maple Fretboard
You should avoid using water on your roasted maple fretboard. Water and roasted maple don’t get along. A paper towel with some lighter fluid on it is the way to go. Zippo lighter fluids work great for roasted maple fretboards. Naphtha aka the fluid will also do the trick!
How To Get Stains Out Of Maple Fretboard?
Eventually, the dark stains will come back over time if you’ve got the raw version and you’ll have to use the Murphy Oil Soap, steel wool (0000), and 800-1k sandpaper but it won’t last long.
The only way that can truly last for a long period of time is if it’s refreshed on an annual basis or more frequently depending upon how often your instrument gets played.
It may seem like there are few options available when dealing with this problem; however, both steel wool (0000) and 800-1k sandpaper along with Murphy’s oil soap have been known to resolve some issues temporarily but they return sooner than expected.
So, you’ve to continue repeating the process.
What To Use To Clean A Maple Fretboard?
To keep your glossy/finished maple fretboard looking new, use a special towel such as Scott’s Shop Towel that won’t tear and leave any debris. Never clean it with agents containing silicone!
On the other hand, the best way to keep your unfinished/raw maple fretboard in perfect condition is by using a fretboard cleaner. These products come as an oil-based mixture made from different woods and seeds.
You should avoid cleaners that contain acid.
If the finish on yours has a glossy or semi-gloss surface (as opposed to raw), then certain cleaners won’t work properly and might even damage its appearance over time.
You need the right product for it and if you don’t know what will work best, see our recommendations below:
MusicNomad F-ONE Fretboard Oil Cleaner & Conditioner 2 oz (MN105)
We love lemon oil for fretboards, but when we clean a maple one it’s always best to use the right cleaner. This product is super easy-to-apply with maintaining super quality at the same time.
It lasts quite a long too so you won’t have to buy it often. These are why MusicNomad F-one is by far our most preferred fretboard cleaner. Absolutely worth every penny!
- 100% natural oils ultra-refined to clean, condition, and protect
- Completely free of lemon extracts, so it is safe on all unfinished fretboards: rosewood, ebony and Maple
- Premium quality Cleaner and conditioner used by high-end repair shops
- Contains no petroleum, wax, detergents, or water
- Dries fast but maintains conditioning for months
- Proudly Made in the USA
MusicNomad MN108 Premium Guitar Care 5-Piece Kit for Matte and Gloss Finishes
This all-in-one MusicNomad MN 108 5-piece guitar care kit will make your maple neck and fretboard look better than how they looked when you bought them! It comes with all you need to clean including cleaner, polish, wax, and two 16-inch x 12-inch lint-free, washable microfiber towels.
Avoid using this product on cracked finishes though, as that can cause further damage.
- Guitar ONE is an all-in-1 cleaner, polish, and wax for everyday cleaning of gloss finishes
- Guitar Polish provides deeper cleaning and polishing to restore and revive dull, hazy, scratched, and scuffed finishes
- Fretboard F-ONE Oil uses 100% natural oils and is safe on all unfinished rosewood, ebony and maple fretboards
- Includes two 16-inch x 12-inch lint-free, washable microfiber towels with stitch-free edging
- Proudly Formulated in the USA
A Few Tips To Maintain Maple Fretboard And Neck
The finished maple neck and fretboard are easy to maintain and don’t demand much care. The finish seals off the wood so it stays looking good for a long time without any hassle on your end!
You can keep them shining by wiping down both sides with an old microfiber cloth every now and then—just remember that cleanliness is key when handling these instruments because they’re very delicate.
So, don’t forget to clean your hands before your playing sessions.
Unfinished maple necks and fretboards are sensitive to humidity. They can easily catch dirt, oil, or moisture from your hands when you play the guitar. Make sure to always keep them dry regardless of whether unused- storage cases come in handy.
This type of guitar neck and fretboard should be cleaned on a regular routine with fine steel wool for sound maintenance.
Maple fretboards are some of the most beautiful and immersive materials available for guitar making, but they can be tricky to keep looking fresh.
You can also use mineral oil or naphtha solvent (or even water) with a microfiber cloth in between wiping sessions; then buff away all those stubborn oils & dirt stains using your favorite polish.
Can you use water on a maple fretboard?
Maple fretboards are delicate. They can’t handle water, dishwashing liquid, or any other harsh cleaning agents! Use a new lint-free cloth for each job and don’t forget about checking your strings after every few uses to prevent coating them with dirt which will lead to tarnish on their surface over time.
Should you oil a maple fretboard?
Fretboards that are unfinished maple need special care to keep them in good condition. There’s no need to use oil on a glossy surface. Only unfinished maple fretboards need oil-based cleaners.
Maple fretboards are a beautiful addition to your guitar and can add some interesting flavor to the sound. But they also need special care when it comes to cleaning, as these woods react differently than other types of wood do with certain chemical cleaners.
So make sure you read the instructions for any cleaner before use on a maple board! We recommend using one of the above-mentioned cleaners/conditioners because it’s safe on different finishes including glossy, matte, raw, roasted, and unfinished maple boards.
If you’ve come this far, you’ve definitely become an expert at cleaning your maple fretboard. Now, it’s time to get going with the actual cleaning process on a regular basis to increase your guitars’ longevity.
Best of luck!
James B. Laskowski was born and raised in Fresno, CA. He has been working as an acoustic and classical guitar expert at Instrument Insight for over 5 years. In this time, he has gained a great understanding of acoustic and classical guitars and gears, their materials, build quality, playability, and versatility. James also has an in-depth knowledge of the history and origins of many acoustic and classical guitar brands.
Cornell K. Benson is from Mansfield, OH. He is 30 years old and has expertise in electric guitars and gears. Cornell has a great understanding of electric guitars and their materials, build quality, playability, and versatility. He also has an in-depth knowledge of the history and origins of various electric guitar brands.