How To Clean a Maple Fretboard: The Ultimate Guide

How To Clean A Maple Fretboard

The maple fretboard has a unique shine to it. It’s glossy, smooth, and has a bright tone. But then, there’s a lot to do in maintaining the shine of a maple fretboard.

Here’s the billion-dollar question; how do you clean a maple fretboard?

The maple fretboard is unlike the common rosewood fretboards. It requires a unique cleaning set. The maple fretboard needs to be cleaned with olive oil to maintain its shine.

Cleaning the maple fretboard isn’t all about oil polishing. In this guide, you’ll find out all there is to cleaning the maple fretboard.

Tools for Cleaning the Maple Fretboard

Tools For Cleaning The Maple Fretboard

In every maple fretboard cleaning guide, you’ll discover that cleaning the maple fretboard is different from cleaning the common rosewood fretboard.

Cleaning your maple fretboard isn’t like the regular cleaning where ordinary soap and water may do the trick.

There are specialized products meant for cleaning the maple fretboard. These items include;

  • Steel wool
  • Maple fretboard oil cleaner
  • Clean and dry microfiber cloths

With these items, you’ll efficiently clean and maintain the sparkle of your maple fretboard.

Why Should You Clean the Maple Fretboard

As you play your guitar, dirt and oil stains from your fingers are bound to appear on your guitar fretboard. The stains will often be more pronounced if it’s a maple fretboard.

When dirt and oil stains gather on the maple fretboard, they tend to dull the string tones. This is besides the messy appearance that’s left on the guitar fretboard.

To preserve the shiny outlook of the maple fretboard and the bright tones on the guitar strings, you need to clean.

Cleaning the maple fretboard is vital in maintaining the guitar.

How To Clean the Maple Fretboard

How To Clean The Maple Fretboard

There are two types of maple fretboards, namely, the raw and the glossy maple fretboards. Each sport has a shiny outlook compared to the rosewood fretboard.

Although the two types of maple fretboard have some things in common, they have different cleaning methods.

How To Clean a Raw Maple Fretboard

The raw maple fretboard is also known as the unfinished maple fretboard. It’s not as shiny as the glossy maple fretboard, requiring more cleaning.

Since the raw maple fretboard is made of unfinished wood, it can quickly get stained. As such, you need to clean it regularly and more deeply.

Here’s how to clean the raw maple fretboard:

  1. Buy an oil cleaner designed for maple fretboards. Use a small oil absorbent cloth to apply the oil in-between the frets across the fretboard.
  2. Wait for at least 5 minutes before cleaning off the dirt-laden oil with a microfiber cloth. The cleaning oil absorbs the dirt on the maple fretboard, making it easy to wipe off.
  3. If you want to do a thorough cleaning, remove the strings of your guitar and carry out the cleaning process. You may wipe your guitar strings, too, as part of your cleaning.

You can treat your raw maple fretboard with a protective oil coating to make it easier to maintain.

You need to use sandpaper to scrape the fretboard’s surface first. Afterward, apply a clear oil sealer to the fretboard and wait till it dries.

Use steel wool to smoothen the fretboard’s surface, and then you’re good to go.

How To Clean a Glossy Maple Fretboard

The glossy or finished maple fretboard is treated shinier than the raw maple fretboard. As such, it doesn’t need consistent cleaning.

A glossy or finished maple fretboard has a protective layer that is shiny and free of dirt. It’s less susceptible to moisture damage.

Here’s how to clean the glossy maple fretboard:

  1. Get a maple fretboard oil cleaner ready. Remove the guitar strings if you want to clean the fretboard thoroughly.
  2. Use a microfiber cloth to apply the oil cleaner directly on the fretboard. Don’t pour or spray the oil directly on the fretboard. Use a cloth.
  3. Wait for a minute or two and clean the maple fretboard from top to bottom.
  4. Wipe your guitar strings to remove any residual dirt and refix them to the guitar.

Avoid using a rough or abrasive cloth to clean the glossy maple fretboard. Rough cloth or items like sandpaper can spoil the glossy protective layer on the maple fretboard.

General Maintenance Tips for the Maple Fretboard

Cleaning can be annoying, especially when you have to do it regularly. That’s why it’s best to treat your raw or unfinished maple fretboard with a protective coating.

While you can’t do away with cleaning your guitar, you can make cleaning less stressful by maintaining the guitar properly. Here’s what you can do;

  • Clean your guitar after every use. A light scrub with a microfiber cloth goes a long way in keeping the guitar free of dirt.
  • Store your guitar correctly. Don’t leave it out in the open for dirt to gather.


Cleaning your maple fretboard is easy. You just need to get a standard cleaning oil for maple fretboards and a piece of lint-free cloth.

Your maple fretboard will be free of dirt with a light oil scrub. But then, thoroughly cleaning your maple fretboard should be done periodically to keep it free of residual and hard-to-reach dirt.