Best Guitar String Cleaners 2018 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

What's the best way of extending the life of your guitar strings? The answer is simple: Keeping your strings clean. 

Wiping down your strings after each play not only extends the life of your strings, it makes them play better too. There are dozens of products out there that not only clean, but also lubricate your strings in the process that help you play faster. 

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Guitar String Cleaners On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

5 Best Guitar String Cleaners

Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration (for those that had one) so you can see them in action. 

1. Kyser String Cleaner (Budget Choice)

Kyser String Cleaning

Starting with this product from Kyser, it’s a very affordable guitar string cleaner that protects your strings against corrosion and the effects of skin acid. It also makes your strings play better, making them smoother and easier to play.

  • ​Very reasonable price
  • Lubricates as well as cleans
  • Lubricates as well as cleans (yes, you may not always want to lubricate your strings. Why? Some claim that lube can dull the tone of the strings)
  • No bespoke applicator like some of the other products we review

2. GHS Fast-Fret String Cleaner

GHS Fast-Fret String Cleaner (2-Pack)

I'd be surprised if you hadn’t come across Fast Fret already. The name gives away its main use - as a string lubricant that helps you play faster - but it features on the list due to its cleaning properties too. The applicator is very easy to apply to your strings too.

  • Bespoke applicator is really handy, letting you run it up and down the strings
  • Cannisters are hard wearing and easily fit into a gig back
  • Keeps the strings sounding fresh
  • It’s primarily a lubricant (hence the name). Some people prefer just a cleaner, claiming that lubricants have an undesirable effect on the strings (I personally haven't found any issue)

Let's take a look at this product...

3. The String Cleaner, by ToneGear

The String Cleaner by ToneGear

Cleaning the underside of strings is always a bit tricky - this device gets around that problem very effectively. It’s a clever little gizmo that fits around your strings for 360 degree cleaning. You then move it up and down the strings to clean your strings along the entirety of the fretboard.

  • Unique device that’s designed solely for giving your strings a thorough clean
  • Quickly easily cleans 360 degrees of all strings simultaneously
  • Greatly increases the life of strings.
  • No chemicals or solutions.
  • Not the quickest solution for a quick wipe down.
  • Not a disposable item.


4. Music Nomad MN109 (Editor's Choice)

Music Nomad MN109 String Fuel Cleaner and Lubricant

This all-in-one cleaner and lubricant from Music Nomads is another good option. Ergonically designed for easy application and rectangular in shape that covers the width of your fretboard (makes sense right?) it's up there with the best of them. 

  • ​Lint-free microfibre cloth
  • Ergonomic applicator, rectangular in shape that covers the width of the fretboard
  • Bit more expensive that similar products

Let's take a look at this product...

5. Planet Waves XLR8

Planet Waves XLR8 String Lubricant/Cleaner

Finally, the last on our list is another cleaner and lubricant - this one is the XLR8 from Planet Waves. Coming in a robust little tin that almost reminds me of a shoe polish, it's a really good budget option. Note: the tin actually serves as a home for the applicator that lives inside it and does not house any solution.

  • Wide applicator that makes application super easy
  • Comes in a hard wearing metal tin
  • Very reasonable price
  • I have seen a few negative reviews on Amazon that the product tends to dry out quickly, even with the applicator cap on.

Let's take a look at this product...

So which should I choose?

While all five products will do the job of cleaning (and in many cases lubricating) your strings to a perfectly satisfactory level - or quite frankly they wouldn't be on our best guitar string cleaners list - my favourite however is Music Nomad's String Fuel Cleaner and Lubricant.

I love the feel of the ergonomically designed holder and it was super easy to apply to my guitar. Just a couple of runs up and down my strings and job done!

That said, you can't really go wrong with any of the five - just make sure you starting cleaning your strings between sessions with something, that's the most important thing!

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.

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