Bass Cleaning

This actually came from a conversation on the unofficial Discord server.

How do you keep your bass looking good? How often do you clean it? DO you clean it? xD

My father told me between string changes to use lukewarm soap and water, a soft plastic bristle brush and q tips in the hard to reach areas, towel dry, and apply car carnuba wax to the wood.

What say you? How do you take care of yours?

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I use those things made for dust :

I must confess I clean a bass only just before recording a cover on video

also I use linseed oil on rosewood and ebony fingerboards, each time I change the strings on a bass or a guitar. and I often polish the fretwire with steel wool before applying the oil.


I actually use guitar cleaner (not sure if it is just marketing but whatever) with a microfibre cloth on the body/neck and steel wool on the frets (with a single fret exposer so the wool doesn’t hit the fretboard) and fretboard oil on the fretboard. But I only do that when I change strings, which is not very often. Just a dry microfibre cloth on the hardware.

However, I think I need to up my game here. My new bass has gold hardware and people say you can prolong the gold coming off by wiping the body oils off the tuner pegs after each use, etc.

@Sp33dSnakr If you do use water, make sure you put it on the cloth first and that it is only slightly damp. And obviously don’t clean the pickups with anything damp. :slight_smile:

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I wipe it with a dry microfiber cloth once every couple of months


After playing, I wipe my bass off with a soft microfiber cloth (especially the chrome tuner pegs and bridge cover). Then I wipe the strings down with a MusicNomad string cleaner. :slight_smile:


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I do basically what @terb does except with “lemon” oil (really just mineral oil with a little lemon oil in it), and for the frets I just use something nonmetallic, like a 3M kitchen pad on the fret wires.

I do wipe the bass down with a microfiber cloth when it gets dusty, too.


actually lemon oil and linseed oil doesn’t serve the same purpose. the lemon oil is more like alcool or gasoline, it’s useful to clean the fretboard but it doesn’t really feed the wood. linseed oil is more appropriate for this, and the ideal is to use lemon oil first, then wipe it and then apply linseed oil.

a much better idea than steel wool, for sure :grin:

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yeah - to be clear this “lemon” oil is not really astringent at all; it’s mineral oil with a small amount of lemon oil in it. Pure lemon oil would be terrible to leave on a fretboard without following up with other oil.

It’s this stuff. I think it is more than 80% mineral oil with a little lemon oil in for cleaning.

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Ditto, I run the microfiber cloth under the strings every couple of weeks to wipe down the fretboard, and clean the strings with this, which was recommended to me by @Jazzbass19.

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I use Dunlop 65 Guitar Cleaner and a microfiber cloth. I use fast fret on the strings but have yet to deep clean them.

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Microfiber wipedown (I’d love to say ‘after each time I play’ but that would be like telling the dentist i floss daily) but as often as i remember.
I use Fast Fret on the strings which supposedly cleans and lubes.
I use the music nomad guitar cleaner / microfiber for body/back of neck from time to time.
Music Nomad F-ONE oil for the fretboards that are rosewood or ebony (had to pick something, appears to work fine).

Haven’t cleaned frets yet but like the idea of a 3-m pad and protection of the fretboard vs. the steel wool because of all the little bits that might end up on the pickups (i guess you could tape them just in case).

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I’m ashamed to say that I often just intend to clean my bass. Sometimes I even really think I should, but most of the time I forget

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I have that Nomad String Cleaner tool also, it’s handy just be aware there is a pretty strong and interesting smell from the mineral oil. Some people like it, some people hate it. It doesn’t bother me too much but it does kind of smell like those air freshener things they put in toilets.

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Fast Fret has the ‘mineral oil’ smell too.
I say it tells you you did something positive, :sweat_smile:

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Here is a video on changing strings, but also how to clean your bass. Tank is a roadie, his profession is to tour with bands and maintain the instruments. He is also a bass player. He gets into some detail but very informative


@bjams I never noticed the smell. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ll try to notice it next time.

Got some of these yesterday, great for making dried-out fretboards like new again - Ernie Ball Wonder Wipes

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I wipe the dust off with a dry microfiber cloth often.

I have a gallon of restaurant bulk supply mineral oil around because we have butcher block counter tops to maintain. It is tremendously less expensive to buy it this way. The same oil goes on everything wood in the house that needs it including the bass.

I don’t notice any smell. There are some oils out there with artificial scents.

Because @terb mentioned linseed oil and I wanted to learn about it I found this . . .


I use the cutting board oil I keep in my pantry. I have a large jug of it that I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond. It works fine on the neck of a guitar as well.

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I also use this occasionally…