View Full Version : How to clean a uke

12-21-2012, 02:02 AM
I have an older uke that a friend surprised me with. I'm going to restring it. It's dusty looking under the strings. I've tried wiping it off with a cloth or a Swiffer duster and that doesn't help.
Any ideas?

12-21-2012, 02:10 AM
I'd dry wipe the body with a soft cloth. Beyond that, i'd be very wary of using any kind of cleaner on the body itself. I have a feeling that there are things you can use, but which one you choose will likely depend on how your uke is finished.

I've also used gorgomyte fretboard cleaning cloths in past with good effect (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Accessories/Cleaners,_polishes,_lubricants/Gorgomyte_Fret_and_Fingerboard_Cleaner.html?actn=1 00101&xst=3&xsr=6908).

Makes me think that maybe it's time for a Christmas time cleaning for mine!

12-21-2012, 02:50 AM
the MArtin guitar polish has done wonders for a few old ukes. I also used Gibson Fretboard conditioner. all good things for the wood.

12-21-2012, 03:16 AM
I have a few 40 year old basses finished with nitro that needed new strings and a good clean when I bought them. I wiped them down with naptha to remove the oils, dirt & grime that had built up over the years. naptha will not damage the finish, is easy to use and does a great job. after cleaning, I oiled the fingerboards and then polished them with Dunlop 65.

12-21-2012, 04:02 AM

12-21-2012, 04:20 AM
Never used anything but a cloth. If really grimy perhaps very very lightly moist. That's all

12-21-2012, 04:50 AM
Good advice in this thread

12-21-2012, 05:38 AM
I have an old martin uke which I brought into a well known & respected luthier (who is an authorized Martin repair guy) and he told me to use Turtle Wax Express Shine on the body and boiled linseed oil on the fret board along with the 0000 Steel Wool.

12-22-2012, 02:20 AM
It's a Famous by Kiwaya. I think my friend said her hubby had it for 40 years.
It's wood-the finish is dull.
Here's a pic of it, and the banjolele she also spent me. And my original uke, could leave my Dolphin out:)

12-22-2012, 02:57 AM
Mr Sheen, cloth, rub. What more do you need?

12-22-2012, 05:13 PM
Not sure Mr. Sheen is available here. Is it like Pledge for dusting?

12-22-2012, 06:30 PM
Normally a uke or any stringed instrument shouldn't recieve polish more than once a year ( if even that!). Polishes lubricate and moisturize wood which is good but they also clog up the pores and openings in the wood which will cause the wood to loose it's vibrance/ sound carrying qualities. Just use a polish once a year and between that use a dry cloth to wipe it down between sessions. Use a damp cloth to clean messes left by little sticky fingers. I've been using Pledge furniture polish as my once a year cleaner. I spray in on a cloth and wipe my uke down with the strings removed, getting around the bridge real good.

It may be tempting to polish your uke but the wood should really be dry, light and vibrant.

Do lubricate a fretboard more often as this part is under heavy use and bad oils from fingers and sweat salt can accumulate.

An older instrument could stand a light cleaning with a polish but then go back into the once a year routine. Use a cotton ear swab to detail around the bridge, fretboard, and nut. Use a couple of ear swabs soaked with light oil to clean around the tuning rears if you can. You 'll be suprised at the gunk you clean out of them.

12-22-2012, 09:37 PM
I just use a microfiber cloth for guitar. They clean very well without the need to dampen them or use any product. Dunlop and Planetwave make very good ones.

12-22-2012, 10:36 PM
Exactly. My point being it's made of wood so use furniture polish.

Not sure Mr. Sheen is available here. Is it like Pledge for dusting?

12-23-2012, 01:23 AM
Some day after Christmas I'll get ambitious, take off the old strings, get out the Pledge and Qtips, clean it up, and restring it with the Martins someone here kindly recommended.
Thanks all!