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Thread: How do you clean your fretboard?

  1. #1
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    Default How do you clean your fretboard?

    Curious to hear what you all use to clean the dirt and grime from your well loved fretboards (particularly those that are lighter colored). I've got a few ukes with light fretboards (maple, light walnut, purple heart) and while I definitely like how the patina changes as it ages, I also want to be able to get some of that fingerprint dirt off when I change strings. I've used a tiny bit of lemon oil and that hasn't removed dirt well from the maple - better to help buff out marks on my soft wood tops.

  2. #2
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    I usually use lemon oil, but I also have some Planet Waves "Hydrate Fingerboard Conditioner" that works well as a cleaner.

    My Dunlop 65 lemon oil says it's not to be used on maple.

  3. #3
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    From google: Maple fretboards are a slightly different animal than darker woods like rosewood or ebony. Do NOT use any kind of lemon oil on your maple fretboard–regardless of whether the product contains actual lemon oil or not. Instead, stick to fretboard conditioners like Music Nomad’s F-ONE Oil (may favorite) or plain mineral oil. These don’t contain lemon oil or any artificial colors that can discolor maple.

    In general, oil isn’t necessary on a maple fretboard. You can get by just fine by giving it a firm rubdown with a soft clean cloth and maybe a little moisture from your hot breath, if necessary.
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  4. #4
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    I used to use mineral oil but then a friend gave me a bottle of Dunlop 65 Ultimate Lemon Oil. I guess if you aren't supposed to use it on maple, you aren't supposed to use it on maple. Too late for me, I've used it on maple. If one doesn't want to though, the mineral oil works well.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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  5. #5
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    Good question. I have two older ukes with koa fretboards, which of course are the ultimate for koa ukes, but they have the disadvantage that they discolour and darken with finger contact. While this did not bother with the 2000 KoAloha, the old white label Kamaka was so soiled from heavy use that I gave it to my luthier for cleaning and setup. He did a great job but did not reveal his secret for cleaning the fretboard.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=UkerDanno;2276849]From google: Maple fretboards are a slightly different animal than darker woods like rosewood or ebony. Do NOT use any kind of lemon oil on your maple fretboard

  7. #7
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    I also use Dunlop 65 Ultimate lemon oil. A tiny bottle will last you years and years.

    I think the reason not to use it on maple fretboards is that they are finished; and the lemon oil will strip off the finish.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by clear View Post
    I also use Dunlop 65 Ultimate lemon oil. A tiny bottle will last you years and years.

    I think the reason not to use it on maple fretboards is that they are finished; and the lemon oil will strip off the finish.
    That very well could be. The maple fretboard I've used it on many times is on a cigar box ukulele that I made and I didn't put a finish on it. Nothing bad has happened as a result. But if someone hadn't given it to me I would still be using mineral oil. I'll add though that I always clean the grime and grunge first with a damp dishcloth, wipe it off with a towel then apply the oil as conditioner to keep it from drying out.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordana View Post
    Curious to hear what you all use to clean the dirt and grime from your well loved fretboards (particularly those that are lighter colored). I've got a few ukes with light fretboards (maple, light walnut, purple heart) and while I definitely like how the patina changes as it ages, I also want to be able to get some of that fingerprint dirt off when I change strings. I've used a tiny bit of lemon oil and that hasn't removed dirt well from the maple - better to help buff out marks on my soft wood tops.
    One thing Mim pointed out over the weekend: check right next to each fret for a dirty (green) build-up. She hates receiving ukes to work on that have that moldy stuff growing there. She recommended any of the commercially available guitar/uke fretboard cleaners or oils. She uses lemon oil. As she says, "A little dab will do you."
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    One thing Mim pointed out over the weekend: check right next to each fret for a dirty (green) build-up. She hates receiving ukes to work on that have that moldy stuff growing there. She recommended any of the commercially available guitar/uke fretboard cleaners or oils. She uses lemon oil. As she says, "A little dab will do you."
    I use a toothpick (wood) and run it next to the fret to get that green stuff off.
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