How To Clean A Guitar Case The Best Way: The Ultimate Guide

how to clean a guitar case

Guitar cases are meant to protect your guitar. If it does not, why would you buy a guitar case? While being stored in a place or in between gigs, a sudden mess is likely to happen, or your guitar case gig bags or hard case somehow may mess up with stains, bad odor, or mold attack.

Whether you have a hard case or gig bags, the exterior of a guitar case can be cleaned with a few cleaning items. Here I have gathered some tips on how to clean a guitar case. Follow them to keep your guitar clean and maintained for a long time and protected.

Many manufacturers recommend specific cleaning procedures for a particular model. So please do check the cleaning instructions provided in the instruction manual. If you don’t get one with the box, contact the retailer or manufacturer for details.  

I strongly recommend cleaning your guitar case regularly. The more you do that, the easier it gets to keep it clean. So without further ado, let’s get into how to clean a guitar case! 

How to clean a guitar case- Hard shell case 

Hard guitar cases are typically made of wood, molded plastics, or fiberglass.  Find the tips below to clean them.

What you’ll need:   

  • Two soft and washed sheets, old clothing or sheet preferably cotton or similar  
  • Warm water  
  • Dishwashing soap or liquid    
  • One toothbrush or a scrub brush (optional)  
  • Vacuum cleaners or air compressors  

Step 1: First, vacuum the interior thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner or air compressor to keep the dust or particles away. Whether you think there is no dust or dirt while using the case on gigs or shows, or roadshows, dirt always makes ways to enter. Even the air-tight guitar cases are not entirely tightened.   

Tiny dust makes room in the corners, pockets, or any other narrow spaces or openings. Banish them with blow dust or vacuum cleaner.  

Step 2: For cleaning, add one drop of washing liquid into a cup of warm water and stir properly.   

Wet 1 clothing sheet into the mixture. Then, squeeze out the water from the sheet.  

Wipe the exterior properly with that damp cloth. Re-check any stains on the surfaces and remove them till there is none. You can wipe the guitar case with a brush if you like.  

Tips: I recommend not using a liquid mixture to wipe inside. Only do it if there are any tough stains. I recommend not to use damp cloth inside since the mixture may damage the soft plush lining; the soft and cushiony lining may not return to its previous state if damaged.   

Step 3: Now, for drying, you should use the other cloth to dry it out. Be attentive where we used to overlook; all the corners, edges, hinges, and latches. If the outer shell is not dried out properly and somehow water remains, it may, in the long run, damage the texture of the exterior and the hardware too.     

As an alternative to clothing for dry-up, use a machine shop vac to remove any standing water. Use a shop vac for the plush liner if you wash it with a damped clothing sheet.  

Now, you are done! Your guitar case is ready to store.  

How To Clean A Guitar Case- Gig bags

The guitar gig bags are made of polyester, nylon, or leather. There is two way you can wash your guitar case.

  • In a washing machine
  • Wash by hand  

In a washing machine  

cleaning gig bag in washing machine

What you’ll need: 

  • A washing machine 
  • Warm water 
  • Detergent 
  • Sunlight 

Step 1: Put it in the washing machine. Make sure it fits properly with ample space for the machine to work. Remove all things from the case and pockets.  

Caution: Always check out the label to see if your case complies with machine wash.  

Step 2: Then, put laundry detergent and warm water into the machine.   

Step 3: Choose a gentle washing program, and add warm water to get rid of all stains. Look for the drums if they are working properly since soft guitar cases are not like regular clothing pieces.   

Step 4: When washing is completed, rinse it and dry. Then leave your guitar case exposed to the sun outdoor. When perfectly dry, you can put your guitar into the case.  

Wash by hand  

Washing by hand is the best way to wash a guitar case if it is too big to fit in a washing machine or has thickened padding. What you’ll need: 

  • Warm water 
  • Detergent powder 
  • Sunlight 

Step 1: Get your guitar case into a bathtub or bathroom floor. Add washing detergent powder along with warm water. Use the brush to scrub the guitar case properly.  

Step 2: Scrub it to the end so that no stain is left or a bad smell prevails. Then wash with clear and warm water till there is no soapy water. After that, squash it out.   

Step 3: Keep it outdoor and exposed the guitar case for 48 hours minimum. When dried, the guitar case is ready for your guitar.   

How to Clean a Guitar Case: Maintain your guitar hard case  

Maintaining your hard shell guitar case 

Odor Control: The guitar case tends to suck up all the odors it comes to contact with; cigarette smoke is very common. Below you will find ways you can say goodbye to bad odors:   

Lemon Oil: Soak up a toothbrush in lemon oil. Wipe the guitar case, every inch of it, using a toothbrush before you clean up your guitar. It helps to remove the bad odor that a regular clean-up cannot.   

Dryer Sheets: Stuff your case with dryer sheets a few days before a gig. If you can, wipe the case with these sheets. Remove it on the big day. Feel the difference.   

Baking Soda: Pour a box of baking soda into your guitar case, and close the lid for ten days. Then remove it to feel the freshness.  

Activated Charcoal: Put the charcoal in a container with a lid, and close the lid for a week. The purifying process is slow, takes up a few days to make it work. It can take weeks to get optimum performance. So be patient.    

The Three-Step Trick: If you are ready to go the extra mile, opt for these three steps as it is the most effective way:    

  • Clean the entire case with a dampened cloth   
  • Add some simple green   
  • Spray the case with Febreze till there is no bad odor  

Use a Hygrometer: Consider using a hygrometer to determine the proper humidity level where you store your guitar in wet and humid conditions. The ideal humidity range for acoustic guitar is 45-55%; a variation for the range up to 5% is acceptable. A digital hygrometer is more accurate and easier to use, and it’s not that pricey, typically ranging from $25-$45. If the condition is over-humid, consider buying a humidifier to keep things under control and safekeeping your guitar.  

Consider Buying a HumiCase: If you live in humid climates, the wooden case may absorb excess moisture and affect the sound of your instrument. Often the glue used for a guitar case may loosen due to high humidity and may cause buzzing. Bulging or swelling of ukulele or any other guitar, the chief reason might be the over-humidified condition. In such an environment, my recommendation is to use a HumiCase, instead of a regular case.  

Mold Control: Always, Always try to store your guitar in a dry zone. I know, it’s not possible all the time. If you have to store your guitar case in a dark and moist area for a long time, mold will start to grow. If it touches your guitar case, no wonder it may transfer to your guitar someday. If it happens, the fixation is expensive to bear. Here is how you can control mold:  

Things You’ll Need:  

  • Water  
  • An old piece of clothing  
  • Bleach  
  • Vacuum Cleaner  
  • Germicidal Uv Light  
  • Lysol Disinfecting Wipes  
  • Ground Coffee  
  • Sunlight  

Add bleach and water in a 1:9 ratio in a container. Damp the piece of clothing in the solution. Wipe the spots that are infected by mold. Be cautious if there are changes in fabric color. Dry the guitar case in sunlight. Then wipe the infected areas with Lysol disinfecting wipes. Dry it again.  

If there is mold grown already, use germicidal UV light to kill them. Note that it is an expensive solution. So, take precautionary measures, and clean your guitar case regularly to prevent things go out of control.   

How to clean a guitar case? How to keep away mold odor? Fully vacuum the guitar case regularly before cleaning. Add ground coffee to your guitar case for a day. Voila!  

Pro Tips:  

Put a few silica-gel packs in your guitar case to avoid the chances for mold to grow.  

How To Clean A Guitar Case: Conclusion  

Many people tend to care for the guitar more than the case. The guitar case protects your guitar, you need to protect it to ensure the safe keeping of your guitar. This post is all about how to clean a guitar case. Follow them and invest time to clean up the guitar case regularly and protect the case so that it protects your guitar.

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