Guitar Polish Review – 8 Best Products To Shine And Protect!

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Is your favorite guitar looking a little dingy these days? An awesome finish needs to be kept polished for proper protection and to look its best! In this guitar polish review, I’ll tell you which 8 products I like best and what makes them a great choice to use on your guitar.

Guitar Polish Review – Polishing the body of an electric guitar

All polishes are not created equal. More expensive isn’t necessarily better, and using the wrong polish can actually harm your guitar’s finish!.

You need to familiarize yourself with the “dos and don’ts” of keeping your instrument looking great.

Keep on reading to discover more!


Why Should You Polish Your guitar?

If you want to get right to the guitar polish product reviews, scroll down to the next section.

The main reasons to polish your guitar are to keep the finish looking good and to protect it from oil, sweat, and dirt on your hands, pollutants in the air, and the sun’s ultraviolet rays (to a certain extent); all of which can degrade the quality of the finish over time.

If you own a guitar with an expensive finish, then you will definitely want to polish the body and neck (if appropriate) routinely. However, many players with old guitars or instruments that have been “reliced” to look old purposely prefer not to polish them to preserve their appearance’s character.

Always clean your guitar before polishing it, and use a cleaner specially designed for the guitar’s finish.


If you’re in a hurry, check out this summary table!

PolishSize Avg PriceProsCons
Guitar Polish Review – Fender guitar polish Fender Custom
Shop Polish
2 oz$8.00Very High-End ShinePricey for its
small size
Guitar Polish Review – Dunlop 65 guitar polishDunlop Formula 654 oz$5.00Cleans & PolishesMay not fully
clean very
dirty guitars.
Guitar Polish Review – PRS guitar polishPRS Guitar Polish4 oz$5.50Removes Snudges
As It Polishes
Not recommend for nitrocellulose
lacquer finishes
Guitar Polish Review – MusicNomad MN103 Guitar ONEMusicNomad
“All In One”
4 oz
and
12 oz
$10.00

$24.00
Cleans, polishes,
waxes, and protects
Not recommend for
matte finishes, pricey
Guitar Polish Review – Gibson Pump PolishGibson Pump Polish4 oz$7.00Cleans as
it polishes
A little pricey
for size
Guitar Polish Review – D'Addario "Restore" PolishD’Addario Restore4 oz$6.00Removes heavy
grime and
light scratches
Use with caution on
delicate finishes and
expensive guitars
Guitar Polish Review - Ernie Ball Guitar PolishErnie Ball4 oz$10.00Polishes quickly
without streaking
or haze
May not polish to
a high-gloss finish,
pricey
Guitar Polish Review - Martin Polish & CleanerMartin Polish6 oz$12.00Great polish for acoustic guitars
with gloss finish
May not remove grime off some surfaces
More detailed information on each product can be found below.

My Picks For Guitar Polishing

Here are the polishes I would recommend for your guitar, which include some of my favorites that I have used for many years and still use today.

They represent a wide price range, so you should be able to find something that fits your budget.

Guitar Polish Review – Fender guitar polish

Fender Custom Shop Guitar Polish

Fender Custom Shop Guitar Polish is my favorite product these days. It does a fantastic job of polishing without streaks and feels great to the touch.

I use it on my guitars with “high-end” or very detailed finishes because it never makes them look dull or smudgy. It’s “Master Builder Approved!”

This Fender guitar polish is pricey but worth it!

Size: 2 Oz

Retail Price: $8.00

Fender Guitar Super Care Kit Bundle

Fender also offers an excellent “Kit Bundle” to pamper and take excellent total care of your guitar. This four-step system gives you one bottle of each Fender Custom Shop Guitar Care product and they all contain a high-grade carnauba formulation that does not have silicones, resins, polymers, bonding agents, or alcohol.

The kit includes:

Guitar Polish Review - The Fender Guitar Super Care Kit Bundle
Highly Recommended by My Guitar Lair
  • Custom Shop Guitar Cleaner – to remove dirt and grime
  • Custom Shop Guitar Polish – to help restore the finish to its orginal luster
  • Custom Shop Fretboard Remedy – to clean, hydrate, and protect the fretboard
  • Custom Shop Quick Clean – to use after each time you wipe down your guitar
  • Fender Dual-Sided Super-Soft Microfiber Cloth – has 1 side for cleaning and 1 side for polishing
  • Fender Factory Microfiber Cloth – shines without scratches or smudges

Retail Price: $35.00

Dunlop Formula 65 Guitar Polish And Cleaner

Guitar Polish Review – Dunlop 65 guitar polish

I’ve used Dunlop guitar polish as an “all-purpose” treatment for my electric guitars for years now, and it always does a great job.

It is marketed as a product that “cleans and polishes.” So, if you want a real-time-saver, you should give this polish a try.

If your guitar is really dirty, I recommend cleaning it well with a dedicated guitar cleaning product before using this polish.

You can’t really go wrong with the price and the “two-for-one” cleaner-polish action. I love everything made by Dunlop!

Size: 4 Oz

Retail Price: $5.00

Jim Dunlop System 65 Guitar Maintenance Kit (6500)

Dunlop also makes a “guitar maintenance Kit” that includes everything your need to keep your guitar in tip-top condition.

It includes:

Guitar Polish Review - The Dunlop System 65 Maintenance Kit
Highly Recommended by My Guitar Lair
  • 654 Formula No. 65 Polish and Cleaner
  • 6574 Bodygloss Cream of Carnauba
  • 6582 Ultraglide 65 String Conditioner
  • 6524 Fingerboard Cleaner and Prep
  • 6532 Deep Conditioner Oil
  • 1 Micro Fine Fret Polishing Cloth
  • 2 100% Cotton Cloths

Retail Price: $23.00

PRS Guitar Polish

Guitar Polish Review – PRS guitar polish

I use PRS guitar polish on all my Paul Reed Smith guitars because it’s a great high-luster polish, and it’s formulated and recommended by the man himself!

This polish removes smudges as it shines and is safe for all urethane finishes.

Using this polish on guitars with nitrocellulose lacquer finishes is not recommended because it might create haziness.

PRS polish is a great buy for the price and quality!

Size: 4 oz

Retail price: $5.50

PRS Guitar Care Bundle

Guitar Polish Review – PRS Guitar Care Bundle
Highly Recommended by My Guitar Lair

PRS also makes a guitar care bundle for more comprehensive maintenance.

The materials in this kit are “specially formulated to be of the highest quality, just like PRS guitars.

The bundle includes:

  • PRS Guitar Cleaner – that removes dirt and fingerprints
  • PRS Guitar Polish – restores the finish to a brilliant shine
  • PRS Fretboard Conditioner – restores the fretboard and improves playability
  • 3 Microfiber cloths that have the PRS 12th fret eagle outline

Retail Price: $25.00

MusicNomad MN103 Guitar ONE, All-in-1 Cleaner, Polish, and Wax

Guitar Polish Review – MusicNomad MN103 Guitar ONE

The MusicNomad MN103 is marketed as a “complete solution in a bottle” for gloss finish guitars. It cleans, polishes, waxes, and protects, all in a single application.

It’s safe on all lacquer finishes, including nitrocellulose, but it’s not recommended for use with matte finishes.

It comes in two sizes, and you get a price break on the bigger bottle.

Size: 4oz and 12 oz

Retail Price: $10.00 and $24.00

MusicNomad Total Guitar Spa

For the ultimate in guitar care, consider the 15-piece “guitar spa.” This package has everything you need to give your guitar the comprehensive maintenance it deserves. The 15 individual products are designed for various types of detailing, cleaning, polishing, and conditioning.

If you want a guitar cleaning kit and a polish for virtually every type of guitar then this is what you have been looking for!

It includes:

Highly Recommended by My Guitar Lair
Guitar Polish Review - The MusicNomad Total Guitar Spa
  • Guitar Detailer – to use for Matte/Satin Finishes
  • Guitar ONE – for Gloss Finishes
  • Pro Strength Polish – for scratches and hazy surfaces
  • String Fuel – Cleans and conditions your strings to last longer and play faster
  • A 5-Piece FRINE Fret Polishing Kit
  • 3-Piece F-ONE Fretboard Care Kit
  • 3 premium, edgeless suede microfiber detailing cloths

Here is a video by MusicNomad where Rand Rognlien shows you how to care for guitars with Nitrocellulose (Nitro) Finishes. Awesome info, check it out!

Guitar Polish Review – Gibson Pump Polish

Gibson Pump Polish

I can remember using Gibson polish all the way back to the 1970s! Just a little bit worked great, the bottle seemed to last forever, and my guitar looked really shinny.

It does a decent job of removing oil and dirt as it polishes without future build-up.

Gibson guitar pump polish does not contain any chemical propellants, so it is eco-friendly.

I would not hesitate to recommend this product to anyone.

Size: 4 oz

Retail Price: $7.00

D’Addario Restore Guitar Polish

Guitar Polish Review – D'Addario "Restore" Polish

D’Addario Restore Detailer is a deep-cleaning polish, which is useful for cutting through heavy dirt and grime. It can polish out swirl marks and eliminate minor scratches while giving a brilliant and high-luster shine.

I tried it on a low-end guitar with a polyurethane finish that was heavily scratched with areas of caked-on grime. It did a great job cleaning the finish and lightened the scratch marks.

I would be a little hesitant to use this on a more expensive guitar, even though it claims to be “safe on all common guitar finishes.”

Size: 4 oz

Retail Price: $6.00

Ernie Ball Guitar Polish

Guitar Polish Review - Ernie Ball Guitar Polish

Ernie Ball Instrument Polish is another product that I have used for many years. Their guitar strings are practically legendary! If you’ve been playing a while, then you’ve most likely had a set of “Ernies” on your guitar at some time or another.

The manufacturer claims their polish is oil-free and “safe on most tonewoods and finishes.” In addition, it can be wiped off immediately after applying, and it doesn’t leave streaks or haze.

Some players have claimed that the polish leaves “scratch marks” in their guitar finish, but I have never experienced this and I have used it on many guitars. Sometimes polishing can make tiny scratches that were already there but difficult to see on a dirty surface appear more prominent.

It’s also important to gently clean a dirty guitar surface with a soft microfiber cloth before you polish; otherwise, particulate matter can scratch your guitar.

This polish comes with a 12×12-inch microfiber cloth.

Size: 4oz

Retail Price: $10.00

Martin Instrument Polish & Cleaner

Guitar Polish Review - Martin Polish & Cleaner

I have used Martin guitar polish a serval acoustic guitars, and it gives them a gorgeous shine. However, it should only be used for acoustics with a gloss finish, not with satin-finish guitars.

Martin claims their product cleans as it shines, but I have always had better results when cleaning an acoustic guitar before I apply their polish.

It’s important to wipe down your guitar after each time you play it. If you follow this tip, then the Martin polish will work very well for you.

Many players I know have used this product on their electric instruments with no issues, but it is formulated specifically for acoustic guitars.

This is the polish that Martin uses on their guitars before they leave the factory. Need I say more?

Size: 6 oz

Retail Price” $12.00

Here is a video from Dave Doll at Martin Guitar. He shows you how to clean and polish your acoustic guitar, as well as how to care for the fretboard (I would definitely go easy on the 3-in-1-oil).


Guitar Polish Review - A photo depicting a "risky" path

Guitar Polish Alternatives To Avoid

You are better off using a cheap polish that’s specifically made for your guitar’s surface than any of these or other alternatives that are not formulated specifically for guitars and can harm the finish.

You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get a good polishing product. Many of the polishes in this article are reasonably priced and will do an excellent job on your instrument.

Furnature Polish

I have to admit that I used my mother’s “Lemon Pledge” furniture polish on my Sears Silvertone electric when I was a teenager. But, unfortunately, I could not buy a polish specifically made for guitars at my local music store, and there was no Internet.

By the time I bought my first Strat in the early 1970s, Guitar Player magazine was advertising guitar polish, and I purchased some by mail order.

Nothing horrible happened with the Pledge, but I very rarely cleaned and polished it at the time.

Furniture polish contains silicone oils that can leave a visible film and react with the guitar’s finish to stain it and change its appearance permanently.

Car Polish

I knew a country music guitar player that swore by his “Turtle Wax,” and I could not convince him to use anything else. I even gave him a bottle of guitar polish but he was a stubborn guy. Luckily it was a once every couple of years event, and he was putting it on a fairly cheap Japanese knockoff electric.

Never use car polish on any musical instrument! It can be loaded with chemicals that will harm the finish. Fortunately, most first-timers realize it is too thick and leaves a greasy-looking appearance.

Armor All

Armor All is a protectant, not a polish. It is made for soft surfaces like automobile dashboards and tires.

The active ingredients in the classic formulation are silicone, diethylene glycol (an “anti-freeze-like” derivative!), and glycerin, as well as various other potentially harmful chemicals.

Armor All’s bright protective finish can quickly wear off where your hands and arms run against your guitar, making the surface appear “splotchy.”

Homemade Cleaners And Polishes

I’ve seen people use everything you can imagine to clean and “polish” their guitar, including soap, vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, lighter fluid, Windex, Fantastic, as well as the three polish alternatives mentioned above.

Needless to say, quite a few damaged and even wrecked instruments have been brought into my shop for repair over the years.

A decent guitar cleaner and polisher is fairly cheap and will last you quite a while, so I don’t recommend you cook up any homemade concoctions to do the job.


What’s The Best Guitar Polishing Cloth?

A cloth made from microfiber will usually work best, but any soft cotton cloth will do. Many guitar cleaners and polish come with their own cloth, which is usually your best bet.

An old soft, and clean 100% cotton shirt will do in a pinch.

Never use one cloth for cleaning and polishing unless you are using it with a commercial guitar product that cleans and polishes in one application.

Replace or wash your cloth if it:

  • Begins to show signs of wear and tear
  • Becomes saturated with polish
  • Does not distribute polish evenly on your guitar
  • Will not shine you guitar to a high-gloss finish (leaves hazy areas)
  • Begins to smell badly (for whatever reason)

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts For Guitar Polish Review

Polishing your guitar is a good practice to protect the finish and keep it looking its best. The best guitar polish uses carnauba wax in a specifically designed formulation.

Different polishes can work best for various guitar finishes, like polyurethane and nitrocellulose (nitro) or designs (acoustic, electric, solid-body, semi-hollow body, etc.).

Always read and carefully follow the directions on the polish to see if it is recommended for use with your guitar. This is a good way to avoid damaging the finish and get the best results.

Ultimately, selecting a guitar polish also comes down to your own personal taste in shine, performance, and even smell.

It’s best to try a variety of polishes and settle on the one you like best. The polishes reviewed in this article are high-quality, and they all have something that will work well for various types of guitar finishes.

Always be sure to gently clean your guitar to remove any particulate matter, even if you use a product that cleans and polishes. This will avoid scratching your instrument’s finish.

For more info about guitar maintenance, see Why Change Guitar Strings? – Tips To Play And Sound Awesome! and How To Keep An Electric Guitar In Tune.


A rock band of figures made from nuts and bolts.

Tell Me What You Think

Please leave me a comment below if you enjoyed this guitar polish review, have any questions about these products, or want to leave your own personal review. I will be happy to help you.

  • Do you clean and polish your guitar(s)? How often?
  • What is your favorite polish and what guitar(s) do you use it on?
  • What are the key ingridients you look for in a polish?
  • After reading this article, are you thinking about trying a polish or changing to different product? Which one?

About Frank


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4 thoughts on “Guitar Polish Review – 8 Best Products To Shine And Protect!”

  1. This article is very detailed and explains a ton of what to use and why.  Any wooden instrument takes at least some oil to preserve the wood.  The table you put in is great for comparing each product and their uses. I appreciate the detailed descriptions below the table so one can make an informed decision and find the exact one needed and for what purposes.

    Reply
    • Hi, Feochadan

      Thank You for your comments!

      I’m delighted you found this article helpful.

      Traditional wood instruments do typically require some type of oil-based treatment. Some electric guitars have polyurethane-coated bodies, necks, and fingerboards, so they need to be treated a little differently.

      It’s important to properly care for your instrument, no matter what you play.

      Frank

      Reply
  2. Man… There’s just something about the smell of good polish when you open your guitar case, isn’t there? Such a nostalgic feeling when I smell it. I know, I’m weird. 

    I’ve been using MusicNomad All-in-One for a while now off of Sweetwater’s website. It is the one that I would recommend to someone but I know that there are other great ones out there.

    This isn’t polish related… But I have a vintage Oscar Schmidt 6-string acoustic that is splitting apart where the need meets the body. Any recommendations of what to do to fix this? I’ve had this guitar for awhile and really do NOT want to get rid of it. And I don’t want to pay the $300 quote a shop gave me to fix it. Any thoughts?

    Thanks for the article, Frank. I could read about guitar accessories all day long! 

    Reply
    • Hi, Caleb

      Thank You for your comments!

      I totally know what you mean about the guitar polish smell. You’re not the first guitar player to mention that to me, and it is a bit nostalgic. Nothing weird about enjoying the little things in life that can make you smile.

      MusicNomad All-In-One is an excellent product. Maybe you should check out their “Total Guitar Spa”; see my article for further details.

      Anyway, it’s awesome that you enjoyed the post, and I hope you’ll come back to my site again! 

      I’m not really sure what you mean about your Oscar Schmidt guitar problem. I assume you meant to write “neck.” If your neck is coming apart from the body, then you have a serious issue. You may need to remove it and reglue it at the proper angle. If it’s not done correctly, then the intonation and action will be off.

      It doesn’t really sound like a job for someone unfamiliar with the process, and it requires special tools.

      Frank

      Reply

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