When it comes to the maintenance of your guitar, cleaning it properly is the first step. The number of times you should ideally clean it, depends on how frequently you use it. You can either clean it thoroughly every month, or generally clean apparent parts like strings, headstock, keys, and body, after every playing session. So that the tone of the guitar sounds the best and next to original always, famous guitar players get their guitars cleaned and serviced by professionals known as 'guitar technicians' or simply 'guitar techs'.
When cleaning it, you may need to disassemble the guitar and separate some of its parts from the body. The way you clean it also depends on whether it is an acoustic guitar or an electric one. You can use a variety of products offered by famous brands such as Gibson, Fender, Planet Waves, C.F. Martin & Company, and many others.
Cleaning Guitar Strings
For the strings, use a clean and soft cotton cloth, or do it using string cleaners like 'The String Cleaner' or 'The Swipe'. Place the guitar on a flat surface with its back on the flat surface. Take the cloth and put it in between the strings and fretboard in such a way that the remaining cloth on both sides is put over the strings, covering the strings from above and below. Slide the cloth up and down the fingerboard several times to clean the strings.
You can even use a guitar string cleaning solution or WD40 cleaner on the cloth. Products like 'The String Cleaner' or 'The Swipe' can be used in the same way as the cotton cloth. You may also use a paper towel instead of a cloth. This cleaning method can be applied on an acoustic as well as an electric guitar. If it is a bass guitar, it is recommended that you clean the strings one by one owing to the string thickness.
Cleaning Guitar Fretboard
Guitar fretboard cleaning is done best after taking all strings off the board. The way in which they are taken off would of course, be different for acoustic and electric guitars. After you take off the strings, take a cloth and clean the fingerboard to remove dirt. Now, take another clean cloth, spray some guitar cleaning liquid, and rub the fretboard exhaustively. Make sure you get rid of the dirt that resides in corners of the frets as well.
Use a toothpick or a toothbrush to take out dirt that cannot be removed using a cloth. After you are done, use a dry cloth to polish the fretboard. You can now restring the guitar using old strings or preferably, new ones. If you plan on cleaning your guitar this way every three months, it is suggested that you use a new set of guitar strings every time you restring. Generally, the body and headstock is to be cleaned with just a soft cotton cloth. Wiping the body after every playing session, keeps the shine of the body intact.
Cleaning the guitar at regular intervals is very beneficial for retaining the original tone of the guitar and also increasing the instrument's durability. It is a good idea to keep a guitar care kit in the cover. If you own an electric guitar but do not play it very often, it is advised that you keep it with detuned strings.