How To Clean Guitar Pedals

How to clean guitar pedals

Gigging and taking pedals to practice means you’re going to get them dirty (and that’s if you’re lucky), often you‘ll find liquids finding their way around, and if you want to sell your pedal to fund your next GAS outbreak, then you may need to know how to get adhesive muck left by Velcro off the bottom of the unit. Let’s find out how to clean guitar pedals…

To start with, you’ll need some good quality, soft cleaning cloths, guitar cleaning liquid, a small, soft brush perhaps (toothbrush or a firm paint brush), Servisol Super (or similar contact spray, though I’ve always liked this one), WD40 or some glue dissolver (such as De-solv-it, Sticky Stuff remover), and some fader lube.

PLEASE NOTE: always be very careful when using any form of cleaner or oil etc., that it doesn’t react with your pedal’s paint or ink finish. Boutique ones can be more prone to reacting so please be careful.

Remove The Knobs
First stop, pop off the knobs. Check how yours are attached; they will usually simply be a friction fit (in which case make sure you can get under both sides before levering up—don’t use anything that will scratch your pedal, so find some plastic tool that will work well for you), or they will have a small grub screw holding it on.

Once you’ve got the knobs off, it’s much easier to clean.

Velcro Residue
You can either use WD40 (it will dissolve the glue), don’t let it dribble anywhere else though. After a few minutes use the cloth to remove the residue. You may need a few goes at this. De-Solv-It Sticky Stuff works well here too.

If there are some stubborn bits, you can use your nail or a soft edge plastic tool. Again, go slow and gently, and make sure you’re not damaging the paint of the pedal.

Finish off with a final wipe of WD40 or glue remover.

Fader Lube
If your control knobs aren’t smooth, get some kitchen towel and protect the area around the control knob shaft. Spray a small amount on the shaft and help it work down by rotating it a little.

General clean
Often all you need is some hot breath and a cloth, but if there is stubborn staining you’ll need to use a general guitar cleaner (don’t forget to check your finish first when using chemical sprays (or anything that says natural) be sure before you go for it!). Just give the pedal a good once over. I’m often amazed at how dirty they get.

It’s worth taking a look inside to see if there’s any liquid residue etc., and clean as necessary, but be careful in there, especially around chips and electronic components.

I’ve used compressed air to remove dust first, then isopropyl alcohol (90% or better, though wear gloves and be careful with any high percentage isopropyl alchohol) if the PCB needs cleaning. It goes without saying remove the battery or any power before doing anything to your pedal like this.

Contact Spray
Spray a little contact spray onto a jack plug and pop it in and out of each socket rotating slightly as you go, adding more spray as necessary. Contact spray is a marvel, and reduces noisy contacts. It can also be used on the power socket the same way. Spray a power plug and pop it in and out a few time.

With all this don’t be rough, and take your time, and you’ll help your pedal sell better on the used market, but also last longer on your board. That’s how to clean guitar pedals!

Let us know if you have any great tips you swear by.

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