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White guitars will definitely turn yellow after some time.

Though, there are some things you could do to slow down that process – like keeping the guitar away from sun, regularly cleaning it and storing it in a case when not used. 

I am a big fan of white things in general (especially a white guitar). However, I can tell you that the yellowing issue happens to everyone. 

Though some people like white guitars that turn slightly yellow because that shows the history of them actually using the guitar. Are you one of these people? I personally am not.

Which is why in this article, I am going to go into the detail on the following topics:

  1. Why white guitars turn yellow
  2. Ways to prevent white guitar from turning yellow
  3. How to restore the color of white guitar
  4. How long before a guitar turns yellow
  5. Which guitar finish turns yellow the slowest

Why White Guitars Turn Yellow After Some Time

White guitars turn yellow over time because the finish of the guitars (like nitro and poly) tend to degrade and turn yellow. Guitars turn yellow even faster if they are continuously exposed to sunlight or cigarette smokes.

A white guitar does not turn yellow simply because it’s dirty – you cannot just wash the guitar and expect it to turn white again. The restoration process is more complicated than that – I will talk more about this later.

Most white guitars will eventually turn yellow – regardless of how much you protect it. Although it’s possible to slow down that process. Let’s cover this topic now with the 5 ways I used to prevent my white guitar from turning yellow.

5 Ways To Prevent White Guitar From Turning Yellow

1. Keep guitar away from sunlight

Keep your guitar away from direct sunlight to prevent it from going yellow. This means place your guitar stand or your hanger in a corner where sun rays don’t enter.

The UV light in sunrays can degrade the finish of guitar – especially nitro and poly finish. Continuous exposure over a long period will surely turn the white parts of your guitar yellow. 

Sun exposure is never a good thing for a guitar. Aside from the yellowing effect, continuous exposure to sunlight can change the temperature of your guitar and cause it to crack as well.

Make sure your guitar stand (or wherever you rest your guitar when not in use) does not come into contact with the sun!


2. Store guitar in a case when not using

Storing guitar in a case is the best way to prevent your white guitar from going yellow. The case protects your guitar from various damaging elements like sun rays, humidity changes or dust.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive case. The point is to enclose the guitar when not in use so the color stays the same after a long period. 

If you have the budget, then a good guitar case can be your best investment. If you don’t have a regular guitar bag could be good as well. 

Keep guitar in a case when you are done with them. This helps keep them clean and in shape.

3. Regularly clean your guitar after playing

Wipe your guitar with a microfiber cloth after each session – including the neck, strings and body to prevent it from going yellow over time. 

This way you make sure harmful particles on the guitar finish like dust and nicotine from cigarettes are removed.

Wiping your guitar regularly will also keep it sounding good. Over time, your guitar strings will naturally oxidize and eventually sound dull. Wiping with microfiber cloth slows down this oxidation process. 

If you wear glasses, you should already have a microfiber cloth – you can use it for your guitar as well (if you don’t mind). If you need one, you can always get it from Amazon or anywhere online for cheap.

Guitar microfiber cloth

Regularly cleaning guitar with microfiber cloth can slow down oxidizing process and keep your guitar in great shape.

4. Avoid smoking cigarettes around a guitar

Avoid smoking cigarettes around a guitar to prevent it from going yellow. Cigarette smokes contain nicotine that are notorious for turning things yellow – including your guitar body.

Having the yellowing effect on anything really is very common among cigarette smokers. If they are not careful, even the walls in the horse can turn yellow. 

If you are a regular cigarette smoker. Don’t smoke around your guitar. Otherwise, you will have a yellow guitar soon. 


5. Get a poly finish guitar

A poly finish guitar turns yellow much longer than a nitro finish. Both will eventually turn yellow but poly will take longer. 

Poly finish guitars are generally more durable to wear and tear damages and can remain shiny for longer periods of time. This is why poly finish guitars are the industry standard right now. 

If you want a finish that takes longest to start being yellow, then get a guitar with poly finish – they are they industry standard. 

This is not really a prevention tip – but I thought you should know!

poly finish guitars

Poly finish guitars get yellow the slowest.

Restore The Color Of White Guitar

To restore the color of a white guitar, you can try rubbing it with a polish / wax compound used in car detailing like meguiars.

I don’t really recommend doing this. You may get some parts yellow and some parts white. Personally, I would leave my guitar alone and embrace the yellowing process. 

Many guitarists actually love this yellowing process because it defines history and it somewhat looks cooler. 

There’s no easy way to restore the color of a white guitar. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can re-spray your guitar into white like this YouTube video. But I personally wouldn’t do this and instead embrace the yellowing.

How Long For A White Guitar To Turn Yellow?

Guitars can turn yellow after some 6 months or even 10 years depending on factors like the finish, exposure to sun (or smoke) and how you care for it. 

You can have your white guitar start to turn yellow after 10 years if you have a poly finish and follow all the prevention tips I shared above. This means regularly wiping the guitar body and keeping it away from the sun.

If you don’t take care of your guitar, then I am not surprised if the yellowing process begins even after 6 months of purchase. 

For a typical guitarist who only plays at home, I expect the guitar to start turning yellow after at least 3 years. 

Conclusion: Are White Guitars Hard To Keep Clean?

White guitars are hard to maintain and keep clean. Despite all the preventive measures you do, white guitars will still turn yellow – when given enough time.

Personally, I think white guitars are worth the hassle – they look great and can easily stand out among all the guitars. 

Just set your expectations straight – your guitar will eventually turn yellow over time. It’s just a matter of how long. 

Make sure you follow all my prevention tips. Keeping your guitar out of the sunlight and cigarette smoke are the best thing you can do to your white guitars.

Ifandi S.

About Ifandi S.

Ifandi started Strumming Bars to answer all the questions of a guitarist. As a self-learned guitarist, he remembered how frustrating it was to not find answers to his many questions in the journey. With Strumming Bars, that's no longer the case!

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