If you’re wondering if you should use WD-40 on guitar pots, the answer is no. You should never use WD-40 on guitar pots. The only thing it’s good for is removing dirt and rust from metal surfaces. It also might damage the pot coating so that it will corrode faster than before.
In this article, I’ll share a step-by-step guide to make sure you clean your pots the right way.
So without further ado, let’s just get right into it, shall we gents?
Will WD-40 work on volume pots?
WD-40 is a great lubricant, but it isn’t really meant for use on guitar electronics.
I used to clean pots with WD-40 when they got noisy or scratchy sounding before discovering that you shouldn’t do it!
To be honest, WD40 does a decent job of cleaning and lubricating BUT a significant amount of it evaporates.
You need to open a pot in order to do a good job of cleaning it. Some pots are destroyed as a result.
If you go to all that effort and your time is valuable, it’s worth replacing them instead.
It’s worth noting, though, that the bulk of WD-40 is utilized as a drying liquid for wet ignition systems.
The solvent, (most likely alcohol), will attract water and then evaporate quickly, taking the water with it. It isn’t intended to be a long-lasting lubricant.
It’s a very low-viscosity lubricant that can get into rusted joints.
Can WD 40 clean potentiometers?
As briefly mentioned above, WD-40 is a solvent much like alcohol.
It’s not intended to be used as the primary lubricant and won’t last very long under normal circumstances.
A better safe than sorry approach would be to replace them instead of spending hours cleaning and applying something that might not work so well anyway!
Many people consider WD-40 to be completely worthless as a lubricant and would never recommend using it on anything mechanical or electrical.
That being said, WD-40 is a decent product that serves many purposes, but I don’t believe it should ever touch your potentiometers!
What happens when you use WD-40 to clean guitar pots?
I used to mess with this stuff.
One thing that I’ve found over the years is that using solvents, like alcohol and other thin liquids, will cause corrosion of electronics components. This includes potentiometers!
The solvent takes the water with it when dried up leaving behind traces of rust left in your potentiometers!
This can cause severe problems if you’re not careful which is why I strongly suggest replacing them instead of spending hours trying to clean and lubricate them.
What can I use to clean my guitar pots instead of WD-40?
The most popular spray-cleaner brand is Deoxit, an electrical contact cleaner with the slogan “Chemically Improves Connections!”
Other brands include CRC, Max Professional, and Permatex.
You only need to spay this stuff into the pot or switch and turn the components until they are clean.
I have used all of these cleaners on potentiometers with great success.
They are best used when you have to open the potentiometer in order to clean it.
If not, they can get into places that solvents cannot reach!
I would recommend using one of these types of contact cleaners for this job over anything else.
They all work great and don’t cause problems with corrosion as other solvents such as WD-40.
Can I spray WD40 on electronics?
In theory, yes, you can spray on electronics but it’s not always a good idea.
In fact, I’ve been told many times that it will cause problems.
I have used WD-40 to clean volume pots before but never again after learning about the potential damage it can cause long-term!
Sometimes you just have no choice and must use whatever is available to get by with a job done.
If this sounds like you and your situation I would not recommend using WD-40 as it is a solvent.
It will cause corrosion of the components if left on for too long!
Even so, solvents should never be used regularly as they evaporate quickly leaving behind traces of rust in your potentiometers or switches thereby causing problems later on.
How do you lubricate guitar pots?
The best way to lubricate them is with Deoxit Faderlube.
FaderLube™ safely penetrates, displaces moisture, and leaves behind a micro-thin lubricating film to protect your pots.
It has an extremely low evaporation rate so it will not dry out over time!
FaderLube™ is compatible with all types of materials including plastics, rubber, or metals like steel and aluminum.
It’s safe to use on almost any potentiometer you come across!
What are some tips for cleaning guitar pots?
First, it is important to be gentle.
If you have an old vintage-style pot that has not been used in years or even decades you will want to take extra precautions while removing it.
Excessive pressure and force might do more harm than good.
I like to spray a small amount of Deoxit Faderlube directly onto the pot before turning it back and forth until clean.
The lubricant won’t hurt anything as long as you don’t leave it on for too long, especially if there is rust involved.
Should guitar pots be lubricated?
Potentiometers are extremely robust, and if properly cleaned and lubricated, may function for years.
Guitar pots should be cleaned at least once per year with either Deoxit Faderlube or other contact cleaner spray to prevent corrosion from taking place!
If you want your guitar components to last longer consider using a contact cleaner to clean and lubricate them at least once per year.
You don’t have to worry about getting every speck out as long as it doesn’t completely coat the internal components.