Ernie Ball Wonder Wipes

Ernie Ball’s approach to cleaning products is rather unique to the music market. Instead of the traditional spray bottle and cloth, disposable Wonder Wipes come in a container that combines the two—a la Huggies baby wipes. EB’s three new products include Instrument Polish, Fretboard Conditioner, and String Cleaner. All are available in full size ($15 retail/ street N/A), or palm size ($8 retail/street N/A). The full size is similar to a typical container of three tennis balls. The palm size package is exactly that, complete with four finger ridges on either side.

Both sizes feature a snap-lock lid designed to keep the product fresh and moist once the inside plastic seal is broken. It’s a good system, as anyone who has ever carried a bottle of cleaner around in a gig bag is aware of the dreaded eruption that can occur when a bottle top is decapitated, and stray pumpage from a capless spray bottle is equally annoying and wasteful. The obvious advantage to these products is convenience, and the question is whether easy of use (and savvy packaging) comes at the cost of cleaning or polishing quality.

Instrument Polish

No application could be simpler. Pull a Wonder Wipe out of the container, expand it, and wipe it across a guitar’s surface. I focused on one half of the tops of an Alvarez acoustic and a Parker Fly. On the other halves, I used a boutique cleaning polish that comes in a box with a special rag. The Wonder Wipe was merely damp, and the moisture evaporated almost immediately after application. On both guitars, the Wipe side was equally shiny as the boutique polish side, and with no filmy residue. The only apparent disadvantage was the little wisps of tissue left behind—particularly on the Parker. I waited a couple minutes for the polish to dry, and then I was able to clear off the wisps using the same Wipe.

String Cleaner

I ran a Wipe under alternating strings of an ancient set on an old Stratocaster that had been socked away in a closet. On every other string, I just used a rag. In each instance, the Wonder Wipe grabbed gobs more gunk, and it revitalized the string significantly. Once again, the caveat was a few pesky tads of tissue clinging to the strings.

Fretboard Conditioner

These Wipes were generously laden with conditioner, and the Alvarez’s rosewood neck sucked it up like the first rain after a long dry season. After letting it dry for about ten minutes, the fretboard felt clean, smooth, and rejuvenated. I hadn’t removed the strings before application, and, once again, I had to pull off a few pieces of clinging tissue. g