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Elke Meier
I know we have talked about this quite a bit in times past, and I am one of the one who used cork to clean rosin from strings. So I was surprised to see this post today from Warchal (and glad I did see it...): Don't use cork for cleaning strings
Elke Meier
8 Responses
Posted: March 12, 2018
Last Comment: March 13, 2018

Michael Baumgardner
Posted: March 13, 2018
Very interesting link.  The best tips are "rosin lightly and often" and "soft cloth frequently".  I used to use steel wool occasionally (which I see is a no-no in the linked article).  But after a number of years I've found I don't really ever need to clean them if I follow those two tips diligently.  It's amazing how beat up the strings in the pictures can get from being cleaned by various methods - although I doubt I'd ever be able to notice a sound difference.

Inge Black
Posted: March 13, 2018
This is a useful and informative discussion.  I had never considered cork, but on my old violin and old strings I used alcohol once, when rosin was caked on because as a beginner I had not realized that strings also need wiping.

I have two microfiber cloths of different colours.  I worried that the strings would have so much rosin on them, that I might end up wiping rosin into the violin body if I used the cloth I had used on strings.

Btw, when I had lessons over a decade ago, that teacher had discovered the cloth that comes with shoe polish - it is soft and has a soft yellow colour.  I think back then microfiber was less well known (did it even exist?).

Ted Adachi
Posted: March 13, 2018
So I bought a microfiber cloth today.

At least in my part of America, we don't hear much about these as liquid cleaning products seem to dominate.

So the cloth worked well on the strings and it seems to work well on the violin body and fingerboard as well (so far).

Mohammed Hajjar
Posted: March 13, 2018
I noticed that the rosin build up takes place when there is a shift in humidity.  Since I live in a dry Climate (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), when it rains or there is change of weather, the following days I notice that the strings are a bit gluee because of the rosin.

Previously, I used to use alchohol pads but lately I have used a fiber cloth or a rough towel.

Christopher Sinkule
Posted: March 13, 2018
uh-oh...i've been using denatured alcohol :X

Elke Meier
Posted: March 12, 2018
DON'T USE ALCOHOL, Susan! In the article on using cork there is a link to their general article on string cleaning where they show experiments of what it did to the strings if alcohol was used. 

For dirt on the violin I use Bella Cura. However, my luthier wasn't too happy when she heard that. She felt that I should leave it to the luthier to use ANY chemical on the varnish of a violin. Her reasoning was that varnish reacts very differently and as a lay person it would be very difficult to know which cleaning lotion would react maybe negatively with the varnish of my violin. Those kinds of lotions can also clog the varnish. I don't use it often, and if I do only very sparingly (like to get rid of finger prints). It hasn't damaged the varnish. 

I let the luthier take care of years of baked in rosin under the strings when I first got my violin. Since then I just use a soft cloth and wipe it off before it gets baked in again... For finger prints and such kind of dirt the luthier recommended just breathing on it and wiping it with a soft cloth (like you would do with glasses).

Susan Hollister
Posted: March 12, 2018
Thank you for that information! I have read that you can clean the strings with a little rubbing alcohol. What do you think of that? 

I also have some build up of rosin on the violin under the strings. How do you suggest I clean that off?

Beth Blackerby
Posted: March 12, 2018
Good to know :)