Every player needs to know how to take care of their instrument. So, do you know how to clean a violin? Whether you are a beginner or professional violin player, using a clean instrument will motivate you to play more and if you are still a learner, this will turn every practicing session into a good time.
Cleaning a violin does not take much time, neither does it involve a lot of hassle. Therefore, if your violin needs cleaning and you have no idea where to start, that's what we shall discuss today. So, make yourself comfortable to get enlightened.
Table of Contents
How to Clean a Violin
Step One: Wipe the Violin
Make it a habit to wipe out your entire instrument, including the strings, after each practice session. Sweat and rosins can dull your sound and harm the varnish if they accumulate on your instrument or strings.
Strings' projection and longevity will be reduced as a result. Wipe any rosin dust or sweat off the fingerboard, strings, body, back, and sides of your instrument with a soft, dry, and clean microfibre cloth. Don't forget about the chinstrap! It's not necessary to exert excessive pressure on the instrument's body or strings.
Step Two: Clean the Body
When cleaning your instrument's body, pay special attention to the F-holes and bridge. Because the woodwork on the bridge and the F-holes is so delicate, be careful not to get the cleaning cloth trapped in any nooks or crevices.
To clean the body of your violin, just use water and a moist cloth - never use polish or other strong chemicals, as they can damage the varnish. The varnish color serves as a barrier between the wood and the elements.
Clean the front of the violin up and down instead of sideways, to avoid going against the grain of the wood. This guarantees that any marks made on the wood are in line with the grain.
If any obstinate spots remain on your violin, moisten a different cloth with water and try again. Many violins have a thick layer of varnish that can withstand some elbow grease if necessary. Even yet, if you notice any varnish color bleeding onto your material, you should stop immediately.
If you want to clean your violin while also restoring the shine to the gloss, use a tiny bit of olive oil or almond oil on your lint free cloth with a pinch of tripoli powder.
Step Three: Cleaning the Inside
Dust that collects within your stringed instrument can muffle and muffle the sound it creates.
Pouring rice through the F-holes is an easy way to remove dirt and clean inside your violin. Shake the rice around so that it collects dust all the way through the inside of your violin. The dust will finally congeal into a ball, which you can carefully remove with tweezers.
The sound of your violin should be much crisper and clearer after you've cleaned the dust clogging up the interior of it.
Step Four: Cleaning the Violin Strings
If you don't clean the string more often, they may end up with a heavy build up of rosin. Rosin build up can prevent the strings from resonating as necessary.
You can tell if your violin's strings need cleaning when they turn white. During cleaning, the strings may produce an unpleasant screeching sound, so you may need to protect your ears.
If you want to get rid of rosin, body oils or sweat build-up on your violin strings. You can use ethyl alcohol or a special string cleaner which you will get from violin makers music shops.
Apply few drops to a paper towel and gently wipe the threads up and down, one string at a time. Make sure the alcohol does not come into contact with any other parts of the instrument. Also, avoid harsh chemicals.
Step Five: Cleaning the Chinrest
When a violinist is cleaning their instrument, the chinrest is sometimes forgotten. It can, however, become extremely dirty with time, necessitating the same level of attention and care as the rest of your violin.
Because the chinrest is the area of the violin that your face comes into contact with, you should clean it before and after each performance.
Remove the chinrest from the violin if you wish to completely clean it. After that, clean the chinrest with a damp cloth dampened with a little warm, soapy water.
After drying the chinrest with a towel, let it air dry until it is totally dry. When the cork on the bottom of the chinrest is completely dry, you'll know it's done.
Check for any lingering moisture after allowing the chinrest to dry before reattaching it to your violin.
Step Six: Cleaning the Fingerboard
Grime and rosin can quickly accumulate on the fingerboard of your violin. Due to the visible blockage of the strings, keeping the fingerboard clean can be tough, so it's worth setting aside some time every now and then to give it some TLC.
You will have to reduce the tightness of the strings one at a time, to clean the violin's fingerboard. To release tension, use the pegs and gently place the string on top of the one next to it.
The exposed area of the fingerboard can then be cleaned thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat this procedure until the fingerboard is spotless.
Step Seven: Wipe the Bow
Rosin can build up on your bow, just like it can on your instrument and strings, affecting its sound and durability. Wipe the rosin off the stick with a soft, dry, and clean microfibre cloth placed between the bow hairs and the stick. Make it a habit to do this at the end of each practice session.
Step Eight: Clean the Violin Case
Once a week, or if you notice flakes of dust, dirt, or rosin, empty and vacuum out your case. Keep an eye on your case as well. Your instrument won't stay clean if its storage isn't clean. This method also helps to keep dust mites at bay. Bow hair is a favorite of those annoying mites, so check the hygiene of your casing every week or two.
Violin Maintenance Habits
We understand that violins are some of the most delicate string instruments, and what do we do with delicate items? We care for them more keenly. In this section, we shall look at various ways of caring for your violin daily.
a). Loosen the Bow
Remember to loosen the bow after each practice session to keep it in the finest possible condition.
If you pull the hairs from the stick with your bow tight, they will ultimately fall out. Furthermore, it will eventually cause the bow to tilt to one side or perhaps break at the point.
b). Dust with a Cloth More Often
The best thing you can do to protect your violin is to make it a habit to clean it after each practice session. Although it may appear to be a tiny and trivial task, irregular cleaning causes most violins to lose their sound quality.
You can use two microfiber cleaning cloths: one to wipe the rosin and the other to clean the rest of the violin. Try not to clean everything with a single microfiber cloth. If you wipe away the rosin and dust with the same piece of cloth, you risk spreading it to other violin components during the cleaning process.
c). Check the Temperature
A violin should be kept at a temperature of 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Subtle changes in the alignment and structure of your violin might cause variations in sound production or even harm the string instrument as wood expands and shrinks. Your violin's tune may also be affected by the adjustments.
As a result, you should never leave your violin in direct sunlight, as high temperatures can cause uneven expansion and warping of your stringed instrument. Also, avoid storing your instrument in a cold environment. Extreme temperatures may not only damage the wooden elements of your violin, but they may also cause the strings to break more quickly.
d). Use Peg Paste When Need Be
Peg paste, also known as peg compound, is used to aid in the smooth turning of pegs that have become stuck or are unable to stay in place. It simplifies and improves the precision of tuning pegs. Rub some peg paste compound on the peg shaft to aid in smoother spinning. Use only a small quantity where the peg meets the pegbox, and use it sparingly.
e). Control Humidity
The humidity level for a violin should be between 40 and 60 percent. Humidity can be controlled in two ways: in the room where the instrument is stored or in the case.
Remember to always put the violin back in the case when you're through playing if you're managing humidity in the violin case. If you like to control the humidity in your room, keep a humidifier in your violin case when traveling during the dry months.
Frequently Asked Questions On How to Clean a Violin
1. What happens when your violin gets wet?
The oil based varnish on the outer side of the violin repels water. However, the interior does not, as it is not sealed wood. When the interior of the violin absorbs water, it expands, which may cause cracking, open seams or warping.
2. Can you clean violin strings with water?
When cleaning your violin strings, avoid water by all means. You can instead use a clean piece of cloth to clean your violin strings. Other things to avoid when cleaning the strings include steel wool and rosin.
Instead, you can use a dry cloth, special violin string cleaning pads or the side of your credit card if you do not have anything else at hand.
3. Why does my violin sound scratchy?
Your violin may sound scratchy if you use too much rosin on your bow. Also, if you use too little rosin on the bow, the tone will fade out during your bow strike. So, note that the amount of rosin you use on your bow highly determines whether or not you will achieve poor or great sound during every playing session.