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Violin Cleaning – An introductory guide

The violin is an amazing instrument that easily has one of the most pleasant sounds in the family of musical instruments. However, like anything that is nice, if you want it to continue playing music properly, you have to take care of your violin. Here are some steps to cleaning your violin that will make sure that you do it properly. You should always consult a violin maker about cleaning more valuable instrument, but these instructions are common to just about every type of violin.

  1. Wiping away the rosin: Your first step will be to take a light dusting cloth and simply wipe away all of the rosin that has accumulated on your violin. You don’t want rosin dust to build up on your instrument because too much can damage the varnish. You don’t want rosin to accumulate on the strings either, because you will end up with a grainy, less-than-perfect sound, no matter how well you play. Make sure that you don’t ever use rubbing alcohol, or anything with rubbing alcohol in it on your instrument, nor should you use furniture polish. While rosin does dissolve in alcohol, the risk of doing damage to your violin is too great.
  2. Take the same cloth and go over the most used areas like the chin rest and the neck where you hold the instrument. Sweat and other body oils can build up here, so make sure that you cover these areas carefully.
  3. Although you can use some of the cleaning products on the market these days, it is a good idea to find out which are mild and safe enough to use on your instrument. Check with your local violin shop or talk to others who play violin to get an idea about what they use. Some of these solutions use alcohol, and you want to ensure that you don’t do any damage.
  4. If your instrument is from a well-known violin maker it might be more expensive than you want to clean yourself. In that case, take it to your local luthier who specializes in the creation and care of stringed instruments. This will allow the instrument to be professionally cleaned while making sure that no damage is being done.


The bottom line is, depending upon your type of instrument, the violin is an easy instrument to clean, and a more thorough cleaning should be done by someone who is a professional in the field. Contact us, or stop by if you have any questions about cleaning your instrument, and we can help you with cleaning tips, or to decide what is the best way to get it done.


photo credit: drewsaunders via photopin cc

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