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Rubbing alcohol on a cloth. Be sure not to soak the cloth, you don't want any dripping's on the violin finish.
70% - 91% is ok, I use it eveyday.
Edit:.... I forgot, Welcome to the forum, Fiddlerwooman.
I cut a piece off an old T-shirt, cover my index finger with it, insert finger in bottle, turn bottle upside down to wet the tip of my finger and rub the string's and fingerboard. It doesn't take much at all. A $2.00 bottle of alcohol will last a long time.
Don't pour the alcohol onto the cloth. As, Stonedog says, just a little dab'l do ya.
I clean mine by rubbing them with a cork. I'm way too much of a klutz to trust myself not to end up dripping alcohol on the rest of the instrument.
I can't say that a cork would get the strings as clean as a solvent could. But doing it before wiping the strings down takes off enough to keep the rosin from building up.
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman
For "in-between" cleanings, I found that jean material works the best to remove unwanted rosin from your strings.
.....or...you can just wipe your strings on the jeans you are currently wearing like me! .....just don't tell my wife! LOL
Every once in a while, I'll use the rubbing alcohol method, but regular wipings with my jeans keeps them pretty clean!
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin
I use ethanol. Works very well but like others have said, do not get it on the varnish.
But there is another way that takes a few minutes longer and can't hurt anything.
Saliver. Yes, good old spit on a piece af cloth. Spit on the cloth and start rubbing. When you first start the string will 'squeak'. When it stops squeaking the string is clean
The great thing about this method is that you always have it with you and it's really cheap.
No, this is not a joke. I'm actually being serious this time
Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of ..... What was I saying????
I wipe the strings down with a dry cloth every so often when moderate amounts of rosin build up. If there is a lot of rosin and it's really caked heavily on the strings I will take a soft cleaning rag, put a little >90% isopropyl alcohol on the cloth and gently wipe down the strings to remove and dissolve the rosin. The reason I use the stronger 90% or higher grade alcohol is that it contains less water so it evaporates readily and has less of a tendency to leave a film of water on the strings. Denatured alcohol or pure ethanol should work just as well.
Generally I only have to do this is right after I play after rosining the bow. Heavy rosin build up and rosin dust all over the fingerboard and the body of the violin is a sign that I applied too much rosin. I try to use the least amount of rosin needed to provide adequate friction and good sound.
I will also sometimes wipe down the upper part of the strings where I finger the strings. It helps to remove excess skin oils and other substances that gets transferred from the fingers to the string.
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