Cleaning A Violin- The Natural Way
When I was a little girl I loved polishing my violin. The polish made my violin look so shiny and new, and I loved the way it smelled! When I received my gorgeous handmade violin however I was paranoid about anything being on my violin including rosin, dust, and yes even polish. I meticulously wiped the beautiful wood down with a soft cloth after every use, but did little beyond that as far as removing spots and fingerprints. One day I visited my Luthier at his shop for a routine maintenance visit. He also put on a new coat of Italian Varnish (talk to your Luthier about having this done to your violin) and he cleaned it 'professionally'.
On my return to pick up the violin, I caught him in the act of finishing up his 'professional' cleaning, and this is what I found. He was holding my violin close to his face and blowing steam with his mouth onto the wood then quickly drying it off with a soft clean cloth (See video demo below). He chuckled when he saw my confused look and said that it was the best method he had found to clean and shine up the violin with no hard chemicals or polishes that would build up and damage the violin's varnish.
I don't know for sure where he learned it, maybe it's a little secret that has been passed down from generation to generation of violin makers, but I do know the quality of work and care that he puts into each of his violins, and that he would never do anything that wasn't top of the line. Ever since then I have used his method for cleaning my violin and it works wonderfully. Plus it's simple, free, and all natural.
For best results, keep your violin free from rosin and dust on a daily basis by cleaning a violin with a clean soft cloth at the end of each practice session. Use my Luthier's cleaning method every once in a while as needed to really give your violin a sparkle.
Steps to Cleaning a Violin
1. Get a small soft clean cloth. (Make sure it is soft and has a smooth surface as some harder clothes can scratch your violin).
2. Hold your instrument a couple of inches away from your mouth.
3. Open your mouth wide and slowly blow steam onto your violin. This is just enough moisture to get the dirt off, but your not actually sopping your violin in water.
4. Quickly dry the spot off with your soft clean cloth.
5. Move around the entire violin repeating the process. It does take a couple of minutes because you're only doing a small surface area at a time. I repeat the process over the really tough and dirty spots.
6. Step back and admire your beautiful, happy, and chemical free violin!
Go green and go safe! Use this method to clean your violin without the harsh chemicals or worry of damaging your violin.