THE ONE THING THAT EXTENDS THE LIFE OF YOUR INSTRUMENT
by Ryan McLaughlin
The one thing is cleaning! Simply wiping down an instrument after playing can make a significant difference in the care of an instrument. This habit does a few things. The process of wiping it down protects the varnish, which in turn saves the wood, which in turn saves from spending money on expensive repairs. It’s also a perfect opportunity to visually inspect the instrument to notice any potential problems before they become bigger. Read why below.
You’ll want to remove the rosin that fell on the violin while you were playing it, as well as sweat or dirt or makeup that may have gotten on the violin. Rosin and sweat are both slightly acidic and can attack the varnish on your violin. Dirt and makeup can build up on the violin and cause damage as well. Just wipe off the loose stuff, you don’t need to scrub. Even the most diligent instrument wiper-offer will eventually accumulate a little bit of rosin and dirt on the surface. No big deal. This can easily be cleaned off when you take your instrument to your luthier for a check-up every six months (I don’t charge to look a violin over). If you’ve kept your instrument clean, it’s easy for us to get those stubborn little spots off. Wiping down the instrument right after you play also gives you a chance to visually inspect things and catch potential problems early. I highly recommend that you do not use any special violin cleaners or polish (more on that later). Just a clean dry cloth. We have polish cloths you can use, but even an old soft t-shirt will work.