Cleaning the inside?

October 17, 2009 at 07:08 PM ·

Title/summary says all, asked out of sheer curiosity, since I see specks of dust and dirt here and there in every violin I've looked into. Does this hamper the sound in any way?

Replies (24)

October 17, 2009 at 07:32 PM ·

Lest you're drinking beer out of your violin, I wouldn't worry about it. :>) 

October 17, 2009 at 07:37 PM ·

I hate dust bunnies and prefer to clean them out.  I always do this right before I take my violin for a soundpost adjustment because this method might nudge the soundpost:

Take 1/2 cup uncooked rice and pour into the violin through the F-hole.  Shake the violin around gently and then pour the rice out.  Don't worry, you can get all the rice out through the F holes, it's uncooked and will rattle inside indicating its presence.  Pour the rice out onto a white sheet and you will be clearly able to see all the dust bunnies the rice has taken out.

October 17, 2009 at 08:00 PM ·

Marina, I know folks who refer to dustbunnies as "toneballs", kid ya not....according to that religion, they help tone somehow.

October 17, 2009 at 08:43 PM ·

tone balls?  Never heard of that it!  lol  although I never had the impression they made my sound or that of my students' any better.  :)

October 17, 2009 at 08:44 PM ·

Or worse... but make sure you get all the rice out...that's an annoying sound! :)

October 17, 2009 at 09:07 PM ·

someone i know tried it with cooked rice -- not a good idea..

October 17, 2009 at 11:56 PM ·

You can use raw rice or just blow it out.  I use my Oreck hand held with the exhaust outlet, seems to work fine.  You can use compressed air as well but be careful to hold the can upright or you will have a frosty situation inside your violin.  

October 18, 2009 at 02:10 AM ·

Thanks everyone! Rice it is - I have plenty of that.

I wonder if the more expensive Japanese rices clean better... ahh just kidding.

October 18, 2009 at 03:58 AM ·


October 18, 2009 at 05:44 AM ·

So a pressure washer is a bad idea? That explains something......

October 18, 2009 at 08:40 AM ·

Not being much of a Domestic Goddess myself I have just tried this method for the first time in fifteen years of owning my backup fiddle. How often does it need to be repeated?  Is it a once in a lifetime project or a business as usual activity?

When I sifted through the murky grey rice that came out there were creatures that had lived and died in that fiddle during the last 150 years. Frankly, I don't want to examine them any closer.

The amount of belly-button fluff in my backup violin has concerned me for years, and I always knew that he was a boy and my other violin was a girl. Now this article confirms it. Middle aged, overweight males are more likely to have belly-button fluff. See I knew it, that's him down to a T.  Anyway he still has plenty of dust in his seams so his essence hasn't been compromised.

October 18, 2009 at 03:58 PM ·

Only clean out with rice before a soundpost adjustment.  I only clean it once a year.

October 19, 2009 at 01:17 AM ·

Seems to me that those cans of compressed gas used to blow dust out of computer keyboards etc. would be a bad idea for the violin by causing a rapid drop in temperature.

October 19, 2009 at 02:12 AM ·

If you can't see it, it's not dirty. 

October 19, 2009 at 02:16 AM ·

Agreed, if you can play a power chord without sneezing...I say leave it be :-) 

October 19, 2009 at 04:59 AM ·

Speaking of the "dust bunnies", if I remember correctly, a few years ago someone sold a violin dust bunny on eBay from (supposedly) a famous violin (or famous violinist's violin).

July 7, 2015 at 12:31 AM · Suck it out.......

with a vacuum cleaner..

July 7, 2015 at 12:56 AM · If you are competent in violin repairs, you could open up the belly for a thorough cleaning. An added bonus is you can also check the bass bar and regraduate. But opening a violin is something that is best left to a professional luthier.

July 7, 2015 at 04:12 AM · Whaaat?

Open a violin to clean it??

With the added 'bonus' that one could regraduate???

That sounds rather like drilling a hole through the back to install a sound post!

This too is best left to 'someone competent in violin repairs'.

Cheers Carlo

July 7, 2015 at 05:54 AM · Strads get opened all the time. Do you see them getting drill holes?

July 7, 2015 at 06:06 AM · They are not opened 'all the time' and certainly not on a whim to clean and regraduate!

Cheers Carlo

July 7, 2015 at 06:52 AM · Perhaps there would be a market for hi-tek Tone Bunnies?

"Authentic 17th century dust balls to make you violin sound like a Strad. Taken from behind the wall hangings of Europe's finest Chateaux!"

July 7, 2015 at 07:04 AM · what should I do with my cat's balls?

find a friendly viola.

July 7, 2015 at 10:44 AM · On a viola it could be a balls up ...

I always find after cleaning, the rice tastes great, cooked with a little salt.

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