What's the best material for a cleaning cloth?

August 21, 2016 at 11:23 AM · Hi, I wanna ask a simple and quick question.

Which material is the optimal one for wiping rosin and cleaning the violin after practicing?

May be microfiber, cotton, fabric, silk, leather, velvet, wool...

May be is kind of a stupid question and does not really matter, or may be someone tell me that there's a material that really makes a difference. Thank you.

Replies (27)

August 21, 2016 at 12:51 PM · I've been using microfiber cloths since SHAR started selling them. Before that I used diaper-quality cotton.

For cleaning strings I've been using scrubbies (like these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/291835701406?lpid=82&chn=ps&ul_noapp=true ) for almost 15 years since one of my cell students gave me one that his mother had made from nylon thread. I just never use them on instrument wooden surfaces.

August 21, 2016 at 01:26 PM · Once again I agree with Andrew. I realize that one might feel like a dumb-ass paying $10 for a cleaning cloth from a violin shop, but they sure do work well. I've tried to find the same type of cloth by the yard, but so far I have not been able to. I especially love the slightly larger gray-colored cloths from Shar.

August 21, 2016 at 01:46 PM · I use microfiber dishtowel that I bought in the Christmas Tree store for 99 cents and launder it once a week.

August 21, 2016 at 02:17 PM · Flannel (cotton). I hate microfiber for my violin.

Microfibre slimes the oils all over, and I'm not convinced that it doesn't scratch.

However, whatever you do use, it has to be clean. Wash regularly.

August 21, 2016 at 03:09 PM · I'm using microfiber for my viola! Works pretty well

August 21, 2016 at 03:26 PM · Microfibre. I have the grey one from Shar bought 25 years ago. Chuck it the the washing machine when it's grubby. Good as new.

Cheers Carlo

August 21, 2016 at 04:04 PM · Microfiber does the job nicely. Wash it from time to time and replace it when I don't like how it looks.

August 21, 2016 at 05:25 PM · Nice, microfiber then... I've been using a piece of fabric from a shirt I had. It's been great for now, but I wanted to know if there were any other better option just for the sake of having something better, not that the fabric was failing at cleaning.

August 21, 2016 at 05:44 PM · Sounds like someone sold NA some fake microfiber. :)

August 21, 2016 at 07:34 PM · Lol

August 21, 2016 at 08:14 PM · Nope. I clean a lot. I know my dirt.

August 21, 2016 at 09:59 PM · Microfiber, but the quality of it seems to degrade after a few washes. Still good for cleaning the violin, but not good for cleaning stuff like... lenses and other optics equipment.

August 21, 2016 at 10:10 PM · Microfiber or cotton, no fabric softener or dryer sheets.

August 21, 2016 at 11:50 PM · I use a cloth I was given at the violin shop. I guess it's microfiber. The guy said to wipe my violin down with it and clean it in the washer. Before that, I used old t-shirts. To get the strings clean, I wipe them with a dry wash cloth first to get the powder and stuff off. If really hard, I use a wine cork. So far, I never had to use a cleaner.

August 22, 2016 at 03:43 AM · Don't just throw the microfiber cloth in the laundry with everything else. If you do, it picks up fibers from everything else, and it's no longer microfiber--and then it WILL scratch things. Wash it by itself or with other microfiber cloths.

August 22, 2016 at 09:02 AM · This should do it, right?

It's from Amazon Basics.

August 22, 2016 at 10:02 AM · I use pieces of old (100%) cotton T shirts and wash them every two weeks. I clean both the violin and the strings with these.

August 22, 2016 at 11:05 AM · @Tim. The cloths you show in your picture look nothing like the micro-fibre I use. Mine is like a handkerchief sized version of the fabric supplied wth quality glasses. It is much finer and has no knap.

Cheers Carlo

August 22, 2016 at 12:01 PM · For years I used flannel and I still think it works very nicely. In recent months I've been using microfiber cloths both for dusting furniture and for cleaning violins.

For furniture, there is no doubt that I like microfiber cloths of various types better. They really pick up the dust. Other cloths kind of move the dust around, without really picking it up. And a slightly moistened regular cloth will pick up dust - but the slightest moisture left will invite future dust to stick.

Back to the violin - I find that microfiber cloths come in a variety of textures. Some are too thick or somehow gummy - and they get stuck on the varnish and rosin. But some types work fine and as with furniture, they pick up more. For the bow I still prefer the smoother and more flexible flannel. I get mine from "The $ Tree" - 2 cloths for a buck! You can't beat that! And at that price, I don't bother with washing; I just throw out the cloth after some time and invest a dollar in new ones!

PS @ TM - "The guy said to wipe my violin down with it and clean it in the washer." I presume you don't mean the violin in the washer! ;-D

August 22, 2016 at 12:19 PM · Really? Here's the description:

Ultra soft, non-abrasive microfiber cloths will not scratch paints, coats or other surfaces

Cleans with or without chemical cleaners, leaves lint and streak free results

Absorbs eight times its own weight

Pack comes with three different towel colors (blue, yellow, and white)

Rinse and reuse 100's of times

Imported; 90% Polyester 10% Polyamide

Wait what? I thought you were supposed to wash the violin like once a year in the washing machine. All those spins are good for projection, that's what a YouTube violinist said once.

August 22, 2016 at 04:39 PM · Well, if a YouTube violinist said so I may have to revise my opinion! But don't use bleach - not so good for the varnish!

August 22, 2016 at 05:47 PM · Okay *NOW* I know what those silk violin bags are for. So that your sneakers won't scratch your violin in the same wash load.

But seriously, I do wash my microfiber cloths in the wash machine, and they get dried normally, with a dryer sheet.

And I have often wondered whether you could completely remove the varnish entirely from a violin by immersing the instrument in a vapor degreaser with trichloroethylene. (Mainly I wonder if the hide glue would hold.) One of these days I'm going to buy a busted-up garage sale VSO and give it a try. The other possibility is one of those dry-cleaning machines that uses supercritical carbon dioxide.

I agree with Carlo. The ones we use don't have any nap. Those towels from Amazon look too thick. I can't see drawing one of those under my tailpiece or under my fingerboard, or tucking a wee corner of it in the gap under my bridge.

August 22, 2016 at 06:35 PM · Oh, may be you're right about the thickness. I'm gonna re-think it.

August 23, 2016 at 03:30 AM · "Don't just throw the microfiber cloth in the laundry with everything else."

Yep, that's what I did wrong with mine. ;)

August 25, 2016 at 05:26 AM · My luthier gives away microfiber cloths with her name and phone number on them. She said they're better than the cotton handkerchiefs I was using.

She did say to throw them in the wash from time to time and didn't say anything about what else went in the wash with them. She went to violin making school so I trust her advice.

August 25, 2016 at 06:51 AM · Mine go in the wash with everything else. Often through the drier as well. They come out like new.

Cheers Carlo

August 25, 2016 at 11:38 PM · microfiber... keep a second cloth just for wiping down your bow.

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