Ladies! What do you use to clean your chin rest?

Edited: January 7, 2018, 12:57 PM · What do you use to clean make up off your chin rest? I have a new very nice carved ebony chinrest and my cloth alone isn’t getting the makeup off completely.

Replies (25)

January 7, 2018, 12:58 PM · May be... don't make up when you practice?
January 7, 2018, 1:09 PM · ??
Edited: January 7, 2018, 1:22 PM · If you're using enough makeup that it gets on your chinrest, I suggest playing with a cloth over the chinrest. Or not using makeup there / using less makeup / using makeup that won't adhere to the chinrest.
January 7, 2018, 3:21 PM · This is a great question. And really, if you think about it, not just cosmetics, but also our human sweat and oil could make the chinrest feel kind of disgusting even if you wipe it off every time after playing.

I think cosmetics that uses titanium dioxide as one of the main ingredients (listed on the very top in the list of ingredients) are the ones that are impossible to be completely cleaned off. Same thing with sunscreens, they are impossible to clean.

Maybe you can try to find foundations that don't use it as a main ingredient and see what happens.

I have a friend who just uses an inexpensive chinrest and changes it once a year. But as for me, I think chinrest affects the sound of the instrument, so I don't touch it. But I also don't like a piece of fabric that I need to put on and take off all the time, so I designed my own chinrest cover out of beautiful fabrics. I think aesthetically, they are pleasing, and it does not affect the sound of the instrument. Most importantly, I just have to wash the chinrest cover instead of dealing with the mess of cosmetics.

Another thing you can try:
stick one of those removable sole silicone gel inserts onto the chinrest. You can cut it to the shape of the chinrest and just keep it there until you are ready to replace the gelrest again. I used to use it for the comfort, but I find it kept the cosmetics off the chinrest very well. It is inexpensive and very effective, but aesthetically not so pleasing to me.

January 7, 2018, 3:44 PM · I don't think I've ever gotten makeup on my chin rest, but I occasionally clean it with rubbing alcohol.
Edited: January 7, 2018, 7:02 PM · Use a cloth and wash it regularly. I don't wear makeup anymore, but I find covering chinrest with microfiber cloth has reduced skin irritation and keep this part of the instrument dry and clean. To prevent it splip off, like Y Cheng, I design my cover by wrapping the cloth over the chinrest and gather the corners of the cloth with a small elastic band.
Edited: January 7, 2018, 5:44 PM · I would use rubbing alcohol as Mary Ellen has suggested. However, even though there may not be any obvious "coating" of varnish on your CR, it might still be "sealed" or "oiled" or treated somehow. (I would have to ask an expert if that is typical for ebony CRs.) If it's oiled or sealed in some way, then repeated use of solvents could leach out those materials, leaving your CR unprotected from penetration by moisture from your skin. That will lead to gradual roughening of the surface. You might not like the feel of a cloth between your jaw and your CR, as some have suggested. But in that case, I think you've got to consider Lydia's suggestions if you want to minimize it happening in future.
January 7, 2018, 7:53 PM · Thanks ladies! I wear minimal makeup, if any at all, but over time, it does indeed buildup. Thank you for all the suggestions!
Edited: January 7, 2018, 9:59 PM · A slightly damp Mr Clean Majic Eraser pad? Don’t rub too hard, dry up the CR afterward would be something I would try. Anybody see why not?
January 8, 2018, 3:27 AM · I would not use alcohol or other solvents. Every time these products get close to your instrument it will be in danger, accidents due occur. Just use a soft cloth to clean the chin rest.
January 8, 2018, 5:20 AM · I agree with Luis but removing the CR is comfortably within the normal range of DIY activities.
Edited: January 8, 2018, 8:30 AM · I agree with Luis too . Keep solvents away from your violin. Also, apart from the risk of damage to the varnish on the top plate, alcohol is likely to ruin the appearance of your chin rest, by drying out the wood.
Edited: January 8, 2018, 10:03 AM · Ask luthiers about horror stories of DIY and they will keep talking for hours about it.

Here one: player uses a cloth with alcohol to clean the fingerboard and chin rest. After doing that he feels MUCH BETTER and puts the rag over the table and, some minutes later, puts the instrument OVER the rag with alcohol. Some hours later, he takes the instrument again and see the result: the varnish on the back of the instrument is severely damaged.

The instrument was a fine one and a mint was paid to a varnish restorer who worked on the instrument for weeks, to restore the original color and varnish texture in the damaged area. Anyway, the wife's restorer found the whole event very interesting, it paid lots of bills.

This is like car crashes: they occur in many many ways.

January 8, 2018, 10:13 AM · Strad Pad. Prevents all kinds of accidents.
Edited: January 10, 2018, 2:11 AM · "Don't wear makeup" is not a solution. And it doesn't take that much for some to rub off, especially in hot weather.

However, as long as you clean it after every practice session, I've always found a cloth (perhaps with a tiny bit of water or alcohol) enough to remove traces of makeup.

Some people put a cloth over the chin rest but usually that's a substitute for a shoulder rest so I don't know.

January 10, 2018, 3:58 AM · ""Don't wear makeup" is not a solution."

Why not? It's workin' for me....

January 10, 2018, 5:09 AM · I noticed that glitter sometimes get embedded in oil varnish.
January 10, 2018, 5:34 AM · & gentlemen ?
January 10, 2018, 11:29 AM · Gemma K, sorry, but it kind of is a solution. Makeup is a ridiculous thing we're expected to put on our faces to look pretty (and somehow half of us conform to that idea, that we HAVE to be pretty to others; guess what? We don't), but it mostly has the opposite effect. And then it can lead to skin issues. Beside that, it's a waste of money, and during a nervous performance, it all just comes off due to sweat anyway. It seems to be to be a waste of time and efforts that could be better spent elsewhere.
And of course, it rubs off on the chinrest.
So yeah, "Don't wear makeup" seems to be a pretty solid solution.
January 10, 2018, 7:47 PM · This person was asking for tips on how to clean it off the chin rest, not tips on what to put on her face... And she's probably considered that option already.
January 10, 2018, 8:40 PM · I wipe my chin rest off with a clean cloth to check what my chin rest looks like. I’ve actually never really noticed!
January 10, 2018, 8:49 PM · In fairness to the OP, a professional look on stage for a woman does include wearing makeup. I do not wear makeup on a daily basis but I do put on a very light amount for concerts and gigs. It's never gotten on my chinrest though.
January 11, 2018, 1:56 AM · Yeah Mary Ellen is right, there is a certain expectation.

I suppose you could wipe off the part which would rub on the chin rest - just the chin area, so it wouldn't be too noticeable unless the makeup is really heavy.

January 11, 2018, 7:24 AM · the OP might want to look into primers and/or setting sprays if they're not already using them.
January 11, 2018, 10:06 AM · Even very light make-up can get on the chin rest, and that's just life. To clean it, I agree that rubbing alcohol works well; to keep everything safe I always have on hand the small alcohol wipes that are made for first aid kits. This avoids the danger of alcohol dripping onto any other part of the violin; obviously you must be careful not to get it onto any part of the violin that is varnished. You can buy a package of a gazillion of them and then just put 4-5 in your case and use as needed. They also work well for cleaning the fingerboard.

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