What should I use to wipe my stringed instrument clean?

When wiping your violin, viola, or cello, it's essential to use a soft, clean cloth that won't scratch or damage the instrument's finish. Some options for suitable materials to use are: 

  • Microfibre Cloth: A microfibre cleaning cloth is a great choice for wiping your instrument. They are soft, lint-free, and gentle on the varnish. They are widely available and can be purchased at music stores or online. 
  • Lint-Free Cotton Cloth: A lint-free cotton cloth, such as a clean cotton handkerchief or an old T-shirt made of soft cotton material, can also work well for wiping down your instrument.
  • Muslin Cloth: Muslin is a lightweight, finely woven cotton fabric that is soft and gentle on the instrument's surface. Muslin cloths can be a good option for cleaning and polishing. 
  • Silk Cloth: Some musicians prefer using a soft, clean silk cloth for wiping their instruments. Silk is smooth and won't scratch the finish. 

Regardless of the cloth you choose, make sure it's clean and free from debris that could scratch the instrument. Avoid using abrasive materials, paper towels, or tissues, as they can potentially damage the finish. 

When wiping your instrument, apply gentle pressure and use long, even strokes. Always wipe with the grain of the wood, and be cautious around the F-holes, bridge, and other delicate areas. If you're unsure about cleaning your instrument or have concerns about the finish, consult a professional luthier or teacher for guidance. They can provide specific recommendations for cleaning and maintaining your instrument based on its unique characteristics. 

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