If want to clean your violin bow feel free to do so, just be very careful there is a certain way that you must clean the bow or it will be permanently damaged.

The first thing you should do is always wipe you bow clean after every time you play this will prevent a buildup of rosin and dirt. To clean the bow more thoroughly you can use wood or ethyl alcohol which can be bought at most hardware stores. Remove the hair from you bow and polish it using the alcohol and a soft lint free cloth you can also use a napkin if you’d prefer. Never use rubbing alcohol as it has oils and soaps in it that will damage your bow and hair.

Next if you want to clean the hair you can use wood lamy violin bow alcohol or regular shampoo. Use an old tooth brush dipped in the shampoo or alcohol. Gently brush the bow hair lengthwise removing any dirt and excess rosin you can see.

Leave the hair to dry for several hours before reattaching it to the bow and applying rosin. Cleaning your hair on a regular basis will help it to last far longer. One of my friends who also plays violin told me that he never had to change his hair for seven years because of regular cleaning. I have also heard stories of people cleaning the bow hair with sandpaper they use the lightest gauge possible and run the sandpaper over the hair as lightly as possibly no more than three times. I suppose this could work if you had a hair that was choking on rosin; although I don’t recommend it at all you can easily destroy your hair if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Eric B. Hill is an professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.

 

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