How to Polish a Violin

The violin is a delicate instrument that requires careful care to maintain the quality of its look and sound. Careful polishing will ensure that the sound that emanates from the violin is as beautiful as possible. Over polishing can lead to a clogging of the strings, deadening of the resonance and more.

Polishing Your Violin

The following is a brief guide on how to polish a violin for the best results:

  • Although most violins are made from wood, it is not a good idea to use standard furniture polish to clean them. Certain cheap furniture polishes use harsh chemicals or ingredients that can damage the wood and do more harm than good. You should avoid any polish that uses lemon juice, alcohol or silicone oils as these will damage the violin. Polishes that use silicone also lead to a sticky build-up on the violin which mixes with the rosin to create a mess on the surface that will impair your play.
  • You can buy specialist violin polish from music shops and online stores. Then acquire some soft polishing cloths or a microfiber cloth for polishing.
  • Using the clean polishing cloth, wipe the violin, taking care to remove any dust, dirt or rosin build up as much as possible.
  • Use a small amount of polish, applied directly to the cloth and apply it to the body of the violin. Don”t try to polish the strings, just the body of the violin.
  • If you can see the grain of the wood in your violin, then follow that while polishing – using long straight and gentle strokes of the cloth to polish it. Otherwise you could polish your violin using small, gentle circular motions.
  • Turn your polishing cloth regularly and don”t be tempted to apply extra amounts of polish. Over polishing a violin is worse than no polishing at all.
  • Wash your cloth before you use it next time.

There”s no need to regularly polish your violin. Be conservative with how much polish you use and how often you use it.

Cleaning Violin Strings

  • Use a lint-free cloth or cleaning rag to clean the strings of your violin – hold the violin upside down and wipe each string individually. This should remove the excess build-up of rosin* or grease and oils from your fingers from the strings.
  • Be careful not to damage the strings or leave any lint on them.
  • Once you”re finished, give your cloth a good wash to ensure all rosin is removed and make sure it”s dry and clean before you use it next time you need to polish and clean your violin.

Keeping Your Violin Clean

To help maintain the life of your violin and reduce the need to polish it, you could take some steps to keep it clean:

  • Wipe off any excess rosin as you go.
  • Remember to wash your hands before playing

Things to Avoid

Things to avoid when polishing your violin:

  • Sub-standard or cheap furniture polish – this sort of polish will ruin the resonance and thus the quality of the sound from the violin by clogging up the wood.
  • Excessive and regular polishing – if you polish a violin too often it will end up clogged with polish making it less tuneful .
  • Avoid getting polish on the strings or the bow of your violin. This will lead to them being sticky and less likely to play the right note.
  • Avoid alcohol wipes – the can damage and dull the wood of a violin making it unappealing.

*Rosin is a resin substance commonly used by violinists on their bow for better grip on the violin string, but excessive build up can hinder the sound quality.