Do I need to clean my violin strings?
Like anything, keeping stuff clean is often equal to preservation and longer lasting. There are a few things that you ca do to help your strings not build up too much rosin and scum over time.
Don’t over do the rosin on your bow, your instrument will also be happy with less ‘snow’ building up around the bridge and fingerboard end.
If the playing area of the strings has a bit of rosin buildup you can clean it off with a bit of spirits (damp) on a soft cotton cloth. BUT, you need to be very careful that the cloth does NOT come into contact with your violin’s varnish. Especially if it is an alcohol based varnish.
Note. Covid time saw a fantastic amount of damaged instruments after they were sanitised! Oh dear. That cost a lot of people major varnish damage repairs. The Silver lining was that many luthiers (violin makers) managed to stay alive. Still not a good, though.
Dusting off excess rosin after playing also helps.
Why do some violin strings turn black?
Some strings winding either has silver or zinc in it which oxidises with exposure to the air causing the blackening on the surface. This will not effect sound or response from your string(s), it will perhaps just make you a bit sad. No need.
Please note that using any abrasive remedies will cost you a new string almost right away if you start rubbing it with something rough! Don’t.
If you must absolutely get rid of the blackening then we would suggest taking the string off and pulling it through a spirit moistened cloth until it gleams once more. You can, of course, also do this on the instrument but DON’T touch let the cloth come into contact with your violin! Especially if it is alcohol varnished.
If you have black fingertips after playing, soap and water will fix this:)