This blog entry gives the short answer.
For your first few uses, the cleaner the strings on the violin, the better. This is because strings tend to get brittle over time, and even well cared for strings may get cracked.
A single string on the violin is usually kept clean, so long as the string is not plugged.
You may want to clean string before each use – the more you use the cleaner, the less likely a crack will occur.
Clean strings in the violin, with or without dampeners?
The answer is that a clean or moistened violin string is all that’s needed. If this is the first time you’re using the violin, you may want to clean the strings in a way that doesn’t require the use of dampers.
I recommend that the clean strings be kept in a cloth bag (if possible) and that you lay them out on a piece of tissue paper (the kind with the soft and squishy “fluffs”) on the floor, not the floor of the violin, after your stringing process.
Washing them in any way other than in an automatic washing machine (i.e., a “Dryer” machine that’s been set on automatic) may have the same effect.
Clean strings after every use – the less you use the cleaner the strings. This may be true even if you’re only using them once, such as during a warm up or the first time you take the violin out for the first time while it’s being cleaned.
Washing violin strings
For your first few uses, you will probably get some string cleaning that is not necessary. But don’t despair just yet because strings eventually will wear out and need replacing. The problem, as always with instruments, is that they are made to last so don’t forget that.
It’s a good idea to use a professional musician’s finger brush to clean the strings, as they remove all sorts of oils and chemicals. That way, your violin will last a long time. It’s even better to use violin brushes that are also made of rubber and not vinyl, because they’ll actually keep the string and the brush together at all times.
The right violin string brush has a removable bristly bristle that gently and smoothly removes the string from the brush and cleans the brush of any excess soap or oil that may be there. Because a violin’s brushes aren’t made of plastic, they won’t make the strings
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