Cleaning Strings Using Cork

After publishing the article about string cleaning, many customers wrote to us to say that we had forgotten to mention cleaning using cork. We have to admit that we didn't know cleaning with cork was so popular, so we decided to investigate and write about it.

Unfortunately this method proved to be the least effective and the most damaging to strings of all.


On this violin D string you can see three kinds of surfaces. The fresh rosin build up is marked with yellow. The contact line is relatively clean (marked with green). On the margin of the contact line there is fused rosin build-up (marked with orange).

The same string after several cork stokes. The fused rosin remains almost untouched (marked with dark red).

After a second cleaning attempt the fused rosin has been reduced a little, but it is still visible. The winding gaps are starting to fill with a rosin-cork composite.

Violin 'A' string covered with a moderate amount of rosin build-up.

The rosin build up has been 'ironed' by the cork instead of being removed.

After applying a little more force, slightly fused rosin traces are still visible. However the string was damaged. 

The windings were moved and the gaps were filled with the rosin-cork composite dirt.


To summarise our findings, we would like to advise you:

- not to use any liquid string cleaners

- not to use steel wool

- not to use cork


The most effective and gentle method is very simple. Clean your strings regularly with a microfibre cloth. If there is fused rosin build up, simply scratch it away gently using a credit card edge. That’s enough.