How To Clean Your Violin or Viola Bow

by | May 14, 2014 | Maintenance | 3 comments

Clean the stick with a dry cloth

Tighten your bow, put a clean dry cloth between the wood (or carbon) and hair and wipe the rosin remains of. This is enough to do weekly and keep your bow nice and clean.

If you want to clean your bow more thoroughly, you can use a special fluid for stringed instruments.

Click here to buy cleaning fluid for violin!

Be careful that the fluid doesn’t stain on the bow hair. The best way to prevent it is to remove the frog from the bow (I explain how to do this safely in the video below). In this way you can separate the hair from the bow.

Only clean the stick of the bow with this fluid. Use just a little bit of fluid. Let the fluid dry before you put the frog back on your bow.

When your bow’s hair is dirty, you can clean it with alcohol

Often people think they need to rehair their bow when the bow hair is dirty. Often a good clean of the hair is enough.

Do this with a tooth brush with some alcohol on it. Brush the bow hair. Remove the frog from the bow first, so the bow hair is loose and separated from the bow. Make sure the bow hair is dry before you put the frog back on the bow.

The alcohol can damage the stick of your bow. Don’t do this too often as the alcohol will damage the core of the bow hair and makes it more vulnerable, which means you are in need of a rehair faster.

Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!



Hi! I'm Zlata

Let me help you find a great bow for your violin, so you can improve your bowing technique and sound quality:


  1. Rose

    I have a violin that has sat around in its case for decades. I can’t remember ever being told by my teacher to clean the rosin off the bow. It seems to play ok, so how do I know when and if to clean or replace a bow? If my bow has heaps of old resin on it after all these years, can I still use it or should I just buy a new one or will using a soft cloth be enough to remove a rosin build up? Thank you.

    • Violinist Zlata

      Hi Rose,

      When the bow has too little hair, you can replace it or give it a rehair (depending on the quality of the bow).
      When the bow is just dirty, give it a clean with alcohol.

      All the best,


      • Rose

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my query! I will clean and persevere with it in the meantime, but hope to buy one of your carbon fibre bows in the near future. 🙂

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