Cleaning your violin and bow is very important. I get extremely frustrated when I see students bringing their instruments covered heavily in rosin, finger prints, sticky, dusty and dirty. I can’t never stress enough how important is to keep your violin, bow and strings clean.
Rosin accumulating on top of the violin for a long time will fuse with the varnish and it will become pretty much impossible to remove without damaging your instrument. Leaving lots of rosin residue on your strings will shorten their life and cause changes to the sound. Cleaning the rosin off strings is very important and can make a huge difference to the sound of your violin.
The best way to keep your instrument clean is to wipe it down after each playing season. I like to use dry microfiber cloth. You can purchase one at any music store. I always keep a few of them in my violin case and wash it once a week in a washing machine.
Ok, so the first thing you do after practice is to wipe off the strings. Don’t worry if you will hear a squeaking sound. Go back and forth a few times making sure to remove all the rosin from your strings.
Next, wipe the rosin off the area between your bridge and fingerboard,
as well as around the tailpiece.
I also like to carefully insert my microfiber cloth underneath the strings and wipe the rosin dust off the top part of the fingerboard.
Don’t forget to clean your chinrest with another dry clean microfiber cloth as well as the neck of the violin and the back.
Cleaning your bow after each practice is as important as cleaning your instrument. Start with wiping off your bow stick. Again, use dry microfiber cloth. Make sure to remove all of the rosin dust.
I also wipe off the tip of the bow as well as the frog.
I know it looks like there is a lot of steps, but it really take less than 1 minute to do all of it.
I would not recommend to use any violin cleaners or polishes because they usually contain some kind of the oil or silicone that combined with the rosin dust can create very difficult to remove sticky mess. Oil can also penetrate small fissures in the varnish and damage your instrument making future repairs more difficult.
I would strongly recommend to take your violin to your local violin maker/Luther and have it checked and professionally cleaned once a year.