It's definitely not the water that damaged the bow hairs. If it was the water, it probably just wasn't thorough enough, and ended up just making the hair sticky instead.
You can wash it in soap water, or better yet, horse hair shampoo. Bow hair is horse hair, after all. Just be sure to wash off the soap/shampoo really really well, or the rosin won't stick. It takes some patience and care to do.
You can take the frog off by turning the notch on the bottom all the way out. Try not to mangle the hairs too much.
You can also towel off the rosin using alcohol, but be very careful not to get any on the bow or the violin, as the varnish will come off.
I've also heard that compressed air works. Didn't have too much success with the air cans that you buy for cleaning electronics, though.
If for some reason you wreck the bow hair (which is unlikely), you have two options:
- If the bow is expensive, you can have it rehaired for around $50.
- If the bow is worth less than the cost of having it rehaired, you may want to look for a new bow.
My comment regarding the same question on another forum, after attempting to use human shampoo:
I take it back -- I got my sound back!
I talked to my stylist, who told me to
try washing the shampoo off with soap.
Apparently shampoo adds a coating of
silicone (silicon?) to make hair
shiny, and it doesn't come off with
just water. Hand bar soap did the
Donald, that's definitely true -- I
used up my old bow hair until it was
down to maybe a few dozen hairs. It
sounded unbelievably bright, which I
I read somewhere else on the forums
that for this reason a lot of players
ask for less hair when they get their
(and no, I don't actually have my own stylist, I meant to say the-person-that-cuts-my-hair :)