When I use my bow to play double bass, there is always rosin stuck on the strings afterwards. If I leave that on the string for some time, it gets really hard to clean and the bow sticks to the strings; thus I cannot play well.

What is the most effective way to clean the rosin off the strings?

4 Answers 4


Source: I work in a music store and this is how we clean our instruments.

Getting Rosin Off

  • The most effective way to take rosin off of strings is to soak a cheese cloth in a little bit of nail polish remover. Afterwards, take the cloth and rub it against the string. The rosin should come off momentarily.
  • Get a new cheese cloth when you see that the used one has become dirty or is ripping.


  • DO NOT let the cheese cloth or the nail polish remover ever touch the wood finish. It completely deteriorates it and all the lacquer comes off.
  • Do not inhale the nail polish remover.
  • Always wash your hands afterwards.

If you've got a lot of build-up, you can use an old wine bottle cork or a (not too scratchy) scouring pad to try to dislodge some of the caked-up residue. If that doesn't work, use some denatured alcohol, but carefully - don't let it drip on the varnished surfaces of the instrument.

Once it's gone, remember to give the strings a firm wipe with a soft cloth or chamois leather after each time you play - that should be enough to prevent the build-up in the first place.


What i usually use to clean the strings, is almond oil. I buy some at a pharmacy (it's pretty cheap), apply it to a cloth and then clean the strings. Afterwards, I need another cloth (or napkin) to clean the oil off the string.

This doesn't really work if the rosin is left for a long period of time on the strings. It will need much scrubbing to get it off.


Grab a guitar pick and go outside. Tighten the bow and "strum" the hair with the guitar pick. You'll see excess rosin blowing away on the wind.

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