Curated from KHS America – by Rock Clouser –
Please note, this article contains information for consideration to reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19 on string instruments. We cannot guarantee these suggestions are 100% preventative.
For string instruments, it is really difficult to give a one size fits all cleaning answer because string instruments have so many surface types and finishes. To quickly sanitize string instruments entirely 100% for an easily transmitted virus class after class is virtually impossible. Sharing a musical instrument during this time comes with a degree of risk, but there are some things that can be done to reduce the risk.
The complex construction of a string instrument with glossy, satin, and open pore wood finishes, nylon and steel strings, plastic and metal tuning machines, and the entire inside being open pore unfinished, etc. makes it nearly impossible to fully sanitize every nook and cranny. The body and neck are usually finished in polyurethane for student level instruments can be wiped down with standard diluted cleaners, but nothing too harsh. HOWEVER, fingerboards, bridges, and instrument interiors are open pore wood and very difficult to sanitize 100%. For wood music instruments, any sort of alcohol, sterilizing cleansers, or bleach type products are very harsh on finishes and can have negative reactions with open pore woods such as bridges or fingerboards.
Obviously, the strings being constantly touched while played pick up skin cells, sweat, and dirt, etc so the virus could be transferred in any of these. Even windings on the posts and tuners themselves could hide germs. So as an extra measure, all players should be encouraged to thoroughly sterilize their hands BEFORE and AFTER playing the instrument helping decrease the risks of taking or leaving any germs from the fingers. It is the class to class transfer that causes the most concern. There are UV light wands that could be employed at various prices as an “extra” layer of protection. These wands are nice in that they can be easily employed across strings, internally in the instrument, and across various surface finishes without harm to the instrument. A general search for “ultraviolet wand” will give several options in a wide range of prices that can be used.
Please refer to the article https://sheshreds.com/how-to-disinfect-musical-instruments/ for additional information to consider for cleaning string instruments and other musical equipment.
ROCK CLOUSER is the String Instruments Brand Manager for KHS America, including Lanikai Ukuleles, H. Jimenez Latin Instruments, and Kohala Ukuleles and Guitars.