Viola Kat

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About Viola Kat

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  1. Hi all, Saliva is actually a great cleaning agent to remove dirt and grime because the enzymes in it will break down greasy grime and make it more soluble in the watery component of the solvent. (See my general cleaning tips below to determine if this is safe for your instrument.) Tips to using saliva for cleaning: Brush your teeth and tongue half an hour before you need to clean something. Refrain from eating or drinking anything other than water until you are done cleaning with saliva. Stay hydrated! Use cotton swabs to have fine control in your cleaning. You can control the amount of moisture really well by sticking these directly into your mouth to wet them, but it that seems too icky you can spit into a small, clean cup and dip into that. (I personally find the second option ickier.) If you roll the swab across the surface rather than dragging it you significantly reduce the chances of scratching the varnish. (Using a cloth is always dragging and can be quite abrasive.) Clear off the saliva residue by going over the same area with distilled water-- not too wet! You can blot the swab on a paper towel first if needed. If you have to report that you used saliva for cleaning-- honestly, this is a professionally-approved cleaning agent-- you can either say you used saliva cleaning, or you can say you cleaned with an "aqueous enzymatic solution", which is also true but more clinical. If you are concerned about an exchange of germs, keep the instrument for several days after cleaning before returning it to the owner. Other tips: avoid smoking and eating onions and garlic for a long while before beginning the process-- these will add unpleasant odors to your saliva. I don't think saliva alone will remove stubborn rosin accumulation. Other tips: Do a visual inspection before you clean to make sure you aren't using any wet cleaning techniques on spots where the wood is not protected by the varnish, including areas of damage to the varnish. ALWAYS do a spot test with a bit of your cleaning solution on an inconspicuous part of the varnish-- if it causes changes, don't use it! Tips about "feeding" or "nourishing" your wood with oils or other substances are a MYTH (even if shared by a professional luthier like in that last video). They do not prolong the life of the wood, may actually dull sound a bit by clogging up the pores, and are hard to remove. Moreover, if there is a good varnish on your instrument-- one that is safe for you to clean-- it will prevent oil from getting to the wood anyway. Oils like olive oil, if left on the surface, will eventually cross-link and form a gummy or even hard residue on the surface. You can wipe fresh oil residue away with a lot of elbow grease, but it's better to find a compatible solvent that is completely safe for the varnish but dissolves the rosin residue. I appreciate the title of this thread: DO NO HARM!