Trenchworker

Sterilizing violins

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Hi, all,

When the public schools shut down, the kids were allolwed to take their school instruments home to keep practicing.   At some point when schools re-open, these hundreds of violins, etc will come back for return, to be passed on to others.  Any suggestions on how to steriize them?  I thought about using UV light source, or hanging them out in the California sun for some hours.  I have found no data on how long the virus survives on wood,, perhaps nothing needs to be done except isolate the instruments for survival time of the virus on wood, e.g., over the summer break after all the instruments have been returned to the school.  Any ideas or data?

Thanks

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Based on what I hear from teachers, about their student not practicing, I'd say that 90% of the violins haven't been touched since school let out.:P. Seriously, they are saying about 4-5 days on wood. I'd guess that if you just wipe things down, a few days before you are planning on working on them, with a cleaning wipe (non-alcohol), and let them sit in a sheltered, but sunny area for a couple of days, it should be fine.

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Don't touch them for 72 hours.

Should be fine after that.

Being careful is important. Being paranoid isn't.

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18 minutes ago, Rue said:

Don't touch them for 72 hours.

Should be fine after that.

Being careful is important. Being paranoid isn't.

Wait, who is being paranoid? And why is your figure 3 days, when science says 4-5 to be safe? Did you do your own science?

Important to listen to scientists in this thing. 

Edit: the official figure is 4 days on wood, 5 for some metals. So 5 would be the minimum safe time to not touch the instrument. Very doable for most students, I think. 

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This is an enveloped virus. It can't live long outside of an organism (that organism would be us).

Did I do my own science on Covid-19? No. Am I a scientist? Yes. Am I an immunologist? No.  Do I know a little about various pathogens? Yes, part of the field I'm in. Do I read, and question, while I review scientific material? Yes.

When scientists make recommendations they already build in a safety factor.

So let's say the actual time a given virus can live on a surface is 1 day. The scientists will say 2 days.

If someone is paranoid, they will say "more is better" and recommend 4 days. And then off we go into the land of overkill...

It's really hard to stay calm and level-headed when surrounded by panic. 

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What I'm seeing (recent data from cruise ships) is that smooth surfaces--metal and plastic--(and varnish is basically plastic) can carry some residue of the virus for possibly weeks. I think this discussion is VERY premature, given the lack of solid data to discuss. I call BS on anyone claiming to know at this moment.

I suppose some testing with disinfectant sprays vs violin varnish is going to be inevitable. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/23/cdc-coronavirus-survived-in-princess-cruise-cabins-up-to-17-days-after-passengers-left.html

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18 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

What I'm seeing (recent data from cruise ships) is that smooth surfaces--metal and plastic--(and varnish is basically plastic)

I was going to say that any mention of virus survivability on wood is largely irrelevant to this discussion. 

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When you are reading about the virus, be aware of what you're reading.

If a study says it found evidence of a virus - what does that mean? Live,  infectious virus? Traces of non-infectious virus?

If I walk into a known den of murders and they are alive, they may kill me.

If I walk into a known den of murders and they are all dead on the floor, they can't kill me.

They are obviously still there - but no longer a danger to me.

*****Back to violins - I think "sanitize" is the proper word. I'm pretty sure if you sterilize one, you kill it in the process.

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I agree, Rue, sanitize is the more correct usage.  I don't believe I am paranoid --- I just feel responsibility for the safety of the hundreds of kids who will take over the returned instruments.  Generally, one tends to be more cautious when others than oneself are involved.  I was looking for data and judgements from the Pegbox group, but when all is said and done, I'll have to make the decision --- thanks to all of you for your responses.

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Frankly the best Idea is to get them back, using hazmat, place them in a room, and leave them for several weeks, exposed to high uv if possible....but simply allowing them to sit will be safest for the instrument varnish

I think Michael is correct , it's way too soon to know anything about anything, all I know is just like everything, there is what you are being told by "officials" and the media and then there's what it is. They're usually not the same thing in the long run.

Just like when they were telling you for 2 months it only really effects old people, according to someone I know who is a doctor in Oakland, that is 100% pure bs. Gee, if I was evil, I could think of a whole bunch of reasons why that would be a good idea, cause you know, if I get Corona I get Corona. 

Frankly I'd contact the CDC and see what they say, they're the experts on this one, after all they've been hiring quarantine officers since early November, you know right around the time the repo market crashed and trillions in cash got mysteriously and "unexpectedly" sucked out of the system , alllllll' the way back then when there was a "cash crisis" :rolleyes: I mean I'm sure that ALL the money available for circulation disappearing right before a major pandemic is just a coinkydink, it doesn't speak to the elite, with foreknowledge, hoarding cash or anything like that, that'd just be crazy talk.

Let em; sit....a long time

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[Pops some nuts off with a palette knife.]  :ph34r:

Given the current indeterminancy of the virus survival time on surfaces, and the possibility of contamination during the packing or transport process, I'd prefer to err on the side of caution.  What I'm currently doing is handling incoming packages with the same gloves I use for handling hazardous substances like dead animals, and submerging the gloves in a bucket of chlorine bleach solution before I remove them, just as I do when I finish skinning or butchering.  I temporarily dispose of the packing outside in a sunny location to let the elements deal with it, and disinfect the contents as I consider necessary.  If I receive any violins, which I can't hit with bleach, alcohol, or Lysol, I put them out in the sunshine for a day, turning them occasionally.

IMHO, if you simply treat stuff with the caution you'd use with a dead feral hog, you shouldn't catch anything from it.  For something you can store and forget about, like the OP student violins, handle them with gloves, and put them away until September.  :)

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If you want to 'sterilize'  the violins it is pointless without changing the strings, the crevices between wrappings are full of stuff you can't get at. I would just quarantine them for 24 hours.

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1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

What I'm seeing (recent data from cruise ships) is that smooth surfaces--metal and plastic--(and varnish is basically plastic) can carry some residue of the virus for possibly weeks. I think this discussion is VERY premature, given the lack of solid data to discuss. I call BS on anyone claiming to know at this moment.

I suppose some testing with disinfectant sprays vs violin varnish is going to be inevitable. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/23/cdc-coronavirus-survived-in-princess-cruise-cabins-up-to-17-days-after-passengers-left.html

Just to point out, in this study they found the nucleic acid from the virus, not infectious particles. I might expect the RNA to be detectable long after the virus is killed off, even with some disinfectants.

Still, if your worried, no problem leaving your violin alone for a while, especially if it was in the hands of someone who tested positive.

 

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It's just not hard to follow the recommendations, so why not spread the recommended information? I just don't understand the need to make up baseless stuff. If you have no firsthand knowledge of how long the virus can live on a given surface, why not listen to those who do? 

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2 hours ago, deans said:

Just to point out, in this study they found the nucleic acid from the virus, not infectious particles. I might expect the RNA to be detectable long after the virus is killed off, even with some disinfectants.

Still, if your worried, no problem leaving your violin alone for a while, especially if it was in the hands of someone who tested positive.

 

Agreed. One violin shop I know of leaves customer violins in the showroom for several days, before working on them. This may not be foolproof, but it does take advantage of the best information we have so far.

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If coming from a home with no infection, I'm not sure it's any more of an issue than what you'd normally deal with when kids return instruments.  Why not hold for two or three weeks then require parents state whether anyone in the house over the period tested positive.  Then apply more stringent measures as needed to the affected instruments.

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12 minutes ago, StanY said:

If coming from a home with no infection, ....

How does one know if the instrument comes from a household with no infection, since some infected people are asymptomatic, and currently, most people without symptoms are not tested?

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In followup analysis on the Diamond Princess, they found the virus survived up to 17 days on cabin surfaces. 

I can chase  down a link to the research of needed.

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17 minutes ago, Shunyata said:

In followup analysis on the Diamond Princess, they found the virus survived up to 17 days on cabin surfaces. 

I can chase  down a link to the research of needed.

This is false. As Deans stated above, only non-infectious RNA was found.

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1 hour ago, Shunyata said:

In followup analysis on the Diamond Princess, they found the virus survived up to 17 days on cabin surfaces. 

I can chase  down a link to the research of needed.

No they didn't. They found traces of viral RNA. The next step: was the virus viable was not reported on as far as I can find out.

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If you are talking about instruments used in the school system they probably are not expensive hand made violins. Some cheep Chinese violins have some kind of epoxy finish on them. I would put on disposable rubber gloves and clean one with the wipes they sell for desk tops and computer keyboards and see how it goes. Who knows it might clean it up very well and I don't think there are solvents in it which would hurt the finish; like alcohol. Just things that kill germs and virus. Try it on one and see how it goes.

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