Hello, my friends! The topic of illness seems to be top of mind for everyone these days, and for good reasons. I’ve begun to see some articles and videos floating around regarding cleaning string instruments in a way that would kill the virus. I thought it would be worth weighing in on how we’re handling things here in the shop. While we are routinely wiping down often-touched hard surfaces (door handles, etc) with disinfecting wipes, washing our hands often, not shaking hands or hugging (difficult for me!), and practicing all the effective hygiene habits we can, we don’t suggest any steps be taken regarding disinfecting the instruments themselves. While there ARE steps that can be taken if an instrument is known to have been used by someone who is ill, they would only be necessary if the instrument in question needed to be used immediately. From the information I’ve gathered, the exact duration viruses can live on a hard surface is still unconfirmed, but is widely believed to be between 2-5 days. Also, as many of the commercially available disinfectant products contain alcohol – which can cause severe damage to string instruments – any attempt at cleaning the instrument should only be undertaken by someone who fully understands how the product used can interact with the surfaces of the instrument.
Again, from all the data I’ve collected both now and in the past, the most effective protection is also the best practice ALL the time – wash hands thoroughly prior to playing, avoid touching the mouth, nose, and eyes while playing, and wash hands thoroughly again after playing.
We’ll be following this advice in the shop both for ourselves and for all of our customers. Convenient facilities are available on site for thorough hand washing and there is plenty of space for everyone to keep their distance…even a hugger like me.
I’m happy to answer questions as I can, but I would like to stress I am NOT a doctor…even though I play one on TV**.