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Best way to keep strings clean and dry

5/9/1999 4:48 PM
John S.
Best way to keep strings clean and dry
Hello fellow guitar people.I live in the tropical,humidity state of Florida.Anyone have any good home remedies for keeping strings cleaner,especially dryer after playing.I have been told that isopropl alcohol,along with alot of other guitar chemicals..contains additional water...not good for me here.....any suggestions?Thanks so much.John.
5/9/1999 6:51 PM

Hi, John. You should be able to buy isopropyl alcohol in different wateralcohol percentages at drug stores. I once bought some 95% isopropyl at a local drug store, they had to order it but it was pretty cheap. Keep the lid on tight because it can evaporate pretty quickly. I haven't tried the stuff on guitar strings however. I normally clean strings with Martin guitar polish (along with the rest of the guitar). I have really dry hands so my strings rarely need cleaning, but I clean often when others use my guitar. I have been using the Martin polish on strings for several years, no problem.
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5/9/1999 10:51 PM

I always (ALWAYS!!) wipe the strings down with a clean, dry cotton cloth (like an old t-shirt or diaper) after I play acoustic guitars. For electrics, I do the same but also use a polish cloth, like the kind guitar manufacturers make for wiping down the guitar's body. I find they do a pretty fair job of extending the useful life of strings.  
5/10/1999 6:52 AM
John S.

Thanks on this guys,I see that the importance here is to first clean and dry the strings,and then lubricate them.Another guy told me that he uses unscented electric shave lotion on his strings which is probably a cleaner/lubricant also?I always wipe my strings often and I will also try the polish cloth with maybe that 95% alcohol.JOHN.
5/10/1999 9:12 PM
Steve A.

    I was going to recommend the 91% alcohol but you beat me to it! It is a great cleaner for a lot of other things as well (like removing flux from boards and solder joints) and is a LOT cheaper than the special cleaners you can buy. The local Target store here has the 91% alcohol and its less than a $1.00 a pint.  
    When I worked for Pacific Stereo in the early 70's we ordered anhydrous isopropyl alcohol from a medical supply house and the techs used that for cleaning tape heads. Anhydrous means "without water" and it was at least 99% alcohol... We also ordered the dispensers from the supply house- it'd hold maybe 8 oz of alcohol and when you pushed down on the metal top it would fill the recessed area so you could moisten a q-tip without contaminating the rest of the bottle.  
Steve Ahola  
P.S. To be safe be sure to keep the 90+% alcohol away from the guitar finish. While 70% rubbing alcohol is more inert (for something that will burn!) the higher concentrations are a much better solvent and could damage certain finishes.
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