cleaning strings by boiling them

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Andyrew, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. I was wondering if cleaning metal strings in boiling water could cause them to rust, or lose any life span.
    I've heard that boiling them makes them sound brand new again.
    I'm worried about the long term quality of the strings.

    Any experience?

  2. I put my strings in the dishwasher, it's easier, and works as good (or maybe even better) than boiling.
  3. Been MANY threads re this topic. seemed most popular way (& way I found best-altho I don't have a dishwasher :p ) - is have a sealable container of methylated spirits( "denatured Alcohol" IIRC in the USA) & drop a set of rounds in there for 24 hrs, take em out, let dry for as long as it takes & strings are good!! Boiling 's OK but I found this way better.
  4. 3506string


    Nov 18, 2004
    Lawton, OK
    Yeah there's plenty of info just do a quick title only search in the string forum for "cleaning" and you'll find some threads with some useful methods. I am biased toward the denatured alcohol route, being it's the only one I've every tried. I used to use a water bottle but I've since upgraded to the pvc cleaning tube. Some people swear by boiling but I was always leery about using water and heat on metal strings but thats all presumption.
  5. kimokeo


    Jul 7, 2009
    +1 on the alcohol soak. Boiling strings will also change the characteristics of steel. The more you boil, the more brittle becomes the strings.
  6. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Read the FAQ in Strings.
  7. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    Well they aren't going to last forever no matter what you do, so I wouldn't be worried about the long term by boiling them. It probably wont cause any problems before they break or go dead forever. Stainless steel isn't supposed to rust anyway, and as long as the water is boiling, the water should evaporate very quickly not giving it time to rust.

    Boiling/alcohol isn't an alternative to never buying strings, just prolonging their life, and it does work well.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    Must try this! I guess it is kind of like boiling them as dishwashers use very hot water.
  9. throbgod13


    Mar 26, 2005
    another thing to do, is to demagnetize the strings with a tape head demagnetizer.. the string becomes slightly magnetized being over the poles of the pickup, degauss it and the brightness comes back..

    this isn't to say that you shouldn't clean them in denatured alcohol..
  10. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    Just get new ones. I know they are kind of expensive, but it's SO worth it. I tried boiling but I didn't think it was worth the hassle. I'd be putting new strings on again in a few weeks anyway.
  11. Mr. Mig

    Mr. Mig

    Sep 7, 2008
    Everytime you tune up you stretch the strings. Boiling may clean them, but they won't realign the metal of the strings. No matter how often you clean them they will never really "sound new".
  12. I add a dash of vingear to the boiling water - it helps remove the crud from between the windings.

    Besides, the effect of boiling strings will only last for a few hours of playing time - a couple of gigs tops. I only ever did it once or twice on a set as the effect seemed to wear off more quickly the more I did it - after that, I got a new set.
  13. roysloco


    Sep 19, 2008
    I just tried the 'boil for 15 minutes' approach - the strings are really nice and bright, but not as much a new strings (plus with metal fatigue I think you're much more likely to break a boiled string than a new one).

    However, much cheaper than forking out £28 for a new set of 5's - probably I'll do this in between buying new ones to enjoy the brightness again without spending the extra money (but new ones are still the preference).