Cleaning strings with alcohol?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Mike Money, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    I heard that using rubbing alcohol on your strings every few weeks will keep them alive much much longer? true?
  2. warwickbass


    Dec 8, 2001
    works for me, also when they get really bad i soak them in a pvc tube filled with it for a short while, brings them back to life again... bassicly the way i see it you just keep cleaning them till its not the dirt and grime making them go dead, its the sring tension finaly getting to them.... i mean elixers just last loger cause they dont get dirty (not that ive ever used them) so whats the diffrence between cleaning them and them not getting dirty, tho im sure i dont get all the dirt out.. eh now im just rambling...
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Alcohol works fine, contrary to boiling water.
  4. yea......I notice that after boiling mine, the G string tends to break more.(happened twice, both times after I boiled them)
  5. I use methyl hydrate myself. It's the same sort of idea I suppose.

    The strings clean up well and sound new without having to boil them. I haven't tried just wiping them - I soak them in a pail of methyl hydrate.
  6. I've used alcohol with succes too, but it seems to work best with stainless steel strings. I've soaked a set of Slowounds and a set of EB Slinkies, and the e and a strings didn't get brighter untill I boiled them. Dunno if it's because alcohol doesn't work with nickel? Or maybe the windings of the DR stainless are tighter thus allowing less dirt into the windings? Anyway, my fave string is hi-beams, and alcohol works great on them. The set I use now is from early march, and it's still zingy and nice, allthough I'm getting a little less harmonic content. Guess that's due to genuine string wear.
  7. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    Most rubbing alcohol is 70% alcohol and 30% water. You don't want all that water on your strings. A lot of supermarkets and drug stores carry 99% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, which would be much better to use.

    What I've been doing to clean strings, and works reasonably well, is something originally suggested on this site by the member mchildree. You can get all this at your local home improvement store: Take a length of 3/4" PVC pipe, about 34-36" in length, cap one end (use PVC cement so it won't leak) Take the pipe outside, lean it against something so it is securely standing up, put all the strings you're going to clean in the pipe, and then funnel the solvent in. After 1-2 hours or so take the strings out to dry and funnel the solvent back into its container so you can reuse it.

    I've been using denatured alcohol as a solvent, which is ethanol with some highly poisonous solvents added to keep people from drinking it. It's supposed to be bad for your skin also, but since it all evaporates within minutes I don't think it's a problem.

    Soon I shall pick up some 99% isopropyl rubbing alcohol and see how well that works.
  8. slugworth

    slugworth Inactive

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    See my post on GHS "FastFret" The stuff works
    great and it's a lot less messy than alcohol.
    Seems the drugstores are putting Acetone in
    their rubbing alcohol these days which will
    eat certain finishes, plus one of the biggest
    enemies of string tone is stretching the core
    wire. Tuning up a string, detuning, removing
    the string, reinstalling and retuning to
    pitch shortens string life. Once I've installed
    a set of strings, they stay tuned to pitch
    until it's time to change them. After that,
    they go in the can... Give that FastFret stuff
    a try, it works for me; of course your results
    and mileage may vary...

  9. warwickbass


    Dec 8, 2001
    I didnt get that fast fret stuff... i bought a stick and it seemed to work well enough but i didnt like the way it made my strings feel... i dont know it just felt ... well worse than warwick strings, those are so gritty, but if you dont mind that im sure it would do just fine
  10. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I used to boil mine, but it doesn't seem to work as well anymore for me. Throw em away and replace I say.
  11. F*#$NA4


    Jul 11, 2003
    Alcohol and Boiling are great, but the heart of the matter is the the condition, roundness of the string that hits the fretboard. Notice when you take off a set of 3 month old strings, that they are worn and flat where they hit the frets. That is the main contributor to a dull, flat, mellow sound, kinda like FLAT WOUND STRINGS. If you don't think I know what I am talking about, boil and clean your strings, and put them on with the worn side of the strings toward the fretboard,play them, note the sound, take them off, and flip them 180 degress, so the worn parts are facing out and a new fresh, round side is facing the frets, waiting to get slapped beotch. I am not saying that cleaning is not important, it is, but I have noticed that doing the above mentioned is just as. :) :bassist: