String cleaning methods. Dawn???

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by MoeTown1986, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. Ive tried boiling strings in the past. Results were ok but not nearly worth the effort in my opinion. I tried denatured alcohol. It works for sure. Fast forward to 2 days ago, playing an acoustic gig. I was playing a jazz bass string with TI’s. We were playing at a rowdy redneck biker bar. I was DD that night so I was kindly turning down shots. Some chick came up with a tray full of rumplemintz. I said thanks but I’m driving. Gotta pass. She then threw the entire tray at me. Had peppermint alcohol all over me, my bass, my eyes were burning out of my head, it wasn’t pretty.

    The next day, grabbed my bass and started cleaning all the sticky alcohol off. Plugged it in, and the strings were DEAD. And I don’t mean that good flatwound dead. I mean sounded like garbage dead. I pulled them off, put them in a plastic container in the sink, squirted dawn in there, and used the sprayer on the sink to make hot water soapy bubbles. Let them sit for a few minutes, rinsed with cold water, dried them off, and restrung. To my surprise, not only did they come back to life, but they sounded new!

    I have 5 other basses strung with TI’s, one being a 6 year old set. They lost a lot of top end so I decided to do the same with them. What do you know, all the life came back. I’m guessing since dawn is a degreaser, it breaks down the oils your fingers leave behind and deaden strings.

    Just wanted to share my experiences. Not sure how it would work for rounds, but if someone wants to try and comment, please do. It most definitely brings thuddy flats back to life.
    wesonbass, MattZilla and Sanchan like this.
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Hey, if it's good enough for cleaning oil-logged ducklings, then it should be fine for bass strings.

    wesonbass, saabfender and MoeTown1986 like this.
  3. Dawn may be able to clean the outside, but what would happen to the core wire when all that water gets inside?
    exidor likes this.
  4. Unfortunately sugary, syrupy stuff doesn't dissolve with much other than hot water, so your choices are discard the strings or wash them in hot sudsy water.
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
  5. And thank god it worked. These TI’s are only like 3 months old.
  6. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    You certainly have to get them dry. I’m partial to using a hair dryer, myself.

    I use Formula 409/Super Clean, both are more aggressive than Dawn.
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
  7. I’m sure the water would just dry. Shouldn’t hurt it.
  8. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Steam Clean with Hoppes #9 Gun Solvent! That'll get the damn Bass-Wankers Clean! And they won't rust!
    MattZilla and MoeTown1986 like this.
  9. Copperhead

    Copperhead Still creakin' around. Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2018
    Dawn is the WD-40 of detergents. I'm serious.

    On another note, a guitar player I worked with aeons ago used lighter fluid (naptha) and 3i n 1 oil 50/50. Loosen the string, run up and down it with a cotton ball, rag, whatever. Wipe the board, tune up the strings. It just works.
  10. Rumple Minze? Redneck Biker Bar?
    MattZilla likes this.
  11. Lol yup. Quite the night.
    saabfender and Old Garage-Bander like this.
  12. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    Girls are girls, redneck or not.

    That sucks, Moe. It's fortuitous that you learned at least one lesson from that adverse situation.
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
  13. Just take the shot anyway? Hahaha
  14. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Yeah, and toss it over your shoulder ;).
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
  15. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    that would be part of the second lesson. As a bassist you are expected to be prepared for anything- including driving an hour after taking one (1) [odin dlya devotchka] shot. The prepared bassist has toothpaste, toothbrush, scope, and Powerade in his/her bag.
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
  16. Hahahaha! Noted.
  17. I’m not gonna say I wasn’t drinking at all. I allowed myself 1 beer per set. And I only shoot whiskey. Not a fan of sugary stuff at all. I would have turned that down even if I wasn’t driving! But, I will now carry all the above in my gig bag. Hahhaha
    MattZilla likes this.
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