Harp Cleaning

  • Participant
    Brittany DeYoung on #149689

    I would like to know your ideas about what you do to clean your harp.

    kay-lister on #149690

    Hi Brittany,

    I just use a dry cotton cloth.

    sherry-lenox on #149691

    I’m glad someone has posted on this topic again. Last night when I was trying to practice my strings were whistling loudly.
    If it hadn’t been so annoying it would have been funny. I wipe my strings down with a clean cloth every time I play, and I practically sterilize my hands before I play.
    Is there anything else I could use on my (gut) strings to keep them clean? I know it’s the humidity that makes them whistle.

    Tacye on #149692

    Sherry, have you tried putting talcum powder on your hands before playing?

    Brittany, different sorts of harps have different finishes, and different finishes like slightly different treatments.

    kay-lister on #149693


    My teacher told me that your hands are too dry when your strings whistle like that.

    Jessica A on #149694

    Having your hands in bleach before you play can cause whistling….don’t be so clean!

    Karen Johns on #149695

    I use Howard’s Natural’s Wood Preserver in Patchouli/Vanilla scent for deep polishing. For regular cleaning I break out the ‘ol Murphy’s Oil Soap.


    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #149696

    I would not use any commercial cleansers on a harp. Clouding of the finish is trapped moisture that has to evaporate. When preparing a soft cloth for cleaning, it must only get a few drops of water. I use, and probably shouldn’t, a drop of soap. Sweaty hands are in my experience a sign of working too hard, and not being sure of what you are doing. Try to do the same things but with

    sherry-lenox on #149697

    Thanks so much for all the ideas. I’m sure I would be much happier with a fan, but I was afraid the harp would regard one as causing a forbidden draft. I’m going to try all the ideas though. It’s to be in excess of 100 degrees again today.

    We are scheduled to attend a wedding in an un-air-conditioned church. Probably the only situation in which I would be happy not to see a harpist playing!

    Misty Harrison on #149698

    If you choose to put something on your hands before playing, don’t use talcum powder. Talc is really bad for the human body and yes I know it’s in a lot of things that are supposed to be good like baby powder. There are a lot of studies on it. Instead buy some facial blotting paper. It will absorb sweat and oil from your hands without leaving powder on your hands or on the strings and it’s not bad for you.

    barbara-low on #149699

    I use a bit of dishwashing soap (like Dawn) too. As long as you wipe with clear water and get it dry again quickly, it works well in cutting the grease.

    carl-swanson on #149700

    OK. Here’s how to clean your harp. First off, if it’s a gold harp, DON’T DO THIS TO THE GOLD.

    Mix some Dawn dishwashing soap with water as if you were going to do the dishes. Soak a sponge in the liquid and wring it out as much as you can. Use the sponge to wipe down all of the natural wood parts of the instrument: the soundboard and body, the neck, etc. You can really rub in those areas where your hands constantly touch the instrument, mainly the upper part of the body and soundboard. You may have to re-soak the sponge and wring it out several times if the harp is really dirty. You can dry the instrument off with paper towels or a cloth towel. This should be done every few weeks to a month if you are playing the instrument regularly. After cleaning it, put a coat of paste car wax on the areas you just cleaned. I use something called California Gold. Again, don’t do any of this on gilding or on any metal parts.

    Brittany DeYoung on #149701

    Thank you everyone!! all the information is very helpful! I never thought to use a regular dish soap or car wax thinking it might hurt my L&H but maybe I’ll give it a try next time. Also I had another harpist recommend lemon oil to me which I tried and it worked very well to clean and restore the shine. (Just couldn’t practice right after applying since it took a little time for the wood- and my hands-

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