Cleaning the soundboard (and other parts)?

Does anyone have a successful method for removing the dust under the strings in a sound board?

A Pützi if it’s not too humid (so that the dust isn’t too sticky) and if the instrument is somewhere that it doesn’t matter for dust to be blasted everywhere. A paintbrush can also be used to sweep the dust around pretty effectively.

a soft long-bristled paintbrush swept gently along the grain of the strings, plus nearby hovering vacuum cleaner? the hitchpins and bridge are annoying though.

If you want to be sure that the dust doesn’t hang around in the air, then I think you’ll have to suck it up w/ a vacuum cleaner. Hunt for an extension piece that’s narrow enuf to fit between the string pairs. That won’t get the dust under the strings… It’s tedious at best, in my experience, & tediouser if the soundboard is painted.


Have you tried a compressor and small nozzle (compressor big enough to move the dust “away”)? I tried an angle of about 45 deg. It probably will not work well on a (slightly) rough sound board

But you have to make sure the compressor does not carry oil with is air. Re paint: depending on the type of paint: no flake possibility? My sound board is not painted.

It is also a painstaking process


Wolfgang G. Knauss
Theodore von Karman Professor of
Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics, emeritus
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena CA 91001

626 395 4524 Phone — Office
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You might have to tell this ignorant Australian what a Pützi is. Not even Google helps!

I simply use a 100mm paintbrush with soft synthetic bristles. For example:

No vacuum required. Shut the lid so the dust does not settle again quickly.

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I’ve very good experiences blowing the dust out from various part of the harpsicord including the soundboard but you have to consider 2 things:

  1. It won’t remove all the dust clinging to your soundboard. Especially the layer that formed over many years.
  2. Don’t do it in the living room when the wife is around or you’ll get a good beating with a rolling pin.

Have a nice week,


I live in a large city and the amount of dust that gets on everything is unbelievable. Generally I follow the Quentin Crisp plan; but every so often I do clean my instruments.

I have a Miele vacuum of this type. I bought it in Scotland in 1999, and used it for 13 years in the USA, followed by 10 years in back in Europe. I have (very occasionally) only ever replaced bags and filters.

Attachments include a brush that I use to clean dust off the case, keyboards and soundboard. The bristles are long enough to reach through the strings, I move the brush along the strings, reaching down to the soundboard. The only downside is the occasional detuning of a string, so I do this before tuning!

There is a kit called a micro set, which enables getting into the spaces around the tuning pins.

To totally clean everything off the soundboard, there is no real alternative to removing the strings and using bread. This I have done when changing the type of string I use.


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Thank you all for your suggestions.

I will start with Andrew’s bristle brush (in several widths) followed by a vacuum, although “suck” vs. “blow” is still to be determined and which must be coordinated with my wife’s immediate presence.

Hi Cleaners! Sometimes I use the compressor method, instrument on it’s spine and place a big fan which blows the dust out the open door…on a windy day. The long bristled brush is usual, with a vacuum cleaner held close.

There is a soft brush attachment with long bristles available for a Vacuum cleaner available in Germany by a company called Vorwerk:

I have a major cleaning project coming up for an organ and even though I do not own one of these vacuum cleaners I plan to purchase the attachement and somehow make an adaptor to fit my Miele.




I looked it up and found this, well, interesting, English translation for the attachment:
“Premium soft nozzle flower of the housewife suitable for Vorwerk Kobold VK 150 200”

As Monty Python says: “Say no more, say no more”.

Dear Keith,

By all means: when engaging the compressor, check for the presence of housewifes & Kobolds!


Chris :wink:

Here is a link to Putzi tools, which are much quieter than vacuums, and which can probably also offer double entendre fun.

Dear All

After a while, dust becomes sticky and can be difficult to remove just by blowing. A soft brush as suggested is good, but a crow feather is very useful for reaching under the strings, and can be twisted and twirled.

I have a much-loved antique wooden hand blower in the workshop. The Putzi blowers are made of plastic now. They are all too big for my portable tool case, so instead I carry a palm-sized rubber camera blower to scoot the dust out after it’s been dislodged with the feather.