I ended up with a nomad tool for cleaning. It's marketed for cleaning guitar and banjo strings but it is great for cleaning strings and fingerboard probably better for fiddles than what its marketed for, (guitars), since we always have rosin messes to deal with. a bit over 8 bucks on amazon
I have read articles were those classic violins in the custody of museums are just cleaned with a damp cloth. The museum hires people to periodically play the violins, and the museum employees clean each instrument when the musician finished playing.
I was using a special string cleaning cloth to clean the strings on my banjo and guitars. I noticed that the wood started to become shiny and different. I don't use it any longer. Now I just use a microfiber cloth to clean my strings. And I do it every time I finish playing.
Huh? -- It's soft plastic covered with soft cloth -- probably microfiber as you mention, with a very soft hair brush on the other end. Seems designed not to damage and you would need more determination than I have to use it to do damage, although anything is possible. Unfortunately, I don't have any employees to clean my old fiddle and it's a classic violin only to me.