How to Clean a Clarinet
Cleaning your instrument removes any accumulation, as well as the potential for germs and mould development. Moisture from your saliva and breath accumulates over time, creating the ideal habitat for germs and mould to flourish. It’s not only nasty, but it may also make you ill in the long run. Moisture may also harm your clarinet by altering the airflow inside it, increasing the likelihood of a fracture developing, and causing the pads to fail.
Over time, the oils from your fingertips may discolor and harm your keys. To keep in excellent performing condition, your clarinet just requires a little TLC over time. Clean your clarinet well once a month.
Step 1: Take clarinet apart
This step may seem self-evident, but did you realize that wrong dissembling might harm your clarinet? Because the hinges and metalwork are delicate, putting too much pressure on the keys may cause them to bend.
Step 2: Clean reed
The ligature and your reed may be removed after freeing the ligature screws. Do you detect any spots or other types of accumulation, or does it seem to be clean? If this is the case, you should sterilise your reed since mould may be growing on it.
Step 3: Mouthpiece should be kept clean
The saliva covers the inside of your mouthpiece (called the chamber) while you play, allowing germs and mould to proliferate. This is particularly dangerous if you recently ate or drank soda before playing, since microscopic food particles or sugars will be present in your saliva, providing bacteria with more nourishment. As a result, many clarinettists’ mouthpieces have developed odour problems. If you play on a regular basis, you should clean and sterilise your mouthpiece on a weekly basis, but it is also an essential part of this monthly thorough clean.
Step 4: Swab each segment
The swab is a cleaning cloth with a rope or thread on one end that allows you to drag it through each clarinet section, save the mouthpiece, which you have previously cleaned. However, since the mouthpiece has a smaller aperture, you shouldn’t swab it because the cloth might become trapped and cause harm. After you disassemble each section, you may find water in the hole or within the segment. Some of it will be spit, but the majority of it will be condensation caused by the warm air flowing into the instrument colliding with the colder interior walls. If the moisture isn’t removed, it may lead to mould, damage the clarinet’s performance, and possibly shatter the wood.
To begin, ensure sure the swab is evenly distributed and free of any knots. Drop the cord section through the hole first, and then draw the swab through with each segment. Carry on like way with each piece until no wetness or stains remain. While you’re doing it, be sure to wipe away any excess moisture from the keys. As you swab each piece, check your barrel, both joints, and bell for any minor cracks or other problems.
Step 5: Check pads and tone holes
You’ll eliminate moisture and debris from your pads as well as inspect your seals during this stage. Rep until no moisture or colour is visible on the paper by softly pressing the key several times. Pulling off the paper while pushing down on the key might harm the pad and its seal, so be cautious. The pads will next be inspected for leakage.
Between the tone holes and the pads, tiny gaps may develop over time, enabling air to travel through. This may change the tone of the key and make it more difficult for you to blow in that key since you will have to blow harder. When you insert the paper and softly push the key a few times while cleaning off the moisture and accumulation, you should receive a circular imprint.
Cleaning Step 6: Inspect and oil keys
We’ll check that all of the keys operate properly in this phase. Examine the metalwork for any dents or bends. You may use a cotton swab dipped in vinegar to assist loosen up anything that’s stubborn. Remove filth with your key brush from spots under the metalwork that you can’t reach. To access to such places, you may also remove any rods or keys.
Cleaning Step 7: Check joint corks
The cork may become dry or brittle over time. This makes disassembling your clarinet more difficult, and if the cork gets brittle and falls off, it might impair the sound of your instrument. The joint corks are preserved and it’s easier to disassemble your clarinet by adding cork grease as required.
Step 8: Cleaning process is to inspect the body and add bore oil if necessary
Inspect each component, including the top joint, lower joint, and bell, and add bore oil as required to preserve the wood within the clarinet.
Cleaning Step 9: Wipe and polish exterior
It’s not only about making your clarinet gleam and look good by wiping and cleaning the body and metalwork. It’s also about ensuring that your instrument is well-protected. To remove any dust, moisture, or oils from your fingertips, wipe clean the whole body and keys with a polish cloth. Over time, all of these will cause some wear on your instrument. If your keys are nickel-plated, you may use the same cloth to clean them, but if they are silver, you need use a separate silver polishing cloth.
Cleaning Step 10: Clean case
Remove any trash, old reeds, and phone numbers. Remove everything you don’t wish to retain from the case and put it away. To get rid of any loose dirt or lint, shake the case upside down over the trash can or outdoors.
Is your clarinet in need of cleaning?
To minimize germs and mould accumulation, a clarinet should be cleaned periodically. The reed should be withdrawn and the clarinet washed (swabbed) every time the instrument is played to eliminate moisture. The mouthpiece should be cleaned thoroughly once a week. You must maintain your clarinet in order to sustain this harmony.
What happens if your clarinet isn’t cleaned properly?
Black mould may grow up within their instruments if they don’t clean them out on a regular basis, causing a disease known as “Saxophone Lung.” Researchers reported a clarinetist who went 30 years without cleaning his instrument and experienced the repercussions at the conference.