Clarinet cleaning: keeping your clarinet in good condition
Keeping your clarinet in good condition: clarinet cleaning
An important part in making sure you get the best out of your clarinet is making sure you schedule regular clarinet cleaning. While you should swab out your clarinet after every time you play, you should also make sure that you have on hand cleaning supplies to keep your instrument in top condition with regular maintenance.
Playing clarinet produces a lot of condensation. This is because the air being blown through the clarinet is usually warmer and moister than the air outside the clarinet. This condensation must be removed from the instrument, otherwise it can cause warping, bad hygiene and damaged pads and parts.
The most common way of cleaning condensation from a clarinet is to use a swab. A cleaning swab is a piece of material with a cord attached to one corner. This cord has a small covered weight at one end, which is dropped through the clarinet, pulling the piece of material behind it to clean out the condensation.
Another cleaning step that should be done after each time the clarinet is played is the keys should be wiped down with a cloth after every use. You should also regularly clean under the keys – a piece of cleaning paper slotted between the key and the body of the clarinet is good, just press down lightly on the key for the cleaning paper (or blotting paper) to absorb any dirt or other nasties.
Wooden clarinets need extra care, and you should discuss what is required with a specialist instrument dealer or repairer if you are not sure what to do. No matter what material your clarinet is made from, it is important to never use water to clean your clarinet, as it is sure to damage it.
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