How To Clean A Clarinet Mouthpiece: Full Steps

If you’re looking for the full guide on how to clean a clarinet mouthpiece, this is it! We’ll discuss clearing out the dirty debris that collects within the mouthpiece chamber and other aspects of cleaning and maintaining your clarinet mouthpiece to prevent it from becoming a filthy haven for bacteria. Let’s begin immediately.

Full Steps Of Cleaning Clarinet Mouthpiece

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1. Drying The Clarinet 

  • Disassemble the clarinet

Ligament loosening eliminates the reed within the mouthpiece. Additionally, disassemble the barrel joint that joins the mouthpiece to the joints housing the keys. It would help if you cleaned the clarinet every time you play to eliminate any moisture that can harm it.

The bottom joints may be separated if you’d want to clean each component of the instrument separately. However, this is usually optional.

  • Wipe off the reed

During clarinet playing, saliva is left on the reed, leaving behind food particles and providing a wet environment for bacterial and fungal development. After you’ve finished playing, dry the reed with a soft towel before putting it in its case.

Keep in mind to wash your clothes occasionally. A filthy rag will return bacteria and saliva to the reed.

  • Swab the clarinet

A specialized swab on a string may be used to clean the bell and joints. Pull the swab through after running the thread through the bell and out the other end. To cover as much of the instrument as possible, make sure the swab is spread widely. 

You may wipe each joint separately in the same manner as if you had detached the joints of the clarinet from one another.

  • Rinse the mouthpiece

You may rinse the mouthpiece under warm or cold running water as part of your routine cleaning to eliminate saliva and any forming dirt. This will simplify the next thorough cleaning.

  • Dry the mouthpiece

Ensure the mouthpiece is dry before putting the clarinet back together or storing the parts. Run the string through the mouthpiece while drawing the swab through using a swab on a string. Let the mouthpiece out in the open for a few minutes to a half-hour to dry in the air to ensure all moisture is gone.

  • Wash the swab

Always use a fresh swab for your instrument to prevent reintroducing moisture or dangerous contaminants. Before you forget to clean it, toss your swab in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes, then hang it to dry for the next time.

2. Preserving The Mouthpiece

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  • Pick a compact container

The container must have adequate volume to hold the mouthpiece and fill it with liquid. Inside the container, place the mouthpiece’s tip downward. The actual container may be placed inside a sink.

Deep-clean the mouthpiece at least once a month, ideally once a week.

  • Fill the container

Use a solution that is half water and half hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar. Either method will effectively and thoroughly clean the mouthpiece. These materials lack the strength to harm the instrument. Never heat, the water should be cold or warm.

Regular dish soap may also be used to clean the mouthpiece in warm or cold water.

  • Brush off limescale

After soaking the mouthpiece for a few minutes, gently scrape it with a brush to remove any residue. Specialty mouthpiece brushes that won’t damage your instrument are available in stores. 

Limescale may also be removed using a baby toothbrush.

  • Rinse the mouthpiece

Place the mouthpiece under a warm or cold water faucet. The water helps to dissolve any leftover limescale and washes the soap, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide away. If a mouthpiece is still unclean, repeat the prior procedures.

  • Use sterisol

Although it’s unnecessary, using germicide ensures that the mouthpiece is completely free of microorganisms. For cleaning instruments, sterisol is often offered, although mouthwash may also be used. In a small bottle of the solution, soak the mouthpiece.

  • Wipe the mouthpiece dry

Before putting the clarinet back together or storing the components, wipe out any moisture with a paper towel or soft cloth. The remaining water may harm the clarinet’s pads or provide a haven for microorganisms within the instrument case.

Let the mouthpiece dry on paper or cloth to ensure that all moisture has been removed.

How To Maintain Clarinet

A few clarinet maintenance suggestions that guarantee the dependability and effectiveness of your musical instrument are outlined and summarized below.

  • Replace worn-out clarinet pads immediately: Make sure the rings on the clarinet are constantly clean to avoid an irritating buzz while playing. The clarinet’s rings have the propensity to gather little dust particles. You may simply prevent any intonation issues by cleaning it often.
  • Ensure the tone hole tubing is kept clean: Keys #9, #10, and #12 have tone holes readily clogged by dirt. Therefore, by regularly cleaning it, the throat tone stays in tune.
  • Before playing the clarinet, clean your teeth and wash your hands: Food debris and soiled pads won’t jam the clarinet keys.
  • Grease each cork tenon with cork grease: By doing this, assembling and disassembling your clarinet will be simpler.
  • About three to four times a year, oil the clarinet keys: To protect your clarinet’s moving rods and keys from rusting and becoming greased, always use a few drops of key oil or sweet almond oil.
  • Consult a qualified woodwind technician every six months: By doing this, you can determine whether or not your clarinet is in excellent shape. If you can’t attend every six months, you may go to see the woodwind technician at least once a year.

(Image: Canva)

Care Instructions For Your Clarinet Mouthpiece

While we went through exactly how to clean your mouthpiece, Axreview wwould like to give a few more suggestions here:

First, use your cleaning swab sparingly! The cleaning swab is ideal for cleaning the bore of your clarinet, but for two reasons, you should refrain from using it on the mouthpiece. The swab can get trapped in the mouthpiece hole since it is smaller than usual. Damage might result from attempting to push it through or free it from a jam. 

Second, because it’s not a straight shot and the mouthpiece material is different from the clarinet body, you risk scratching the inside of your mouthpiece. Over time, scratches within the mouthpiece might weaken its structural integrity, provide additional habitat for germs, and even change how the instrument sounds.

Third, every time you use your mouthpiece, clean it. Every week, your mouthpiece should be cleaned and sanitized; however, after every usage, use a dry towel to remove any remaining moisture. Additionally, taking your reed out of its holder is a good idea. By doing this, you reduce the accumulation of germs. Remember to wash your cleaning cloth sometimes as well!


Can I clean my mouthpiece with hydrogen peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide may be used to clean your mouthpiece, but you should be mindful that excessive usage might harm it. Because hydrogen peroxide is a potent oxidizer and may damage the components of your mouthpiece, it’s crucial to use it cautiously.

What happens if I do not clean my clarinet?

Black mold accumulates inside your clarinet if you don’t clean it often, which might lead to a sickness known as “Saxophone Lung.”

Closed thoughts

A cleaning rod, a tiny brush, and a cleaning cloth are all essential components of a quality clarinet cleaning kit. We hope this article helped you understand how to clean the best clarinet mouthpieces. Thanks!

Author: Geraldine Ben

Do you have any idea about what are some popular musical instruments? What about your favorite band? Do you know anything about any particular bands or musicians? There are so many musical instruments available for sale that it would be challenging and time-consuming for customers to compare many items among them and choose the best. I am Ben - a lover of all things musical. I synthesize the best instruments to help anyone with their equipment needs.

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