How are wind instruments cleaned?

Michael 345

New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl
Valued Senior Member
From the Penny whistle to the trombone

Are the small ones soaked in antiseptic solution and the large ones blown through with antiseptic solution?

Followed by gentle blast of warm air to dry?

Are there spacific cleaning tools for spacific parts of some instruments?

Q-tips? Hygiene spray or antiseptic oils?

Bagpipes surely serve as an all-around inclusive example, what with the addition of a bag that needs a zipper. (Lots of saliva in there breeding fungi, microbes, etc.)

video link --> Sterilize your bagpipe components

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video link --> Clean your pipes
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Brass instruments have valves specifically for blowing out accumulated spit.


(They accumulate a lot of spit in a hurry. Use the spit valve often during a session, and woe betide the poor slob sitting on the lower tier in front of you.)

Mouthpieces might be dipped in an antiseptic occasionally.

That was the extent of cleaning for me when I used to torture a trumpet in high school.

I think there's probably a drain-snake-like tool for the occasional reaming, but I've never seen one.
Instruments like flutes, clarinets, oboes and recorders often come with stick to which you can attach a cleaning cloth (similar to what you'd use to wipe a pair of reading glasses). You shove the cloth into the tube and just manually scrub.

For some reason unknown to me, it seems like it is not unusual for saxophonists to live with a very dirty sax. I don't know whether that is about saxophones in particular, or applies more generally to brass instruments. Trumpet players vary: some seem to like to keep their instrument bright and shiny and clean, while others are content to have a grotty tarnished one, apparently. Maybe there's some difference in sound (??)