How to Clean Harmonica

How to Clean Harmonica

If you’ve just bought a new harmonica, be sure to learn how to treat it well. Unlike other music instruments, a harmonica requires more treatment as a lack of cleaning can affect its playability. That becomes the issue, how to clean harmonica properly?

Harmonicas are not refundable or serviceable by random stores. This gives you no choice than paying attention to the fullest, especially to its hygiene. However, cleaning harmonicas shouldn’t give you a headache. Read the following tips and tricks to keep the instrument clean and playable!

How Often Should You Clean Harmonica?

How Often Should You Clean Harmonica

Well, there’s no exact answer on how often you should clean harmonica. It depends on several factors, such as mouth hygiene, playing frequency, environment, and playing type.

For instance, a player who quickly builds up plaque in the mouth needs more frequent cleaning. Or else, if you are a ‘wet player’, then you should clean the harmonica more often. Living in a dusty environment also requires you to schedule more often.

No matter how often you treat the instrument, regular cleaning is the key. You can clean it daily or even weekly if you’re an occasional player. If you want to keep it in its best performance, using different cleaning levels is a good idea.

Washing the harmonica with flowing water is sufficient to avoid saliva buildup. This procedure can be done daily. A deep cleaning by taking the harmonica apart can be scheduled at least once a week.

How to Clean a Harmonica without Taking it Apart

Do you want to clean the harmonica but don’t have much time to take it apart? Don’t worry because there is an easy solution to sanitize the instrument as a whole. This cleaning technique is suitable for a daily basis or anytime you feel the harmonica needs it.

This is a quick and straightforward procedure for your cleaning routine. Saliva buildup, dust, and debris can be removed with the following steps:

  • Prepare a bowl of lukewarm water.
  • Rinse the harmonica with the water. With the mouthpiece downside, tap against your hand.
  • Let air dry.

The easy cleaning procedure is suitable for harmonicas with alloy, plastic, or heavily sealed comb. Harmonicas without sealing on the comb should not be washed this way.

Harmonica Hohner

Playing Hohner is fun until you come to the cleaning routine. Hohner harmonicas aren’t equipped with comb sealing, so regular washing is not suitable. Instead, you need to clean it softly with a dry brush.

Before starting the cleaning project, you have to dismantle the chromatic. It means you need to take more time and effort to sanitize the instrument. And yet, the result is worth the effort.

These few steps should help you clean the Hohner:

  • Dismantle the instrument. You will find several parts, such as comb, pivot, reed plates, mouthpiece, and reeds.
  • Clean the edges of the cover and reed plate.
  • Take reeds and slots, then clean it up.
  • After cleaning each part, reassemble the pieces.

Beginners will find it’s hard to put each piece back in place. Make sure to have assembly instructions to help you out.

Chromatic Harmonica

So you’ve chosen chromatic harmonica. It means you have to know how to clean the harmonica of this type. Chromatic harmonicas need extra treatment as it doesn’t accept regular washing.

Much like Hohner harmonicas, the cleaning procedure takes more time and effort. As it involves disassembly and reassembly, make sure you have learned the instructions. Whenever you’re ready, do the following steps

  • Disassemble mouthpiece, screws, bumpers, slide, and blank.
  • Clean the mouthpiece by holding in on your hand and scrub with a toothbrush.
  • The slide and blank can be cleaned by laying it on a flat surface and scrub with an old toothbrush.
  • Lubricate the slide to allow the instrument to slide smoothly.
  • Reassemble each part.

Wooden harmonica

Harmonicas with wood combs need special treatment. Cleaning with water or soap is not a good idea, so you need to know what it takes to keep the instrument hygiene.

Dry brush is all you need to remove dust and debris from the wooden harmonicas. Once you have the brush, follow the steps below:

  • Disassemble your harmonica by removing screws on the cover plate.
  • Put the reed plates into vinegar solution for 30 minutes.
  • For the wooden comb, simply brush the surface to clean.
  • Let air dry all the components and reassemble.

When reassembling the components, make sure to tighten the screws properly. But you’ve to remember that too tight screws can damage the instrument.

Metal harmonica

Metal harmonicas are the easiest to maintain as it is tolerable to various cleaning procedures. You can quickly reduce saliva buildup by putting it under running water. If you have a lot of time, it’s always a good idea to deep clean the instrument.

If this is your first experience of cleaning harmonicas, you surely need to follow this instruction:

  • Disassemble the components carefully. Use a pocket knife to gently open the cover.
  • Get a container and pour alcohol halfway. Place the components except for the comb inside and let sit for an hour.
  • If your harmonica has a plastic comb, simply use lukewarm water and soap to clean it.
  • After an hour, take out the metal reed plates and rinse. Get some metal polish and apply it onto the plate with a dry cloth.
  • Put everything back in place.

Tips on How to Clean Harmonica

Cleaning Harmonica Tips

Cleaning harmonica is somewhat tricky. If you are among beginners who need secret tips for the upcoming cleaning project, you need to check this out!

  • Sterilize the harmonica in hydrogen peroxide for 10 minutes to help kill bacteria.
  • Run water through your harmonica when someone uses your instrument without permission. It can get rid of saliva, food debris, or other unwanted things.
  • Brush your teeth before playing.
  • Reduce oxidation by tapping the harmonica after each use.
  • Always air dry the components instead of using a dryer.
  • Put your harmonica in a case to reduce dust and debris buildup.

Cleaning harmonicas shouldn’t make you overwhelmed. It may involve a long process and take much effort, but the result is worth it. You’ve learned how to clean harmonica properly, so it’s time to arrange your cleaning schedule! 

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