Best Tricks To Clean A Harmonica

Musical instruments need a bit of care and extra effort to maintain them. Is your harmonica dirty, and do you wish to know how to clean it? Don’t worry, we are here to help you with it.  

Musical instruments won’t stop playing if they are not cleaned. But the harmonica stops playing if dust is accumulated or is not maintained properly. Harmonica needs to be cleaned regularly because it very easily gathers dust, dirt, and (frankly quite disgusting) remnants of anything that might be in your mouth. Today we are presenting a few simple steps to clean your harmonica. 

 how to clean a harmonica

Simple Steps To Clean Harmonica:

Our breath can contain various particles that can eventually pile up residue on the reeds, inside cover plates, and the comb. All our body composition is different, and the chemicals and sugar levels present in our saliva also vary. These items and other particles present in the items we drink and eat can combine on surfaces of harmonica and solidify on the various components. Anything that piles up on the instrument results in varying the pith and pace. Hence deep cleaning is necessary to clean your harmonica. here are the steps of deep cleaning

The process involves removing harmonica components which takes a bit of effort and time. But it is always better to treat the problem at its root.  It may be complex at the early stages but it lasts for a longer duration.

For deep cleaning, you will have to gather the following items-

  • Screwdriver (type needed varies)
  • Cocktail sticks/toothpicks
  • Feeler gauge (or piece of paper)
  • Surgical spirit/rubbing alcohol
  • Small bowl (for surgical spirit)
  • Toothbrush
  • Hand towels/flannels
  • A large bowl of water

Step 1: 

Holding cover plates remove the screws and then from the comb remove reed plates. As screws are easy to lose, keep them in a safer place. 

Step 2: 

Now it is time to remove dust and stuck-on saliva. Using cocktail sticks remove dust and other ingredients from all the parts. The comb can be especially gunky.

Step 3 :

Use surgical spirit and clean lengthwise and place in the bowl of water. After that dry it with the help of water thoroughly.

Step 4: 

Gently use a feeler gauge to check reeds are free and working properly.

Step 5:

Reassemble all the parts of the harmonica. Now our focus is on placing the lubricated slide back onto the comb. The comb should be placed bottom down with the checker holes on top and the covers on either side. One end of the comb has a tiny spring head protruding up, and this spring end goes into the tiny hole on the slide.

 how to clean a harmonica

If you place it correctly then the slide fits on top of the comb. Now reinstall both the mouthpiece and ensure the screws are facing down. 

Orient the comb in such a way that soring fits on the right side. 

You can use this process to clean diatonic, tremolo, and octave harmonicas. The same idea applies to chromatic but you have to be extra careful so consult a chromatic expert before dismantling your instrument.

Pro Tip To Clean Harmonica

Heavy particles on reed plates and the surface can affect tone effectiveness. The action of the reed will be often interrupted by the particles of food, hair, skin, and pocked as they can accumulate between the reed and reed slot. In harmonica, there are chances of saliva buildup regularly hence rinse with warm water regularly. This is the best way to maintain your harmonica regularly. 

Step 1: Rinse the harmonica with lukewarm water and then tap it against your hand to remove leftover water. 

Step 2:  Allow your harmonica to dry thoroughly.

if your harmonica has a wooden comb, it’s safer to use a soft, dry brush rather than risk swelling and cracking the wood by introducing too much moisture.

Before playing always wash your mouth, avoid playing after eating food OR SNACKS, Brush your teeth before playing the instrument and avoid drinking anything other than water before you play. Because there are chances that sugar and other particles can enter your harmonica. If these particles are in your mouth they can enter your harmonica. 

How To Clean A Harmonica Without Taking It Apart

Do you find reassembling the harmonica challenging? Then there is a way to clean the harmonica without taking it apart.

Step 1: Take a bowl of lukewarm water.

Step 2: Hold the harmonica upside down and clean it with water.

Step 3: Last, allow the harmonica to dry thoroughly

How To Clean Hohner Chrmoatic Harmonica?

When you are cleaning chromatic harmonica, you will have to be mindful of a few aspects. The mouthpiece is tough to wash,  but the slide and blank bend easily. While cleaning lay down the mouthpiece on the counter and take water and a drop of liquid dish wash. Use a toothbrush to clean the mouthpiece by holding it in your hand. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you clean a dirty harmonica?

Well, dust accumulated on the harmonica can cause serious issues by varying pitch and pace. Hence cleaning is important. You can clean the harmonica by removing parts and washing it with lukewarm water. You can also go for an ultrasound supersonic cleaner. 

2. Can I clean my harmonica with rubbing alcohol?

Yes, you can clean your harmonica by rubbing alcohol. While cleaning reed plates, spray alcohol on both sides and wipe it out.  On the side of plates having reeds attached, wipe in parallel direction of reeds, DO not use a brush on the reed plate, as the brush may get caught or snagged between the reeds. while Cleaning the Comb, spray with alcohol and use a small round brush to clean holes and chambers. Then wipe dry with a cloth. While Cleaning the Cover Plates, spray the plates with alcohol and carefully wipe the inside and outside surfaces with a cloth.

3. Should you soak the harmonica in water?

It is recommended not to soak the harmonica in water as the wooden parts get swollen and eventually the instrument may stop playing.

4. Can I clean my harmonica without taking it apart?

Yes, you can clean the harmonica without taking it apart. You can just wipe the components with water and a liquid dish added to them. 

Read Also:- Fly Me To The Moon Piano Sheet Music

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