Harmonica has to be one of the most fun instruments to play. First, it’s small and compact, meaning that you can take it anywhere with you and jam. It’s also fairly simple to learn a few simple songs, making it attractive for beginners. However, it is a wind instrument, meaning that you need to take extra care about hygiene.
There are two main cleaning processes – regular maintenance that can be done more often, and detailed cleaning that requires you to disassemble the instrument and clean each part. The latter should be done after longer periods, depending on how often you play it. If you’re playing and practicing every day, you can do it once in a few months.
Regular Maintenance and Cleaning
If we’re talking about regular cleaning, you can just wash it. It’s a pretty simple routine process that will get rid of most of the accumulated saliva in it.
First, you should use lukewarm water, not too cold and not too hot. Rinse it by putting it under the tap and going through every hole. After you’re done, tap the harmonica against your hand with holes facing down. Continue the process until no more water is dripping from it. Leave the harmonica to dry for a few hours.
However, this process can be applied to those with plastic or alloy combs, as well as those that have sealed combs. If we’re talking about wooden combs, then it’s not advisable to wash it this way. Instead, you can use a dry brush to clean it thoroughly.
In the long run, you should consider cleaning your instrument thoroughly. This goes for any type of harmonica with any type of comb. For this detailed cleaning, you’re supposed to take your instrument apart, wash or clean ever component, and assemble it back together when you’re done. It’s performed after longer periods, depending on how often you play it.
First, you’ll need to unscrew the cover plates. For this, you’ll need a smaller Phillips head screwdriver. Next up, you should clean the plates with alcohol and dry cloth.
After this, you’ll take reed plates and put them in lukewarm water with a few drops of citric acid or vinegar. Keep them soaked for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, take the plastic or metal comb and wash it with soap and lukewarm water. If there’s any accumulated dirt, use a soft brush to remove it.
However, if your harmonica has a wooden comb, don’t use water and soap. Instead, just clean it with a soft brush.
Once you’re done, take the reed plates from the solution and clean them with a soft brush. It’s important to stroke them in the direction of the reeds, and not across. After you’re done, rinse the reed plates with water and let them dry.
After you’re done, double-check everything and make sure that it’s all clean. You should then re-assemble all the parts back together.