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 Cleaning a Wooden Clarinet?
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-10-12 14:42

So I read that thread on how people are getting sick from not cleaning their instruments. Interestingly enough, I've had three clarinets - I've noticed that mold doesn't grow inside the clarinets, but it tends to be on or near the keys. I have a... 8 year old Vito sitting in my room at home right now (that I haven't touched for years), and before I left to the University, I noticed it was growing mold, so I proceeded to rinse it all out. (It's been about a month since I've been home, so I wonder how much there is now...)

My wooden clarinet tends to grow some (not a lot) of mold under the screws; should this be a concern, and how should I get rid of it? I remember that my last teacher said there was "green stuff" growing under the screws, and we both thought it was from the (deteriorating) green silk swab that I had at the time, but now I'm sure it's mold. She asked me if I've ever sent the clarinet for a *cleaning* at the repair shop; when I think "cleaning," I think of putting the clarinet in soap and water. Obviously, that's not a good idea; how should I be "cleaning" this clarinet besides swabbing it after playing?

My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

Post Edited (2010-10-12 14:44)

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 Re: Cleaning a Wooden Clarinet?
Author: SteveG_CT 
Date:   2010-10-12 14:53

Unless you are storing your clarinets in a very damp location you probably don't have mold. The "green stuff" forming around the screws is most likely what is known as verdigris, which is an oxide that forms on some brass and copper alloys. It is likely that the posts and keys on your instrument are made from plated brass so you are probably seeing oxidation forming at locations where the base metal is exposed such as the holes for screws and springs.

Post Edited (2010-10-12 14:53)

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 Re: Cleaning a Wooden Clarinet?
Author: jasperbay 
Date:   2010-10-12 15:33

I agree, its 'verdigris', not mold. Forms when copper/brass is in contact with oily wood, leather, etc. Its not harmful to humans, but the copper (green tint) probably keeps mold, algae, etc. from growing, might even be beneficial!

Just scrub it off with an old toothbrush and/or toothpick. Careful of the pads. Use a drop of almond or bore oil with the toothbrush to spruce up the wood at the same time. Again, don't touch the pads if you can help it.

Clark G. Sherwood

Post Edited (2010-10-12 15:38)

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