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 Best Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Jane 
Date:   1999-07-21 18:33

Can anyone tell me what is the best method to sterilize a used mouthpiece?
I bought a used clarinet which came with 2 good mouthpieces, and was wondering if there is a reliable way to sterilize them without harming them.

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 RE: Best Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: David Goss 
Date:   1999-07-21 18:41

Anytime I needed to steralize the mouthpiece I used rubbing alcohol. The problem with this is you can't get alcohol on the cork. Typically I would pour the alcohol onto the facing and in the chamber, while holding the tip down and into a sink. That way the alcohol only touches the part where your mouth would touch. After that I would run a paper towel, not too big so it doesn't get stuck, to clean out anything else.

If anyone has another idea I'd love to hear it.


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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-07-21 19:30

When I work-up a clar, I put the mp in a medium sized pill bottle and fill up to just below the cork with cheap vinegar [which is 5% acetic acid in water]. This sure should kill any bacteria and also removes any white deposit in an overnite soak, and as far as I can see it does no harm to hard rubber, plastic or glass, dont know about metal mp's, might need to be diluted. Try it! Don

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 RE: Best Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: RichC2 
Date:   1999-07-21 20:14

I've heard that you should let it soak in some rubbing alcohol, especially if they haven't been used in a lnog time (If it's are old, it might have some really gross crud growing on it) Be careful not to get the cork wet when doing this, however. Leaving it in a small cup filled only halfway might do the trick.

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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Drew 
Date:   1999-07-21 20:19

I'm a proponant of the "soap, water & brush" method. A small mouthpiece brush made for the purpose will set you back about $3.00. If you want to be really thorough, try combining methods by using the brush/soap first, then follow up with the alcohol or vinegar. I suppose you could try hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant, but I don't know if it would degrade the hard rubber material. Any thoughts on H2O2 chemical interactions with hard rubber?

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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-07-21 20:40

Yes, I'm an advocate for soap [detergent] and water also. Not having tried peroxide, I'd be cautious, its a very strong oxidizing agent and might produce peculiar colors on a H R mp, prob not on glass or plastic [with minimal exposure]. As to alcohols [C2 and iC3], they are mild organic solvents, so prob no damage with mild, room temp, application. I still prefer vinegar.

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 RE: Best Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Fred McKenzie 
Date:   1999-07-21 21:00

Jane wrote:
-------------------------------
Can anyone tell me what is the best method to sterilize a used mouthpiece?

Jane-

I like the suggestion to use vinegar, which also would help clean the crud off. I think an old used toothbrush might also be helpful.

What I've done in the past, was to purchase a bottle of cheap generic mouthwash. I poured a small amount into another container, where I dipped the mouthpiece. Afterwards, I rinsed it off with water, avoiding getting anything on the cork.

Fred


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 RE: Best Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Rosie 
Date:   1999-07-21 23:59

I immerse my mouthpiece completely (cork not included) into pure lemon juice. 10 minutes should do the trick, and then I just take some qtips to it :) I don't know how that works by way of sterilization, but it sure does clean a mouthpiece up really nice.

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 Why worry so much about the cork?
Author: Dee 
Date:   1999-07-22 04:46

Actually if you have gotten hold of an old mouthpiece, the cork should be replaced anyway or will generally need replacing fairly soon so I really wouldn't worry too much about it. After you get the mouthpiece cleaned and sterilized the first time, just get it recorked and then if proper cleaning an maintenance is done, you won't need to repeat this procedure on that mouthpiece.

By the way, using vinegar, I've immersed the entire mouthpiece for two older ones as the deposits went the full length of the mouthpiece. Cork came out fine. Vinegar is not the strong solvent that alcohol can be.


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 RE: Best Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: lis 
Date:   1999-07-22 05:05

I use the Sanimist from my local music store (also found in WWBW) to clean my mouth piece. I use it when I'm sick and stuff like that.
Teachers I've had in both middle and high school also use it on mouthpieces that were shared....like the tubas, bass clarinets, and others.
Seems to work well.


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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-07-22 15:43

What a good chemical [not comical] discussion. We can prob. conclude there is no "best" method, just a number of satisfactory solutions [in both senses of the word]. Sounds like most of us like the diluted organic acids, acetic and citric [as in lemons][there are many others]. For the latter, a cheap lemon juice should be OK, unless John or Tom Collins needs some!! Re: mouthwashes and Sanimist [I'm unfamiliar with it], I suggest reading the label to see if they contains higher molecular weight alcohols or glycols [polyols etc], which might be absorbed by hard rubber and/or cork and provide a "mediciney" taste or smell! Don

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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-07-22 16:09

Don:

Of course, I wouldn't suggest this method for kids, but I have another sterilization idea for you. Talking about alcohols, would a 40 or 50% concentration ethyl alcohol bath suffice for sterilization? If the aftertaste is what you're looking for, my "Old Grand Dad" or my pet "Wild Turkey" might work great for me. ;)

However, what would this do to the solid rubber mouthpiece and/or cork?


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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-07-22 16:56

Thats a pretty high concentration, but in the interests of science, it should be tried! First on plastic or glass, then preferably NOT the best hard rubber mp, there might be residual effects! Had a friend who, having a tooth-ache, employed the rinsing method, and being Scotch, just had to swallow! Seemed to bring relief! Don

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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: herb 
Date:   1999-07-22 17:29

Don's caution about "peculiar colors" should be considered. I have a vintage Meyer New York tenor HR mp, acquired 40+ years ago. I've recenly learned it may be worth $200-300 depending on condition. Unfortunately, it's no longer black, but pale brown, probably because I used peroxide or vinegar or some such chemical years ago.

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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-07-22 18:29

All levity aside, thanks, Herb, you bring up a concern re: H R mp's which we discussed at some length, maybe here and/or on "Early Clarinet", a short time back, related to the composition of the hard rubber, its "vulcanizing [sulfur] and weighting [metal-lead etc] additives", which have changed over the years. The older H R's would take on a brown or greenish coloration, which I attributed to oxidation by O2 of the air, but would be severe with a peroxide [hydrogen or sodium]. It may be possible to remove if its only a surface coating, I may experiment when I can. Mark C may be able to help find our posts. Glad you brought up this hazard to mp cleaning. Don

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 RE: Meyer mouthpieces
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-07-22 20:15

Don't worry too much about the color... it'll still be worth a good $250-$450. The color ot the rubber has little bearing on the value. But the facing and chamber does.

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 Herb - color changes
Author: Dee 
Date:   1999-07-23 03:55

These could be normal color changes probably due to being exposed to too much sunlight too often. I have two hard rubber Albert system clarinets that are a brown color (the entire outside of the instrument except some hidden spots under the keys). Inside the instruments are still black. The mouthpieces have also turned brown. Again the insides are still black and under the ligatures they are still black. If it were due to chemicals, the brown would be inside and outside and under the ligature.


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 RE: - color changes
Author: herb 
Date:   1999-07-23 13:43

Not much sunlight in the drawer where this mp had been hibernating since I switched to a metal berg, but Dee may be right. The bore is black, and it's black behind the lig. Still, I'd like to get it all back to black. I't's a great piece for a vintage horn. Thanks for all your comments.

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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Erik Doughty 
Date:   1999-07-23 16:35

I'm a little nervous about using rubbing alcohol to clean a mouthpiece. Isn't rubbing alcohol usually denatured?


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 RE: - color changes
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-07-23 17:10



herb wrote:
-------------------------------
Not much sunlight in the drawer where this mp had been hibernating since I switched to a metal berg, but Dee may be right. The bore is black, and it's black behind the lig. Still, I'd like to get it all back to black. I't's a great piece for a vintage horn. Thanks for all your comments.


I had an old Ann Arbor Kaspar that was green from age. What worked over time was taking jst a little skin oil (i mean natural oil right off your forhead or something, not beautycare skin products) and rubbing the mouthpiece with it. It didn't get it all the way back to black, but it did reduce the green color. <shrug>

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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-07-23 17:22

No, the term "denatured" was applied to a commercial form of ethyl alcohol [C2H5OH] [not liquor grade], to make it unfit for drinking. I havent heard the term for a long time, since ethylene glycol took over the auto antifreeze market. Rubbing alcohol is usually isopropyl alcohol [C3H7OH] and using it for mp wash is OK, wouldnt "soak", however. I agree with Dee's conclusion that light [UV] is prob. the principal cause of coloring, depending on the composition of the rubber itself and the "hardening" agents and process. [Complex chemistry!]

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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: todd 
Date:   1999-07-23 23:44

When something is sterilized (technically), all bacteria and spores are killed. The only way to do this is to put an object in an autoclaave which is a pressure chamber with steam, or a very hot oven, or the use of caustic chemicals at a high pressure and temperature. These would all play havoc on a mouthpiece--you'd probably have a mound of rubber. For alcohol to have disinfectant properties, which is the killing of most organisms but not all, it would need to be in contact with the mouthpiece for at least ten minutes. You can also disinfect with Betadine, but I don't know if it would discolor the mouthpiece.

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 RE: A Method for Mouthpiece Steriliazation?
Author: Lelia 
Date:   1999-07-24 00:21

Repair people and people who sell mouthpieces (and let customers try them out) use another product marketed especially for sanitizing mouthpieces, called SteriSol. It's sold ready to use in small spray bottles and also in a more economical bottle of concentrate for mixing with water and refilling the spray. (Ferree's Tools carries it.) Like all cold sterilants, SteriSol won't completely sterlilize rubber or plastic. When I buy old mpcs, I wash them thoroughly in dish detergent and lukewarm water, and use a mouthpiece brush (pointed bottle-brush, sold in music stores) to clean out any crud. I follow that up with a rinse, then rinse again either SteriSol (which I carry on hunting expiditions that sometimes involve scrubbing out a mpc in a public ladies' room because I can't wait to get home before I try it!) or a disinfectant mouthwash containing alcohol, such as Listerine. If I really have doubts about a used mpc, I soak it in the disinfectant for 10 minutes or so. (It's probably clean enough for government work, but I'm squeamish.) Then I rinse with plain water and dry the mpc with paper towel on the outside and a "mouthpiece saver" on the inside. I never leave a "saver" in the mpc afterwards, because I like it to dry out completely overnight, so fungi, mold, cooties from outer space, etc. don't grow in there. I do the short form of this routine (no long soaking) once a week on my own mouthpieces. In between, I rinse them out and dry them every time after I play them.


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 RE: Methods for Mouthpiece Cleaning
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-07-24 17:23

Point well taken, Todd, we are quite casual in the terms we use, even if we did "sterilize" in the medical sense, we couldn't keep it that way with use. Terms like disinfecting, and thorough-cleaning seem better, as Lelia suggests. Not knowing what the special-purpose solutions contain, I'd suggest "Read the Label", if there is mention of peroxide, or oxidizing-agent in the listed composition, one should limit the exposure of our good H R mp's. Also, UV [ultraviolet radiation] in sunlight can catalyze reaction of atmospheric oxygen with carbon compounds such as rubber. Don

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