How to Maintain a Clarinet?


1. Disassemble your clarinet. Handle each piece with your fingertips to avoid transferring your hand’s oils to the clarinet’s wood. Take caution not to bend the keys while taking the clarinet apart. Place each piece in a safe place where it will not be damaged.


2. Remove the reed after playing and store it in a reed holder to dry. Put the rest of the clarinet in a safe place that is not too hot or too cold. Don't stand it on its end unless you have a clarinet stand (it holds your clarinet upright, and can usually be folded and stored in the bell).


3. Use your polishing cloth to wipe fingerprints off the ligature and keywork.Polishing with a microfiber cloth will keep the acids and oils from damaging the instrument. Carefully place the cloth back in your case. Don't use any kind of metal polish or other substance on your instrument, except for key oil and cork grease. Pay close attention to the tone holes that your fingers cover as they often collect gunk and grime from your fingers.


4. Clean your mouthpiece with a small brush. An unclean mouthpiece can become unsanitary and negatively affect your health if ignored for too long. An unclean mouthpiece could also shrink, negatively affecting the instrument's tone. Using your brush and warm water, gently remove buildup from the mouthpiece, drying it with your microfiber cloth.


5. Swab each part of the clarinet. In order to remove moisture from inside your clarinet, use your swab and drop the cloth's weight and string through the clarinet from the bell to the mouthpiece and pull it through.You may have to do this several times.Take the pieces apart and dry the tenons (these are the places where the joints of the horn fit together). Then, let the swab dry before putting it in the case, otherwise your keys will be discolored.


6. Place the clarinet back in its case. After cleaning, always return the clarinet to its case in order to protect it from damage. Avoid keeping anything other than your clarinet in the case, for things like papers and pencils can damage the wood once the case is closed. Once your clarinet is safe at home, keep the lid of the case open for an hour to allow the clarinet to dry naturally.If your case is not big enough to hold all of your cleaning supplies, you could purchase a pencil box to hold extra reeds, swabs, and other necessities.