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Cleaning dirty clarinet pads


New Member
The pads on my clarinet are not at all worn, they're just dirty - any ideas how to get the dirt off? I've googled this question but the only results are about sticky pads - they're not sticky, just grimy/dirty.


Well-Known Member
My first choice would be Drs Pad Cleaner from Drs Products but unfortunately the company has changed and it is no longer available. I am assuming your clarinet has traditional bladder pads, but this method will work with synthetic pads as well.

What I would recommend is a few drops of a mild dish washing detergent like Dawn in a cup of distilled water. Dip a cotton bud in the solution and gently wipe the surface of the pad. Then dip a new cotton bud in a cup of clean distilled water and "rinse" the surface. When you have done that "blot" the pad dry using a paper towel.


Formerly JayePDX
Is there any 'danger' in playing with 'dirty' clarinet pads, tho ? Can it actually effect performance of the instrument in any way ?

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
If it ain't broke...

Clarinet pads are notoriously fragile compared to a leather faced saxophone pad.

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Assuming you have skin/bladder pads (usually white or yellow in colour), the methods for dealing with sticky pads are the same as for cleaning them.
However, skin pads often take on a stain. Sometimes this is from natural oils in the wood or dyes used in manufacture - and sometimes it's down to plain old grime. It's virtually impossible to remove this stain, but it does no harm to the pad other than make it look unsightly.

As Colin points out, such pads are quite fragile - so some care is needed if you're going to go poking about.

Saxholder Pro

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