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How Do You Clean Your Saxophone?

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Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
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  1. After playing upend sax to allow moisture to fall on to carpet.
  2. Place on stand to dry naturally after wedging open G# and C#.
  3. Remove mouthpiece, rinse and dry place reed in reed guard.
  4. Let it be!
I realise this is not the advice you are seeking but my saxes are to be played and listened to rather than looked at. I appreciate that for many a sax is quite a financial investment and owners wish to keep them in pristine condition for the time when they move on and maximise resale value. Personally all my saxes, a modest 5 in number are keepers and suit my needs so I see no merit in wasting my time polishing etc.
My question about cleaning isn’t for the resale value or for overall ‘look’ of the saxophone. My MAIN reason is for person hygiene. If I’m spitting into an instrument every time I’m playing it then clearly that stuff needs cleaning out for the same reason we use mouthwash etc.,

MY saxophones are to be played and listened to also. I’ve had one of them since 1973. I didn’t spend my money purchasing a saxophone to LOOK at. That would make no sense at all. I just happen to have a good sense of smell and want the INSIDE as clean as possible so it works properly to. I’m sure extra spit, bacteria and fungus probably gum up in places causing key pads to stick etc.,

It wasn’t that long ago my saxophone was professionally cleaned but I play often and I think it’s VERY important to keep it clean for many reasons. Hygienic ones being most important, functionality being equally as important, and looks being the least important and from the looks of these answers here, I don’t have the necessary tools so am glad I asked this very question.

I need to purchase some things.
 

GCinCT

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My question about cleaning isn’t for the resale value or for overall ‘look’ of the saxophone. My MAIN reason is for person hygiene. If I’m spitting into an instrument every time I’m playing it then clearly that stuff needs cleaning out for the same reason we use mouthwash etc.,

MY saxophones are to be played and listened to also. I’ve had one of them since 1973. I didn’t spend my money purchasing a saxophone to LOOK at. That would make no sense at all. I just happen to have a good sense of smell and want the INSIDE as clean as possible so it works properly to. I’m sure extra spit, bacteria and fungus probably gum up in places causing key pads to stick etc.,

It wasn’t that long ago my saxophone was professionally cleaned but I play often and I think it’s VERY important to keep it clean for many reasons. Hygienic ones being most important, functionality being equally as important, and looks being the least important and from the looks of these answers here, I don’t have the necessary tools so am glad I asked this very question.

I need to purchase some things.
Yes, you are absolutely right. Hygiene is extremely important. That's why I always rinse and dry my mouthpiece and reeds. Cleaning your entire horn is important, but the part that goes in your mouth, even more so.
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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@SaxyNikki my post was an expression of my own feelings. Bugs, bacteria and fungus do not tolerate the metals in a saxophone neither do they like the effect of drying. I have never seen fungus mildew etc on any of my saxes left to fully dry on the stand, very little or no verdigris either. However when improperly dried and placed in a case goodness knows what will grow on a sax in this still 100% humidity environment.
I never play without cleaning my teeth and rinsing out beforehand (retired dentist!) and don’t have problems with sticky pads.
After a gig the first thing I do on arriving home is to take the sax out of the case and place it on a stand, as I believe this is the best course of action. As for polishing IMHO this is purely aesthetic and not a priority for me.
 

jbtsax

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I have used the HW Pad Savers for years and have found them easier to use and just as effective as the pull through swabs. After playing I tilt the sax and empty any water in the bell bow, then I run the pad saver in and out 3 or 4 times, Then I run it through my hand. If it feels moist, I lay it on top of the sax when it is put in the case. If it feels dry it goes back inside the sax. I use just a regular clarinet hanky swab to run through the neck. My mouthpiece occasionally gets washed in tepid water with Dawn diswashing detergent using a mouthpiece brush. If there is calcium build up, the mouthpiece gets soaked in vinegar before the soap and water wash.

The outside of lacquered saxes occasionally get treated with Lemon Pledge by spraying a light mist on a cotton cloth or Q-tip and then wiping with a dry one. My silver plated saxes get a once over with a Haggerty's silver polish cloth in the places that can be reached when tarnish begins to appear. Every one or two years they are disassembled, bathed in Empire Tarnish removing solution (like Tarnex) and polished using Haggerty's Silversmith spray on the body and silver polish cloths on the keys.

SBA polish 058.jpg

SBA polish 068.jpg
 
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Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
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@SaxyNikki my post was an expression of my own feelings. Bugs, bacteria and fungus do not tolerate the metals in a saxophone neither do they like the effect of drying. I have never seen fungus mildew etc on any of my saxes left to fully dry on the stand, very little or no verdigris either. However when improperly dried and placed in a case goodness knows what will grow on a sax in this still 100% humidity environment.
I never play without cleaning my teeth and rinsing out beforehand (retired dentist!) and don’t have problems with sticky pads.
After a gig the first thing I do on arriving home is to take the sax out of the case and place it on a stand, as I believe this is the best course of action. As for polishing IMHO this is purely aesthetic and not a priority for me.
I’m sorry if my post sounded insulting. Reading it over I should have just told my story and concerns so let me try again.

I had a proper cleaner for my alto and a pad drier thing. This soprano sax I only just purchased a year ago last Christmas and the guy I purchase it from told me the best place to keep a saxophone is on a stand in a well ventilated area that gets some sunlight and fresh air daily which is what I first originally did and the dogs knocked it off it’s stand chasing the cat around the house and I had to take my saxophone in to get it fixed. It hit the solid wood floor which is very hard. Once I got it fixed the technician told me to put it back in its case. That’s when I started having problems.

Plus this cleaner I bought is totally useless. I was told that it was for an oboe but would be fine for the soprano and I don’t think it is.

I clean the the neck opening with this small brush and some cleaner I purchased at the music store.

While on the stand it didn’t smell but did once I started storing it in its case, then started playing, it was a bit funky.

Then I knocked some keys off their hinge by improper placement inside the case so had to take it back to the technician again.

After reading all the posts here I realize my biggest mistake. I’ve not been washing my feeds. All I’ve been doing is rinsing them under hot water and kept one reed for over a year. YUCK! And here I was being so proud of myself that I hadn’t ruined one for that long. By the time I finally used a new one my sound improved greatly. Talk about OCD.

Ok I’m going to look online at soprano sax cleaners and buy some vodka to drink and clean my reeds with. That’s my new excuse .

How long do I soak my reeds for. How do you clean reeds anyway?

I feel so embarrassed. I’ve been playing for years and didn’t know reeds needed cleaning. OMG! :([/ATTACH]

A22E4AD2-C90C-4C47-AE2B-D64C1C37F43A.jpeg
 
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Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
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I'm sorry to hear that. I hope find a source.

I've got cats too and they worry me. I keep the horn in my practice room with the door closed, but I still worry they will get in.
I’m going to start putting my saxophone on the stand but leaving that on top of my dresser so it doesn’t get knocked over. It makes more sense to let it air out.
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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I also offer this service to customers with silver plated saxes for about $200 which also includes a Clean, Oil, Adjust, Play Condition.
That's a good deal!

I'm amazed by how much care some of you apply to your daily cleaning routines! I think that I'm taking good care of my horns, but not going into so much detail every time.

I use a pad saver too, when I put the horn back in the bag/case, but if it stays home, it just goes on its stand to dry. I wipe the neck with a pad saver like @Wonko or a BG swab. I also clean mouthpieces once in a while. As for reeds, I'm now playing synthetic reeds, so it's rather easy. Wipe them dry and rince from time to time but I often let them on the mouthpiece overnight.

The downside of synthetic reeds is they don't hold the taste of whisky as cane do when I dip them! ;)
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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@SaxyNikki No offence taken. Sorry to hear of the mishap, mine is a dog only house so no such problem. I did have one major mishap - rush to answer the front door during a practice session I placed my Bari on its stand, turned and as I walked away dragged it to the floor. I was still attached by a pre-amp in my pocket and a lead to a sax mic. Cost £220 to get the pigtail sorted. not to be repeated I now have a wireless mic!
Just a suggestion a wall mounted peg?

Kind regards Al
 
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Nikki

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It’s recommended to soak your reed in 3% hydrogen peroxide or alcohol at least once a week for 1/2 an hour. This must have been 1/2 my problem. Now I know.


 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
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I’m going to start putting my saxophone on the stand but leaving that on top of my dresser so it doesn’t get knocked over. It makes more sense to let it air out.
I'm in my office doing some work right now. I just finished practicing, so my horn is on the stand. The cats are hungry,so they are slamming into the door. Little paws are poking underneath it. I've got to go feed them before they break in and attack.
 
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Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
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I'm in my office doing some work right now. I just finished practicing, so my horn is on the stand. The cats are hungry,so they are slamming into the door. Little paws are poking underneath it. I've got to go feed them before they break in and attack.
That’s so cute. I couldn’t even get mad at my girls while they are being hooligans. They are just the cutest most adorable family members ever and wouldn’t trade them for the world.
 

GCinCT

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That’s so cute. I couldn’t even get mad at my girls while they are being hooligans. They are just the cutest most adorable family members ever and wouldn’t trade them for the world.
I agree. I love them both. My constant companions. My big male cat loves to sit on my desk while I'm working. They both sleep with us every night and if I take a nap, they are right there with me.
 

CliveMA

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My cat likes to jump on my face whem I'm asleep or bite the feet monsters through the bed clothes. :confused2:
 

CliveMA

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My cat is almost 3 years old. I thought he'd grow out of jumping on my head when I'm asleep but it seems to be his favourite thing!
 
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