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Accessories Mouthpiece Reed and Sax Sanitiser

MMM

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Whatever else? As my great grandfather said when he saw a Zeppelin: I've seen it all now!
M.
 

BigMartin

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Er, where does the ozone go? Not into my house, I hope. It's toxic.
 

Rob Pealing

sax in a kayak (apprentice sax tamer)
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Here are a load of somewhat disjointed thoughts,
Why do you want to sterilize a mouth piece that you and you alone use? how many of us sterilize our toothbrushes.
I can see the point in sterilizing a second hand one that you have just bought. Though HIV is pretty fragile outside a living body/cell. Hep B is more robust, I do not know how long it can survive outside a human or viral culture medium.
We wash our dishes in warm soapy water and don't get ill.
Is there any evidence that brass and woodwind players get ill from their MP's?
What are the bacteria in the MP's and are they pathogenic?
I suspect that all the moisture in a sax is condensation I cannot see much growing there if you simply use a pull through to clean and dry it and rinse the MP in water and dry it.
It is probably not a good idea to blow biscuit/cookie crumbs down it.
Are there any bacteriologists on the forum, if so perhaps you will comment?
 

Alphorn

Member
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South of Munich
Here you go:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/...n-clarinet-instrument-woodwind_n_4221368.html

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-...-breath-that-clarinet-could-be-a-germ-factory

A good starting point is the article on Stephen Howard's homepage:

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/mouthpiece_hygiene.htm

As those links show there can be cases of health issues. However, if you take a close look at those studies and publishing years cited in the articles above, they are quite rare considering the millions of woodwindplayers around the world. The question is where did those germs come from in the reported patient cases? Could have been caught by the player somewhere and introcuced to the instrument later on. Could have come from sharing ones instrument. Could have come from second hand instruments in untidy cases. There is a study out there that cultured bacteria / fungi from instrument cases (can't find it right now) with impressive results.

Some of the germs found in instruments, mouthpieces and reeds can have harmful effects. A bit of hygienic procedures can therefore be beneficial and are easy to follow. The procedures in Stephen's article are a good idea. Cleaning your mouthpiece on a regular basis is sensible. There are quite a few players that accept build up of calcium deposits on and in mouthpieces as natural ignoring that this will also mean there is a biofilm of germs associated with it. Sucking back spit from such a mouthpiece to clear up your playing on a "wet" day?

So this is what I do as a trained microbiologist. Disclaimer: Left microbiology behind about 20 years ago, but still in science.

- Clean the mouthpiece in a mild solution of citric acid. The same you use for your coffee maker. Removes calcium build up. It disolves the gunk. May need a soft tissue to fully remove it. I do it about every other month. I am not to keen to treat mouthpiece rails with brushes.

- Disinfect the mouthpiece with a spray of wiping alcohol after cleaning.

- After a severe cold I clean and disinfect the mouthpiece. Disinfect the crook inside with wiping alcohol, put a bit of plastic wrap under you octave pad to avoid soaking the pad. Soak reeds in wiping alcohol. Especially, if you have had to take antibiotics you don't want to have those bugs still sitting on you mouthpiece and reeds.

- Pull through: I wash in hot water and detergent about every other month. When I had a severe cold I soak them in alcohol first.

With wiping alcohol you need to be careful with vintage ebnoite mouthpieces. I only have modern mouthpieces and have seen no ill effect on them. However, I once disinfected an older Link Tone Edge and that gout slightly discolored and a bit smelly. Could be polished off but nevertheless be careful.

Don't panic. Health issues are rare!

The Silverstein light, in my opinioin, is simply a rip-off. But if you are a technical guy feel free to buy one. I am not sure about its effects on ebonite, though. Ebonite turns green and smelly if left to the air and UV light. You see greening in quite a few vintage mouthpieces. So in my book UV plus ozone might be the worst you can do to ebonite. Ebonite is crosslinked via S-S disulfid bonds and ozone will oxidize these affecting the mouthpiece. Much of the rational given by Silverstein is marketing blurb. Mouthpieces and cases get smelly because of the germs only as a secondary consequence. They smell because instruments are packed into cases before they are fully dried. Humidity in closed spaced tends to foster microbial growth. The light won't help against humidity. If you still want to part with you money, send it to me.

Alphorn
 
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Jeanette

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@Alphorn my tutor told me to leave reeds on a window ledge in the sun after a cold so the ultraviolet rays would sterilise them, is this strong enough especially through glass?

Jx
 

Alphorn

Member
Messages
422
Locality
South of Munich
@Alphorn leave reeds on a window ledge in the sun after a cold so the ultraviolet rays would sterilise them, is this strong enough especially through glass?Jx

Good idea to sanitize surfaces with UV. It is used in cell culture labs for sterile work benches with special lamps. But no, for reeds with the procedure recommended to you. Window glass will weaken the UV radiation. Best proof is that you don't really tan when working in a glass house. Got that from first hand experience during my training as gardener before moving on to study microbiology. An additoinal no, as the germs be it viruses that cause most common colds, or be it bacteria, will penetrate into the fibrous cane matrix. UV sanitizes only the surface. However, there might be an effect of sun when the reed dry out completely. Bugs don't like a very dry surrounding.

Alphorn
 

Colin1

Mine's an espresso
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how many of us sterilize our toothbrushes.
I can see the point in sterilizing a second hand one that you have just bought.

We wash our dishes in warm soapy water and don't get ill

I suspect that all the moisture in a sax is condensation I cannot see much growing there if you simply use a pull through to clean and dry it and rinse the MP in water and dry it
Toothbrushes are generally flushed twice a day immediately after use
I can't speak for anyone else but reasonably diligent as I am, I don't do that with my mouthpiece

Actually, I submerge my dishes in super-hot soapy water and come back when it's cooled sufficiently :)

Agree and disagree: it's moisture but it's from a mouth and it will be loaded with bacteria. I agree that the regular use (after every session) of a serviceable (clean) pull through should suffice to keep the harmful stuff at bay. I've never heard anyone on the forum complain of being ill as a result of things living in their horns - I think you'd need to be super-unhygienic to even stand a chance of an infection, or be super-prone to infections.
 
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Rob Pealing

sax in a kayak (apprentice sax tamer)
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Greenfield, Nova Scotia, Canada
Toothbrushes are generally flushed twice a day immediately after use
I can't speak for anyone else but reasonably diligent as I am, I don't do that with my mouthpiece

Actually, I submerge my dishes in super-hot soapy water and come back when it's cooled sufficiently :)

Agree and disagree: it's moisture but it's from a mouth and it will be loaded with bacteria. I agree that the regular use (after every session) of a serviceable (clean) pull through should suffice to keep the harmful stuff at bay. I've never heard anyone on the forum complain of being ill as a result of things living in their horns - I think you'd need to be super-unhygienic to even stand a chance of an infection, or be super-prone to infections.
My disjointed thoughts were not questioning keeping instruments clean but the suggestion that they need sterilization.
 

jbtsax

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I've tried one of those toilet brushes. Didn't like it. Went back to the paper.
Thanks a lot Colin. Now I'll spend the rest of the day trying to get that visualization out of my mind. :w00t:
 

Jeanette

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I know I shouldn't but..............

What do you call a cat that swallows a duck?

A duck filled fatty puss :)

Jx
 
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