Instrument Hygiene: What to Know Before Sharing Musical Instruments

The art of music can unite people, often by sharing musical instruments. Nonetheless, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to prioritize instrument hygiene has become increasingly paramount. Instrument hygiene entails cleansing and disinfecting musical instruments to prevent the spread of harmful germs and bacteria.  

This is particularly relevant in the context of musical instrument renting in Australia. With a growing number of individuals turning to renting instruments rather than purchasing them, instrument hygiene practices must be implemented to ensure the safety of all users.  

This blog will discuss what you should know about instrument hygiene if you share musical instruments.  

Viruses Can Survive on Instruments  

The wooden reed is a perfect host for viruses. Researchers have discovered that woodwind instruments can support bacterial growth in the mouth for several days. Yet, there is no indication that these viruses or bacteria may cause person-to-person infection.  

Viruses Typically Spread Via Hand Contact  

Several common viruses are transferred most efficiently through the hands. We cough or sneeze into our hands; unless we wash them promptly, we risk transmitting the virus to all surfaces we contact. Someone else may take up the virus on their hands and then contact their lips or eyes, putting them at risk of infection.  

Shared Instrument Hygiene: Essential for Health Safety 

Although you may practice proper instrument cleanliness, it is crucial that your buddy follows the same regulations when sharing their musical instrument. The warm and wet atmosphere generated by breathing into a woodwind instrument can be a perfect breeding ground for germs and fungus. However, it is crucial to recognize that substantial health issues would only develop through the frequent usage of a shared instrument.  

How Can Instrument Hygiene Save Your Life?  

It's essential to clean and disinfect instruments regularly to maintain instrument hygiene. Cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes, and it's necessary to understand the difference when it comes to instrument hygiene. Cleaning involves removing dirt, dust, and other debris from the instrument's surface, while disinfecting kills germs and bacteria.  

How to Clean and Disinfect Instruments?  

The process of cleaning and disinfecting instruments may vary depending on the type of instrument. These are some core guidelines that must be followed. 

1. Wind Instruments  

Frequent cleaning is necessary to prevent the accumulation of saliva and other pollutants inside the wind instrument. To clean a wind instrument, follow these instructions:  

  • Remove all detachable pieces from the instrument, including the mouthpiece, ligature, reed, and keys.  
  • Clean the mouthpiece thoroughly with a mouthpiece brush and warm, soapy water. Clean and dry the mouthpiece with warm water.  
  • Clean the instrument's interior using a cleaning swab, starting at the mouthpiece and working your way down to the bell. Use a separate swab for each part of the instrument.  
  • Clean the exterior of the instrument with a soft cloth or a polishing cloth. Use no solid chemicals or abrasive items that may harm the instrument's polish.  
  • When reassembling the instrument, allow it to air dry entirely.  

2. String Instruments  

To maintain the optimal performance of string instruments, it is crucial to remove rosin build-up from the strings and fingerboard regularly. Regarding guitar rentals in Australia, keeping the instrument in good condition is essential to ensure customer satisfaction.  

Below are the necessary steps to effectively clean a string instrument:  

  • After each usage, clean the instrument with a gentle cloth. This will remove any extra rosin, sweat, or grime.  
  • To clean the strings, use a microfiber cloth or specialist string cleaner. To avoid injuring the strings, be cautious when cleaning them.  
  • To clean the fingerboard, use a soft cloth or specialist fingerboard cleaner. Water should be avoided since it might destroy the wood.  
  • To polish the instrument, use a polishing cloth and a good quality polish. Avoid getting any polish on the strings since this might impair their sound.  

3. Percussion Instruments  

Percussion instruments require regular cleaning to remove dirt, sweat, and other contaminants that can accumulate on the surface of the instrument. For those who opt for percussion rentals in Australia, it is highly crucial to maintain the cleanliness before you hand over them to other people.  

Here are the steps to clean a percussion instrument:  

  • Clean the drumheads with moderate detergent and warm water. Water on the bearing edges might cause the drumhead to deform.  
  • Use a quality cymbal cleaner or a mixture of warm water and mild detergent to clean the cymbals. Scrubbing too vigorously might impair the sound of the cymbals.  
  • Polish the hardware using a professional metal polish or a solution of warm water and mild detergent.  

Some Additional Tips for Instrument Hygiene  

  • Sanitize your hands before and after playing an instrument, especially if it is shared with others.  
  • Avoid sharing mouthpieces, reeds, or other accessories that come into direct contact with the mouth or nose.  
  • Keep equipment in a clean, dry environment to avoid the growth of germs and fungus.  
  • Consider using a protective cover or case to keep the instrument clean and prevent damage.  

Bottom Line

Instrument hygiene is essential for musicians who share their instruments with others. Note that proper instrument hygiene protects your health and helps maintain the instrument's quality. You may help prevent the transmission of germs and bacteria by adopting correct cleaning procedures and measures, such as applying a disinfectant and washing your hands.