Clarinet/Saxophone Care

Daily Care

After you are finished playing pull a cleaning swab through the interior of each part of the instrument to remove moisture. Carefully wipe down the outside of the instrument and the keys to remove finger prints, dirt and oils from the exterior surface.

Joints and corks should be lubricated (sparingly) with cork grease to allow sections to fit together easily.

After playing, remove the reed from the mouthpiece and place in a reed case which will help them to dry. Mold can grow on the reeds if they are not removed and allowed to dry. It is recommended that several reeds be kept available so they can be allowed to dry fully between uses.

Monthly/Yearly Care

Polish keys with a treated polishing cloth and clean the tone holes with a cleaning brush. Avoid using liquid, powder, or paste polishes as they can get into mechanisms and pads and ultimately cause damage.

Clean the mouthpiece with warm (not hot) water with mouthpiece brush and soap.

Every few months, all mechanisms on the instrument should be oiled with key oil and needle. Before oiling, remove as mush dirt as possible using dust brushes from under the key mechanisms. Do not over-oil the keys as excess oil can be absorbed into the pads and cork.

WOODEN CLARINETS ONLY: Oil (with bore oil) the inside of the instrument twice a year to prevent cracking. Make sure you use a swab that is only dedicated for this purpose.

At least once a year, we recommend bringing your instrument to a technician for adjustments to keep your instrument in prime condition.

Do Not:

  • Run water through the clarinet / saxophone or submerse it in water)
  • Clean the mouthpiece with hot water.
  • Over tighten the ligature screws as this can cause them to break.
  • Leave the neck strap attached to the instrument when in the case.
  • Attempt to adjust the instrument screws as they can wear and break with constant tightening and loosening.
  • Put extra things in the case with the instrument this can cause damage to the keys.
  • Consume sugary food/drink before playing. These are harmful to your pads and food particles can accumulate inside the instrument, causing sticky pads and promoting bacteria growth. It is always a good idea to rinse your mouth thoroughly before playing.












 Did You Know? The modern notational staff was based off of Gregorian chant notation.