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Thread: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

  1. #1
    Forum Contributor 2009 JoAnnPeeler's Avatar
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    Question Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    My band director from High School claimed that some people would soak their sax in the bath tub to clean it. He claimed that after letting it sit out to dry it was as good as new. I always humored him but internally I was horrified to think about putting a sax under water.

    Today, I was browsing Candy Dulfer's site and I came across this tidbit under her sax lessons in a section called Clean that sax:
    Ben Herman, my all time favorite alto sax player from the Netherlands, has been known to dip his whole sax in the water basin where they clean the beer glasses of bars and jazz clubs he plays in. He sounds so good, I might be trying that myself in the future.
    Okay, am I crazy or was my band directory just ahead of his time?

    (BTW, regardless I am still petrified of the thought!)
    JoAnn Peeler
    Soprano: Antigua 586LQ || Alto: Selmer Paris Serie III
    Tenor: Yanagisawa T901 || Bari: Leblanc 7190BA

  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Member Fader's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    That same technique works great with laptops too.....

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    Distinguished SOTW member/Official SOTW Sister bandmommy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Putting the sax in the bathtub ranks right up there with running your siver plated flute thrugh the dishwasher.
    Old reed players are like fine wine. They only get better with age. Tom Hagen

    Play the Music, not the instrument.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    I, personally, would never do it, but there was a senior at my school that did this. From what I could see, he didn't do any damage. If you properly dried out the sax it shouldn't hurt it, but I'm not going to try it.
    "It's always easier to leave than to be left" -Dave Matthews, on the death of LeRoi Moore
    RIP LeRoi

  5. #5

    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Quote Originally Posted by bandmommy View Post
    Putting the sax in the bathtub ranks right up there with running your siver plated flute thrugh the dishwasher.
    I remeber that story from this thread: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=66051 Wouldn't all that water lead to rust?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Did NABIRT pay Candy to say that? That's a good way to generate lots of repair business.
    D.R.
    Martin and Grassi tenor. HR Link Phil-Tone. Grassi jade alto.

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    AA3NK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Not me, Bud! No SIR! I have power washer, 5HP too--it cleans the moss of the deck and leaves my horn shiny clean and smelling good.

    If you don't have your own power washer and are firmly determined to give 'er a douche, don't forget the Calgon, "Take me away...." just like an intricate melody.

    Just something to soothe the soul
    I Still Be Diggin' on James Brown!

  8. #8
    Distinguished SOTW member/Official SOTW Sister bandmommy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yamahaaltoplayer View Post
    I remeber that story from this thread: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=66051 Wouldn't all that water lead to rust?
    Silver plate doesn't rust. The drying cycle at the end took care of most all of the excess moisture. The chlorine and abrasives in the dishwasher powder turned it a nasty dull grey. Not to mention ruining all the pads.
    Old reed players are like fine wine. They only get better with age. Tom Hagen

    Play the Music, not the instrument.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Quote Originally Posted by bandmommy View Post
    Silver plate doesn't rust. The drying cycle at the end took care of most all of the excess moisture. The chlorine and abrasives in the dishwasher powder turned it a nasty dull grey. Not to mention ruining all the pads.
    Oops. I meant rust to a saxophone. The inside is bare brass.

  10. #10
    Researcher, Teacher and Horn Revitalizer
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Quote Originally Posted by bandmommy View Post
    Silver plate doesn't rust. The drying cycle at the end took care of most all of the excess moisture. The chlorine and abrasives in the dishwasher powder turned it a nasty dull grey. Not to mention ruining all the pads.
    steel springs
    steel pivot screws
    the steel rods inside the flute keywork
    felt
    cork
    pads
    the cork in the headjoint .. it's a regular cork, not a spongbob squarepants cork

    all could partially fall off/out
    and the steel stuff could rust if not dried and oiled a bit. you want to put oin on the springs at the base where they go into the posts

    but .. not recommended .. flute, nor sax, nor plastic (especially not wood) clarinet

    i don't suppose that story also mentions how many times the horn was taken into the tech ??

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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    lol, when you play the inside of the sax gets wet enough, and that is not only pure water.

    When you think of rust, springs and srews are more porblematic. If they are not best quality they'll corrode.
    Also for the cork and felt it's a very bad idea because they are swelling.
    That's why playing in the rain is never very good for the instrument.
    The body is proteceted by the finish (the main sense of it) and the pads are impregnated
    But when you but the sax under water the felt of the pads is also swelling.

    So please, don't try this at home.

    But I heard of guys who when they do a complete resauration of the sax, and all bads corks and so on are removed, they but the Sax and mechanics in the dishwasher.


    Futhermore only classical musicians clean ther instruments.

    My gilrfriend once said: "A good sax must be a little bit dirty, such as good sex"

  12. #12

    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    My gilrfriend once said: "A good sax must be a little bit dirty, such as good sex"
    Would you stop saying that? You've posted that 3 times since I've joined already, lol.

  13. #13
    Forum Contributor 2009 JoAnnPeeler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevesklar View Post
    i don't suppose that story also mentions how many times the horn was taken into the tech ??
    Unfortunately, no. My HS band directory was a fabulous musician. He played in the Marine Corps Band and then was a studio musician in Nashville before settling down and becoming a teacher. He was was an incredible trumpet player, but in reality he played every instrument well. Drums, sax, trumpet, trombone, baritone, french horn, etc., etc. I always wished I had listened to him more and I was extremely saddened when I heard he passed. However, (bless your heart Mr. Rudisell) putting a saxophone in the bath tub was not one of your better suggestions! Do you think we should let Candy know?
    JoAnn Peeler
    Soprano: Antigua 586LQ || Alto: Selmer Paris Serie III
    Tenor: Yanagisawa T901 || Bari: Leblanc 7190BA

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    SOTW Contributor 2011 jbtsax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    It is a common practice to soak a brass instrument in a tub of lukewarm soapy water and then run brushes through the tubing and rinse to clean the inside. Perhaps that is what the band teacher said and it was misinterpreted to mean all instruments. No woodwind player in his/her right mind would ever advise putting an assembled woodwind instrument in water.




    John

  15. #15

    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    I always take mine to the dry cleaners. 1-hour martinizing,you know.......

  16. #16
    AA3NK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Quote Originally Posted by 58tenor View Post
    I always take mine to the dry cleaners. 1-hour martinizing,you know.......
    Martinizing? Do they still make guitars
    I Still Be Diggin' on James Brown!

  17. #17
    Forum Contributor 2009 JoAnnPeeler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Quote Originally Posted by bandmommy View Post
    Putting the sax in the bathtub ranks right up there with running your siver plated flute thrugh the dishwasher.
    Once I put a HR mouthpiece in the dishwasher and while it was certainly clean, it faded from black to dark gray. Because of that experience long ago, I now only clean my mouthpieces by running cool water through them and hand washing them.
    JoAnn Peeler
    Soprano: Antigua 586LQ || Alto: Selmer Paris Serie III
    Tenor: Yanagisawa T901 || Bari: Leblanc 7190BA

  18. #18
    Distinguished SOTW Member 1saxman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    You can put your horn under water to clean it, but you have to take all the keys off first. This is standard procedure for my horns on a yearly basis. Room-temperature or cooler water and only very mild soap. You need a long-handled brush for the bore and various things for the bottom bow and top bow of a bari. Any corrosion or acid bleeds should be treated at this time so the acid can be promptly rinsed off. Don't get acid on the shell key touches or rollers where applicable. As soon as it's rinsed, you start blowing it dry with a hair dryer on low heat or 'cool'. After it's dry, I will spray it down completely with WD-40 to get any trapped water out of nooks and crannies and protect the springs. The excess WD-40 is just wiped off later before assembly. The keywork is just cleaned by hand with a damp washcloth. All parts can now be hand-polished with just about anything you can think of, such as metal polish, car wax, etc. This polishes the bare brass as well as the lacquer. The bare brass will still tarnish, but it develops a better patina after being polished. There is no fear of removing brass or engraving when hand-polishing this way - you could do it hundreds of times. The pads should be treated at this time, any bad corks/felts repaired, etc. Put it back together using plenty of oil/grease, and don't forget to individually polish and oil each spring, making sure some oil is placed where the spring is mounted in the post.
    BUT - dipping an assembled horn in water is idiotic. Theoretically you could do it IF you did all those things I listed to dry and de-water it, then clamped the keys down for a day or two, but it's a ridiculous and unnecessary way to 'clean' a sax.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    Put away a dollar or so a day and once a year take a break, drop your sax off at the local repair shop and support your local businesses.
    treble:JustJeff1953

    "No Honey, I am not killing the cat ..."

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Should You Give Your Sax a Bath?

    No thank you!
    It's only cool until Kenny G does it.

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