What if musical instrument cleaning took less than half the time you used to? What if you didn’t need to use dangerous chemicals anymore to dissolve grime and gunk?
by Frank Pedeflous
Musical instruments are delicate items. They can also be subjected to pretty punishing wear and tear as they are used. This can be particularly true of band instruments used in schools or rental instruments used by kids to learn on. While music styles change, the cleaning of musical instruments has not changed much over the years — until now. Ultrasonic cleaning has changed the way that musical instruments get cleaned, providing a way to get them cleaner than the old chemical processes ever did. Here’s how it works.
How Does Ultrasonic Cleaning Work?
Ultrasonic cleaning uses a process called cavitation in order to get things clean. Your musical instruments are submerged in a bath solution of water and a detergent. The ultrasonic cleaner is then turned on and a piezoelectric device generates sound waves in the tank.
The vibrations in the solution cause millions of tiny air pockets that hold an incredible amount of energy. That energy is expended when the bubbles bump into the surface of the musical instrument. The release of that energy will break loosen any dirt, scaling and lime that might be on the musical instrument. It further breaks up the contaminants and pulls them away from the instrument, leaving it clean.
Ultrasonic Cleaners are Perfect for Musical Instruments
Musical instruments are sometimes made up of very small parts. They are also usually the dirtiest in places that are very hard to clean, namely the inside. Ultrasonic cleaners are perfect in this regard for several reasons.
First, because the instrument is fully submerged into the liquid, you get the same cleaning action on both the inside and outside of the instrument. Any deposits you would never be able to reach using a brush and chemicals are a piece of cake for an ultrasonic cleaner.
Second, the nature of cavitation makes it ideal for cleaning out small valves, air holes and orifices. The bubbles that are created by the cavitation of the ultrasonic cleaner are so small they can get into any crack, corner or crevice of the instrument. This means that small air holes that would never be able to be cleaned by hand come completely clean in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Finally, an ultrasonic cleaner means that you are not stuck using the same harsh chemicals to clean your instruments. Many times, musical instruments are made from materials that can be easily damaged by the chemicals that are needed to properly remove the dirt. This means coming to a compromise of cleaning the instrument enough to make sure that it still functions but leaving some of the dirt there so as not to damage it. This isn’t necessary with an ultrasonic cleaner. You can make the solution as gentile as it needs to be to suit the material of the instrument.
Take a look at the wide variety of ultrasonic cleaners that Omegasonics has to offer and contact us today about including one in your music program.
Saliva leaves behind corrosive acids and mineral deposits that build-up on valves and tone holes. Even slides, like on a trombone, can start to stick.
Manually cleaning musical instruments is usually tedious and time consuming. Significant disassembly is often required, and even then it’s hard to be sure you have cleaned every crack and crevice. In addition, harsh chemicals and scratchy brushes are not what you want to use on delicate brass.
The neutralization of acids and removal of saliva deposits is essential to prolonging the life of each instrument. An ultrasonic instrument cleaner requires only minor instrument disassembly and the cleaning can be completed within three to five minutes, compared to a half hour or more by hand.
Ultrasonic cleaning solutions, like Horn Clean 727, are typically light phosphoric cleaners or citric-based soaps, and won’t damage the instrument’s finish.
Another benefit of an ultrasonic instrument cleaner is that even the tiniest of spaces can be effectively reached and thoroughly cleaned.
For music stores and music repair shops, the advantages of an ultrasonic instrument cleaner include greater productivity and profitability. Since more brass and woodwind instruments can be cleaned in less time, more instruments can be serviced or repaired.
Yes, we may be “tooting our own horn”, but our ultrasonic consultants can show you how an ultrasonic instrument cleaner can benefit your business or organization. Just give us call at (888) 989-6278. You can also see our selection of ultrasonic instrument cleaners at http://www.omegasonics.com/industry-specialties/musical-instruments.shtml.
Also, we invite you to check out the ultrasonic cleaning success story of our friend, Mike Weems of CM Weems Band Instrument Repair in Rocklin, CA. (note: Mike passed away a few years ago).