Have you recently started playing the clarinet? This beautiful woodwind instrument is played by a wide variety of people, from students to professional jazz musicians! There are many different types of clarinets with the most common being the B-flat and Bass clarinets.

No matter the type of clarinet, it’s important to take care of the instrument properly. Here are a few tips on how to care for your clarinet. 


Regularly cleaning your clarinet can extend its life, while maintaining the sound. If you fail to keep your clarinet clean, it becomes susceptible to bacteria and mold growth. After disassembling, swab each piece of the instrument to remove any moisture built up while you were playing. Keeping your clarinet dry can also prevent possible damage to its interior. 

Make sure you clean and sanitize your mouthpiece too. This is the dirtiest piece of the clarinet, as it’s where the most bacteria will form. Try soaking your mouthpiece in a solution of half water and half vinegar, then follow up with a rinse and sanitize with the appropriate chemical. Please note that alcohol-based sanitization products should not be used on hard-rubber mouthpieces, as discoloration may occur.

It’s also important to clean the body and keys of the clarinet, where oil and dirt build up from your fingertips. Use a microfiber cloth, so you don’t scratch or damage the instrument. Be careful not to dislodge any of the springs, rods or pads! Another helpful tip is to wash your hands before playing your clarinet to remove potential bacteria, odor, dirt and oil. 

Reed Care

Your reed is a crucial piece of your clarinet – it helps produce the instrument’s distinct sound! Start by cleaning your mouth before playing. If you can, brush your teeth or use mouthwash. You should also try to avoid eating and drinking immediately prior to playing your clarinet, as any food remnants or sugary saliva may get blown into your instrument.

Keep all your reeds in a protective case to keep them flat and safe from moisture or chipping. A case can also make it easy to keep track of your reeds, so they don’t get lost! 

Reeds can last up to several weeks with proper care and even longer if you rotate between a few different ones. Be careful to avoid overusing a reed, which can cause the instrument’s tone to become less full and may produce a muffled sound. How often you replace your reed can vary based on how often you play. Talk with a professional to find out the best timeframe for you! 

Regular Maintenance

Sometimes, taking care of your clarinet from home is not enough. To prevent minor issues from becoming major problems, bring your clarinet to the experts. Schedule regular maintenance at DuBaldo Music Center to keep your instrument in the best possible condition. If you rent a clarinet from us, we include free maintenance and normal repairs!

Whether you’re looking for a new clarinet or more tips on how to care for your instrument, contact DuBaldo Music Center today. 


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