How To Clean Your Saxophone

How To Clean Your Saxophone

In a previous post, I was picking on trombone players and telling them to maintain and clean their instruments. Well, saxophone players, it is your time in the barrel!

WikiHow Saxophone Cleaning

Over on wikiHow they have a step by step article on how to clean a saxophone. Steps to follow would be:

  • Clean the interior of the body. This is usually done with a saxophone swab. Get one that fits your type of sax (ie., Alto, Tenor, etc.) The come in different types of material. I prefer Silk as it seems to be more absorbent.
  • Clean the sax neck. Use your swab again for this.
  • Use a pad saver. There are two different schools of thought on this; one is push it through the body and then remove it, the other is put it in and leave it in.
  • Inspect and clean the pads. I use a dollar bill for this. It is thin, tough, and is made of linen
  • Clean the mouthpiece. I have used a swab for this.

These are the steps I go through after I am through playing. A concert is usually one to two hours. A rehearsal is from one to three hours. That is a lot of spit! And this is the least I can do for my horn. Horns are very expensive and I want mine to last as long as possible in as good of playing condition as possible.

My Favorite Saxophone Care Products

I love all the stuff they make!

I make no bones about it; I am a big fan of HW Products. For woodwinds they have their Pad-Saver line. HW Pad-Saver de-moisturizers are made from a proprietary micro-fiber that wicks moisture on contact and dries in half the time of cotton or silk. It can be stored inside or outside the instrument. I have been using them for years and the consistency and quality of their products is amazing. They may not be the cheapest one out there, but for my money, they are the best.

I came up with a video that shows how to use HW Pad-Savers to take care of your saxophone. This video is presented by Angela Koregelos, HW Products founder’s daughter and former President of H.W. Products Inc. She has experienced the music industry from two sides – as a professional musician and president of the company. (The flute music on the front of this video is her)

Where To Buy

Over on my web store, Starving Students Music Supplies, I have wide range of equipment care products for both woodwind and brass instruments. I tend to offer two types; items that I can offer at a great price, and ones I have tried and truly believe in, like HW Products. I have a large selection of the Pad-Saver and Brass-Saver items.

For Pad-Savers, I have something special. I have put together a set of items for a complete saxophone care kit. I have one for alto sax and one for tenor. It includes:

  • Psd Saver
  • Bell Brush
  • Gooseneck Brush
  • Mouthpiece De-Moisturizer (2 pack)

Something Special for Bari Sax Players

Since I am a bari sax man, let me tell you how I take care of my horn.

Hodge baritone saxophone swab
My bari sax using a Hodge bari sax swab

After playing, I turn to my Hodge bari sax swab. It is a foam covered flexible snake, 24 inches long and the diameter of the bore of the circular section of the saxophone, with a silk covering which quickly absorbs the water that has accumulated. This swab is pushed into the top of the saxophone and around the loop and then pulled back out removing the moisture. The neck is cleaned similarly. This process will get a major amount of moisture out of the tubing of your bar.

Now I don’t stop here. This to me is a two step process

HW Pad Save for bari sax bow
My bari sax with HWP bari bow Pad Saver

After I clean out the bow with the Hodge product, I use the HW Pad Saver that I store in the bari sax bow. The HW Pad-Saver® will not shed, shrink, or bleed, and it can be stored inside or outside the instrument. The HW Pad-Saver(r) de-moisturizers are made from a proprietary micro-fiber that wicks moisture on contact and dries in half the time of cotton or silk. I know I have said it before, but I am a very big fan of all the HW Products.

Your Horn Is Your Investment; Keep It Clean

It is no secret that any saxophone is a major investment. And I love my repair guy, but trips to see him are not cheap. These products and processes that I mention will go a long way in protecting your investment.

Let me know how you take care of your sax; your tips and tricks. Let’s start a conversation. I would love to hear from you

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