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Author Topic: How to get rid of the mildew odor?  (Read 797 times)
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JerryT
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« on: Jun 16, 2017, 01:06PM »

I recently unearthed my old Holton after it had been in storage since about 1961.  The case was a goner and had a terrible mildew odor.  The horn looks okay, but it has a strong mildew odor.  The first piece of advice I received was to wrap it newspaper for a while - didnít work.  I recently read that I should wash it with a mild dish detergent and warm water.  Could this be a remedy, or are there other methods to ridding the stink?  Thanks.
Ciao,
Jerry
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BGuttman
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« Reply #1 on: Jun 16, 2017, 01:34PM »

The mildew was mostly from the case.  The metal doesn't mildew itsef.  A good bath should fix things up.  Use WARM (not hot) water (body temperature is ideal) with some dish soap or maybe a disinfectant like Lysol.  Wash all surfaces, inside and out.  If you have a snake brush, use it to scrub inside of the slide tubes, gooseneck, tuning slide crook, and even the bell stem.  Be prepared to put fresh lubricant on the handslide and tuning slide.

There are several videos on the Web on how to bathe a trombone, although I can't find one to point to here.

After a good wash and dry your horn should be mildew smell free.  Just don't put it back in that case.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #2 on: Jun 16, 2017, 01:45PM »

The best way to get rid of the mildew in the case is to leave it out in the sun on a bright, sunny day.
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Gabe Langfur
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JerryT
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« Reply #3 on: Jun 16, 2017, 02:08PM »

Thank you.  So, a bath it is, and the case is long gone ...
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Gabe Langfur

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« Reply #4 on: Jun 16, 2017, 02:38PM »

I almost edited my post to say the other way, of course, is to toss it in a dumpster.
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Gabe Langfur
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BGuttman
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« Reply #5 on: Jun 16, 2017, 02:41PM »

We had one guy who had access to an ozone generator and used an ozone treatment to clear mildew from a case.  I think he had someone with an auto body shop and put the open case inside a car while it got an ozone treatment to remove odor.

I've had some success on mild mildew cases by putting a dryer sheet (the fabric softener sheets you put in a clothes dryer) inside the case.  You need to replace it periodically.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #6 on: Jun 16, 2017, 04:39PM »

I'm regularly on eBay searching for an inexpensive replacement for the case along with all the other essentials, not necessarily on eBay, stand, practice mute, oil, cleaning brushes etc.  We used to use Ponds as a treatment for the slide, but I read on this forum that the new improved product is not good for the slide.  What other accouterments are considered requisite to nurturing and keeping my soon to be re-born horn.  Thanks again for your responses.
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #7 on: Jun 16, 2017, 04:49PM »

I successfully got rid of mildew by putting a case in the hot attic for an entire summer.

I've tried less drastic measures with no success at all.  Soaking with several bottles of 91% alcohol, many days in the sun... No difference, mildew still obvious.  I dumped it.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 16, 2017, 04:56PM »

There is a gig bag that sells for around $20.00 on Ebay.  It is OK if you never move the horn and leave it where nothing can touch it, but it is unsatisfactory for transportation or travel.  Spend around $100 for a decent case or bag (something with some protection for the instrument).

You can use new Pond's as a slide lube, but it doesn't work as well as the old stuff.  There are more than a few good slide lubes out there and a few threads on here abut them (I'm not going to repeat all that here).  Suffice it to say that Trombotine and Yamaha Slide Lube are the current "fads" (and they work).  I have some generic cold cream that works like old Pond's and I "refresh" it with something called UltraPure.

One stand to avoid is the K&M stand that stores inside the bell.  It's not sturdy.  There are excellent stands and again we have lots of threads on here describing them.  Makers are K&M, Hercules, Hamilton, and Aida.  There is also a new Wessex one.  I have a Hamilton that is 30 years old and a K&M.  I also have a K&M in-bell stand that is broken and irreparable.

There are several threads on practice mutes.  Warning: you don't want to practice ONLY with the practice mute; you will develop some really bad habits and most of them have problems with intonation.  Find some time to practice unmuted.

In fact, if you browse the Accessories board you will probably find threads on anything you can think of for your tromboning.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 02, 2017, 05:59PM »

Mildew prevention -

I recently purchased a vintage Conn 88H for my son for his birthday. It played great but the inside had that foul mildewy disgusting odor. 

A warm bath with a small amount mild dish detergent and a long trombone snake brush was all it took to get out what smelled like 60 years of stink.  (Need to spend some time scrubbing with the snake brush.  Lots of ick will come out).   Spent about 90 minutes disassembling, snaking out each part, drying, and reassembling with proper grease / oil.  (Slide, F-trigger, tuning).  Got the instructions off of the web.  There are a lot of recommendations on how to clean - which are mostly similar.

If you are a scientist, you know that metal doesn't help mildew grow, and mildew doesn't bond too well to metal.  Mildew needs an organic material to grow - so (assuming there is no wood inside your trombone) if you are able to clean out all of the old spit (definitely organic), the mildew will not come back very quickly.

THERE IS A REASON SO MANY INSTRUCTION RECOMMEND MONTHLY CLEANING OF THE TROMBONES.  If you play the horn, the spit will eventually allow the mildew to come back.  YUCK!!!

If you think this through, it is the explanation as to why soap and water work really well at cleaning mildew out of a trombone, but why water and soap are ineffective at cleaning mildew off of wood.  (The wood is a constant food source for the mildew so it is hard to disentangle the mildew from the wood....and even if you could, unless you got out every spore out, the mildew multiplies quite quickly if a biocide is not used).

Let's all be glad we have trombones instead of French Horns.

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« Reply #10 on: Aug 02, 2017, 08:19PM »

On a King coffin type case I re-lined I took all the lining out and it still smelled bad - the smell was coming from the plywood.  Tried deodorisers, vanilla, charcoal , sunlight.  It still smelled.

Used some Resene Timberlock preserver/conditioner paint (sold for treating old, weathered timber weatherboards prior to painting) on the exposed plywood which worked a treat. The Timberlock  itself has its own odor which takes a few days / weeks to dissipate but after that, there is no trace of the original smell.
Here's a link to the label...
http://www.resene.com.au/products/labels/TimberLock.pdf

I'm not sure what the equivalent product would be in other parts of the world, but here's the ingredient list...
CONTAINS: Xylene 110-125 gms/L, Toluene 40 gms/L, dibutyl phthalate 15-20 gms/L, 3-iodo-2-propynyl butyl carbamate <5 gms/L, 2-(thiocyanomethylthio) benzothiazole <2gms/L, methylene  bisthiocyanate <2gms/L, (2-benzothiazoylthio) butanedoic acid <2gms/L.

After this I'm convinced that the only good treatment for a smelly case is to rip out the existing lining and treat the plywood. 

Good luck
Dave


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BGuttman
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 02, 2017, 08:27PM »

That's some NASTY stuff.  I don't think it would even be legal to sell here in the US.  Toluene and Xylene are carcinogens.  Dibutyl Phthalate is a listed water pollutant.  The propynl butyl carbamate is a fungicide.  Not sure what the other two things are.

If you can find something like it and want to use it make SURE to use with good ventilation; preferably outdoors.  Wear protective gloves (note: thin rubber will probably not withstand the stuff; fabric is totally unacceptable).  Also let it dry outside.  The smell that Dave mentions is probably the Xylene and Toluene evaporating.

I would bet it would work, though.
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Bruce Guttman
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