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Author Topic: Sterilizing Mouth Piece  (Read 6733 times)
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BariTrom
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« on: May 27, 2010, 02:00PM »

So the school mouth pieces are all really disgusting, I bet its been years since anyone has really cleaned or sterilized them(well I've cleaned a few)--no one else really knows how to clean a brass instrument. So I was thinking I'd gather all the school mouth pieces and clean and sterilize them. I know how to clean them but I'm not sure what the best way to sterilize them is. Can I boil all them in a pot of water? Should I soak them in alcohol? Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2010, 02:04PM »

Lots of ways, depending on what's available.

1.  You can get a big bucket of mouthwash and just dump them in for a day or two soak.

2.  You can drop them all (except for any plastic ones) in a big pot of boiling water and boil them for a half hour.

3.  If you have access to an autoclave, you can put it through a sterilization cycle.  Ask in the Biology department.

4.  You could load your dishwasher with the mouthpieces (maybe put them on the spikes used for dishes) and run a full Sani cycle.  Again, no plastic mouthpieces.

Good luck.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2010, 02:18PM »

How about some of the commercial product like Roch - Thomas? Sani Mist I think is there's but there are others out there too.
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2010, 02:35PM »

depending on the liquor laws in your state, you may not be of legal age to possess alcoholic beverages even to use alcoholic beverages as a sterilizing agent


what,    a different type of alcohol is used to sterilize stuff - a poisonous type????

oh  Embarrassed!

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Allen
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2010, 03:17PM »

--no one else really knows how to clean a brass instrument.

I have a page that I give my Middle School brass players that has good detail about how to clean brass instruments.  It's an article from the Atlanta Brass Society Journal written (in the early 90s) by Rich Ita, a great brass tech in our area.  See http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marietta-GA/Rich-Itas-Brass-Instrument-Workshop/107316542635857 for more about his work. 

PM me if you'd like a copy.

Then again-maybe they only PRETEND not to know. Like guys screwing up the laundry. Evil
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2010, 03:33PM »

I am very surprised that the school does not realise the dangers of not having a proper cleaning/sterilisation process in place. Eeek! Maybe you should talk to the school nurse and see if you can get her on side. Even if not the instruments, there should certainly be a sterilisation process in place for the mouthpieces.

When I was just a kid, way back in the days just after WWII, I remember them sterilising mouthpieces for the school recorders, which were the only instruments we had in those days. I remember it being done by the monitors under the supervision of a senior teacher. Or course, in those days there was an extreme danger of Tuberculosis. But some of today's mouthpiece transferable diseases are not so nice either. :-0 I think it is something the musical instrument industry should turn its attention to - cleaning kits for schools. I am horrified by the stories I hear on this forum from school attendees.

Personally, I clean my mouthpiece and trombone after every playing session, which is basically every day. Procedure for the mouthpiece is detergent and a proper cleaning brush, run boiling water through it, and then fill it up with Listerine. I also clean the inside of the plastic mouthpiece pouch with Listerine before packing the mouthpiece in my trombone case. It might be overkill but what is the point of getting flu injections if you don't also watch basic hygiene.
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 03:38PM »

2.  You can drop them all (except for any plastic ones) in a big pot of boiling water and boil them for a half hour.

A stainless stock pot or roasting pan, with a rack, works great.  If you have a basket, that's even better.  Probably best to avoid aluminum.

To save yourself trouble in future, as soon as they cool, get them bagged up with anti-tarnish squares (well, unless you're in some kind of really posh district that shells out for gold).  Bach sterling, in particular, can get really bad over time...which you probably know already.

Quote
4.  You could load your dishwasher with the mouthpieces (maybe put them on the spikes used for dishes) and run a full Sani cycle.  Again, no plastic mouthpieces.

And no detergent.  (The stuff they sell for dishwashers is frequently abrasive as all get-out.)
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john sandhagen
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2010, 04:09PM »

You guys are working way too hard...hot water, dish soap, a mouthpiece brush for the back bore.

The sanitizers work fine.  They are designed for a band director grabbing a kids flute and not having time to give it a thorough cleaning before putting it to his face.

Think about this...if soap wasn't enough...we'd all be dead from using the same plates/forks/glasses over and over.
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2010, 06:57PM »

You guys are working way too hard...hot water, dish soap, a mouthpiece brush for the back bore.

The sanitizers work fine.  They are designed for a band director grabbing a kids flute and not having time to give it a thorough cleaning before putting it to his face.

Think about this...if soap wasn't enough...we'd all be dead from using the same plates/forks/glasses over and over.

Seconded.
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buglerbrass
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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2010, 09:07AM »

Third.

Boil them.  The autoclave is an awesome suggestion, but boiling'll help with the grime.  Boil it, scrubb it easily by that point with soap, then rinse it out.

If you wanna make them look nice, get some MAAS or simichrome, give them a quick go over and rinse them off afterwards.  Cheap old mouthpieces can look quite good when polished.
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« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2010, 09:12AM »

Does boiling cause damage to the brass?  I've always been told that when you clean your horn to not 'bathe' it in too hot of water because the lacquer peels off and can cause damage to the underlying brass because the hot water weakens the metal.  Would that mean that doing so to the mouthpiece would cause the same problems?  For me, having the lacquer come off my mouthpiece would be a disaster.  Plus I use a Doug Elliot piece with the raw brass shank, is submerging raw brass part with boiling water okay as well?
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john sandhagen
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2010, 09:24AM »

#1 boiling water does not damage brass or plated brass.  It does burn you fingers unnecessarily.

#2 boiling water is completely unnecessary. 

Why are we making this harder than it is? Yeah, RIGHT.
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2010, 04:19PM »

Does boiling cause damage to the brass?  I've always been told that when you clean your horn to not 'bathe' it in too hot of water because the lacquer peels off and can cause damage to the underlying brass because the hot water weakens the metal.  Would that mean that doing so to the mouthpiece would cause the same problems?  For me, having the lacquer come off my mouthpiece would be a disaster.  Plus I use a Doug Elliot piece with the raw brass shank, is submerging raw brass part with boiling water okay as well?

If you wash your trombone in hot/boiling water most lacquers come off, that is why you don't wash your horn in hot water.

With mouthpieces, just use soap and hot water.  Good!
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2010, 07:56PM »

...not 'bathe' it in too hot of water because the lacquer peels off...

Yes, but more for older horns.  Most normal hot tap water temps should be OK for most horns from this era.  If you can stick your hand in it, a newer horn should be fine in it.  Vintage?  Play it safe and keep it at slightly warmer than "luke".  The soap and brushes will do their job either way.

...because the hot water weakens the metal.

No Grin

...having the lacquer come off my mouthpiece would be a disaster.

Granted, I've never seen your mouthpiece, but there shouldn't be any lacquer on your mouthpiece unless you put it there.

...is submerging raw brass part with boiling water okay as well?

See above.
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Matt K

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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2010, 09:36PM »

Ack, I meant plating not lacquer.

Also, misconception thoroughly rebuked, thanks guys!
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JohnL
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2010, 11:05PM »

Like John Sandhagen said - hot water, soap, and a mouthpiece brush. Maybe some silver polish if you want 'em shiny (I wash 'em to get rid of the icky stuff, polish 'em, then wash 'em again to get the polish residue off). If you want to impress people with how thorough you are, dunk 'em in alcohol afterward. Hey, if you really want to sell it, store them in a tray filled with alcohol.
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« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2010, 06:46AM »

Hey, if you really want to sell it, store them in a tray filled with alcohol.

How about a big jar of blue stuff they keep combs in at the barber shop?  :D
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« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2010, 09:06AM »

Many years ago (~10) I thought I'd use Clorox as a good sterilizer, the result of course was a nice sterile but black mp.  Took several minutes with silver polish to get it off....
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« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2010, 07:50PM »

How about a big jar of blue stuff they keep combs in at the barber shop?  :D
Barbicide? Undoubtedly effective, but I think I'll pass...

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« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2010, 11:55AM »

well, there'a always Sterisol
nothing like .99% of Diisobutylphenoxyethoxyethyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride monohydrate
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