Wind Instrument Cleaning and Sanitizing – Frequently Asked Questions
The safety of our community, students, and employees is one of the greatest concerns we have today. Although we live with viruses such as the common cold or flu every day we understand that COVID-19 has impacted people in many ways, and is new to all of us. We want to make you aware of our efforts to help address concerns regarding instrument cleaning and sanitizing with this FAQ sheet.
Q - What has Ellis County Music Center done to address the concern of cleaning and sanitizing instruments?
A – Our company is a good standing member of several Professional Associations and is a direct Dealer with many upstanding Manufacturers. We have reached out to several of these associations and manufacturing partners to request feed-back and best practices that might help ensure that instruments are thoroughly sanitized without causing lasting damage. Additionally, key members of our Repair Team have done research internally to help aide this process. In this process, we have contacted The National Association of School Music Dealers (NASMD), The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), The National Association of Professional Instrument Repair Technicians (NAPBIRT), Eastman, Yamaha, Jupiter, Buffet, and Conn Selmer.
Q – How will Ellis County Music Center clean my instrument, and is it guaranteed to kill the virus?
A – Unfortunately, being outside of a hospital setting we cannot give you a 100% guarantee that the virus will be killed. Simply put, we will clean your instrument (or your child’s instrument) the same way we would for our own family. Because equipment to test the surface of an instrument for the virus is not widely available it is extremely difficult to guarantee a 100% sanitation rate. Much in the same way that you thoroughly wash your hands and clean items at home we are acting in good faith based off of recommendations of the EPA, and feed-back received from our Association and Manufacturer Partners, to clean your instrument to the best of our ability.
Q – Can you give me more detail about how you would clean and sanitize my instrument?
Interior & Exterior Cleaning - Brass wind instruments will be disassembled and will go through a multi stage process in which they will be degreased, brushed and /or scrubbed with all purpose cleaner, rinsed, and sanitized with Citric and/or Muriatic Acid. (Pricing will vary depending upon instrument. Please see store associate for more pricing information.)
Wood wind instrument exterior surfaces will be sprayed and wiped down with Sterisol (or similar product containing diisobutyl phenoxy ethoxy ethyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride). The interior will be swabbed with the same product. ($15.00)
Exterior Only Cleaning – Brass wind instruments will be wiped down with Sterisol (or similar product containing diisobutyl phenoxy ethoxy ethyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride). A play test will not be performed to ensure the safety of our technicians. We encourage customers to play test their instrument at time of pick-up. ($15.00)
An exterior only cleaning option will not be available for Wood wind instruments.
Q – Why can’t typical sanitation wipes be used?
A – According to the EPA several cleaners and disinfectants are capable of killing the COVID-19 Virus. However, cleaners using a high percentage of alcohol or bleach may cause permanent damage to wind instruments especially those made of wood and ABS material. Below is a link to the EPA’s website for more information regarding cleaners.
Q – What should I do if I have already used a cleaner with high percentage of bleach or alcohol on my instrument?
A – Wipe down the instrument with a soft cloth or rag that has been wet with water. Do not wet instrument pads as this may cause harm to the pads.
Q –Can I use Essential Oils or similar products on my instrument?
A – We do not recommend using Essential Oils or similar products on your instrument as it may damage the instrument finish.
Q – What can I do from home?
A - According to Webmd.com the COVID-19 virus can survive on non-porous surfaces such as glass, ceramics, and metal for up to 5 days. Based on that information, if you or a member of your household has been recently sick we recommend that you put the instrument in its case and not touch it for at least 7 days.
Additionally, cleaners such as Sterisol may be used to clean the exterior surface of the instrument and wiped down. Do not wet instrument pads as this may cause harm to the pads.
Q – Do Brass and Silver instruments have self sanitizing properties?
A – According to Sanosil Ltd International and Wikipedia.org Brass and Silver do have natural abilities to inhibit growth of microorganisms. This is referred to as the Oligodynamic Effect. However, this effect is diminished by the lacquer coating and plating on the outside surface of most wind instruments. Listed below are links to the Sanosil and Wikipedia websites referenced above.
Q – Will cleaning and sanitizing be covered under the Instrument Maintenance Program?
A – Our Instrument Maintenance Program will cover instrument cleanings if they are required in order to restore the instrument to playing condition. Instrument Maintenance Services are specific to the functionality of the instrument not sanitation.
Q – Will there be a discount to current Instrument Rental customers that would like to have their instrument sanitized?
A – Yes, we will offer a 20% discount to current Instrument Rental Customers for instrument cleanings specifically for sanitation.
Links to Additional Resources from the CDC and EPA: