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I have a plastic soprano recorder about ten years old. Over the years its accumulated some dirt or something in the windway. it has a straight windway. What is the best way to clean it out? Could any damage be done to it during the cleaning process that I should be aware of? It also has some stuff in the bore. Would I clean that out the same way?

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3 Answers 3

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I approach cleaning my recorders the same way a flutist cleans their instrument because both have a stopped head joint. My recorders all came with a cleaning rod. I use a small piece of fabric, usually silk, and run this through the instrument after each time I play.

You should be careful when cleaning the windway because any nicks to the ramp (the angled section that creates the sound) can lessen the strength of the instrument's tone. Using a soft cloth, or as others have mentioned soapy water for a plastic instrument, does the trick nicely.

Because the windway itself does not effect the quality of tone production, I do not suspect it should be cleaned as often as the rest of the instrument. However, when needed, running a small piece of silk through it should do the job.

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Are there certain soaps to avoid? Do you recommend certain ones? –  American Luke Jan 17 '12 at 21:38
    
@Luke, your question makes me laugh as I think of my answer. I always clean my clarinet mouthpieces with Efferdent (the dentures cleaner). –  Reina Abolofia Jan 18 '12 at 3:02

I would try a pipe-cleaner, or perhaps a cheap brass mouthpiece brush. Some mouthpiece brushes have a plastic cap on the wire though; those won't work. A pipe cleaner would probably be your best bet.

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Do you recommend a detergent? The gunk might be a mold (the recorder sat around unused for the first seven years). I've read that you also need to remove the block in a wooden recorder to clean the windway. Is this the same for a plastic recorder? –  American Luke Jan 15 '12 at 1:42
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Dishwashing soap (hand) should be fine. Anything you'd use on your tupperware. I don't know if most plastic recorders can be pulled apart enough for what you describe. I would use the pipe cleaner wherever it can go, soak it in warm soapy water, pipe cleaner again, repeat if necessary. –  Josh Fields Jan 15 '12 at 2:56
    
I agree with what is said here. However, be careful when using a pipe cleaner because the metal can scratch the instrument and damage it. Brass can handle brushes, but plastic especially is prone to scratching. –  Reina Abolofia Jan 17 '12 at 7:00

Some plastic recorders have separate blocks but most of those are glued in so removing them is not really possible. Warm/hot dishwater in the sink will do the trick. Later, a piece of card stock cut appropriately can be used to dislodge particles of food or lint that get caught in windway afterwards, or just wash it again. A clean pipe cleaner will work also, but it can leave more lint than it removes after multiple uses.

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How do I dry it after I wash it? –  American Luke Jan 16 '12 at 3:01
    
@Luke, air and time. :-) –  Monica Cellio Jan 16 '12 at 15:38
    
Should I use a soap or detergent with the dishwater? If so, are there certain ones to avoid? –  American Luke Jan 16 '12 at 19:11

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