What makes it green? Any way to clean this? It looks so much like old Chinese pottery.

enter image description here

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    „Brasses and Bronzes are probably the most well-known families of copper-base alloys. Brasses are mainly copper and zinc. Bronzes are mainly copper along with alloying elements such as tin, aluminum, silicon or beryllium.“ (a few more infos about copper you‘ll find here: copper.org/education/c-facts/facts-print.html. – Albrecht Hügli Jan 31 at 6:42
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    Thats probably fungus caused by dirty hands. That is why no one touches my cymbals. – André Ferraz Feb 19 at 16:19
  • They are not fungus. It's patina. – Maika Sakuranomiya Feb 20 at 12:01

For your first question. Your cymbal is oxidized, and the green color is called patina

Initially, bare Cu metal atoms react with air to form the pink oxide, cuprite, Cu2O, which has Cu+1 cations. This gradually oxidizes further to the black oxide, tenorite, CuO, with Cu+2 ions. The black sulfide CuS also sometimes forms. In the presence of moisture, the blackish layer slowly reacts with sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide from the air to eventually form the patina, which is a mixture of 3 minerals:

brochantite, a green, hydrated copper sulfate, Cu4SO4(OH)6

malachite, the green, hydrated copper carbonate Cu2CO3(OH)2

azurite, the blue, hydrated copper carbonate Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2

You could refer to Statue_of_Liberty_its_green or quora_Why is copper oxide green for more information about this green color of your cymbal.

To clean it, you could search using keyword clean oxidized copper and choose one that is appropriate to you.


This cymbal is an alloy of copper and tin. The green coulor is the a phenomene of the oxidation of copper. It can be cleaned and will disappear by a chemical reduction with hydrogenium.


the link of wiki says:

Cymbal alloys

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [wikipedia page]

Cymbals are made from four main alloys, all of them copper-based. These are: bell bronze, malleable bronze, brass, and nickel

How to polish:


Also look up Youtube tuorials:

I don‘t promote one product as it could interpreted as advertising.

But this point had to be added:

The question should be answered not with advises how to clean a cymbal. More helpful would be how to avoid this oxidation: The cause is the humidity. Keep your band room dry.

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    You missed "What makes it green?" Water & oxygen - ie allowing it to get damp. Poor storage. If it's done that to the cymbal, what's it doing to the drum shells? – Tetsujin Jan 31 at 6:50
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    I say "oxydation" : I suppose everybody knows that water is H2O and we are breething O2. Or should I go back to the big bang? – Albrecht Hügli Jan 31 at 8:43
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    well, yeah, but dry oxidisation of copper is black, not green. It just seems prudent to perhaps point out that keeping your cymbals in a damp place is not good for them. – Tetsujin Jan 31 at 8:59
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    I'm not sure what you mean by "hydrogenium". Hydrogen? If so, most people aren't going to konw how to react something with hydrogen. I guess you actually mean H+ ions, i.e., an acid. But, then, more precise instrucitons would be helpful. – David Richerby Jan 31 at 17:34
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    I was just supposing that if one says water is H2O he knows that O stands for Oxygen and H stands for Hydrogen, that's all. And the reduction process of copper oxide was one of the first experiments we had in chemistry when I was a little boy. But all the knowledge about this chemical stuff won't help a drummer to clean his cymbal. More helpful would be to go to the next instrument shop and ask for information. ;) – Albrecht Hügli Feb 1 at 15:16

Yes oxidation, and all the scientific stuff everyone was mentioning. I have seen sweat, spit, and assortments of alcoholic beverages turn cymbals into this color. Essentially moisture and air as I believe a few have said.

To clean it all you need is some Brasso (or comparable metal polish), a cloth, and some elbow grease. Take your time, work in sections and wax on, wax off till you get the shine you want.

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    That means: No beer, no whisky in the band room! So I've added in my text: The answer should not give advises how to clean a cymbal and contain so much scientific stuff. More helpful would be how to avoid this oxidation: The cause is the humidity. Keep your band room dry. ;) – Albrecht Hügli Feb 1 at 15:27

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