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. Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 6:42
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    Thats probably fungus caused by dirty hands. That is why no one touches my cymbals. Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 16:19
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    They are not fungus. It's patina.
    – user53472
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 12:01

4 Answers 4


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
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 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? Commented Jan 31, 2019 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
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 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. Commented Jan 31, 2019 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. ;) Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 15:16

I hate to break it to everyone but, this is not oxidation at all... Yes, copper-based oxidation is green and occurs for all the reasons stated but, it's also (9 times out of 10) highly localized and crystalline in its formation, even in the worst cases. As pictured here:


What is pictured in the OP is a cymbal that is covered with too much cymbal polish that has dried, like 'lizard spit'... The 'finger-swipe' marks give it away (I have seen this done by an amateur before...)


With very minimal research, I was able to confirm this... The picture in the OP is a screenshot from this YouTube video:

Video Title:

22'' Zildjian A with green goo (Part 1 - BEFORE)

Part of the video description:

My first experiment with artificial aging of a cymbal. Both cymbals sounded very similar before the mixture was applied. I wanted to try to reduce some of the wash. The junk dried up the sound substantially. The process took about 7 days. Ingredients are common items found in a kitchen. Lemon juice, flour and plastic bag. The cymbal was rubbed with lemon juice and flour and left in the bag for 7 days. Then it was taken out of the bag and left to dry for 2 days. The video was taken on the second day. The green goo dried the cymbal up to the point of choking it. I later removed the green goo by washing the cymbal in lukewarm water. Although the green goo went away, the cymbal retained some leopard print tarnish that darkened the sound without choking it as much as the green goo did. See Part 2 for the results of the removed goo.

Going on the assumption that @Maika_Sakuran0miya did not post the YouTube video (otherwise positing this question on the SE makes ZERO sense,) I think the OP is having a bit of fun at the community's expense with this one...

So... the correct answers to these specific questions (at least in this one instance) are:

What makes it green?

Too much polish that has dried on the cymbal.

Any way to clean this?

Yes, wash off the excess polish.


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. ;) Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 15:27

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