Cleaning Whistles

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bagpiper12
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Cleaning Whistles

Post by bagpiper12 »

Hi Everyone
Walgreens and I am sure many places that sell medical supplies, seel little square patches.
I find that using them in conjunction with a whistle brush is a sure way to keep the bore clean.
Wayne
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Re: Cleaning Whistles

Post by Moof »

In the 1970s, I made dinner for a group of friends and burned the bottom of the big pan of chilli I'd made. I'd run out of washing up liquid/dish soap (17-year-olds are rubbish at shopping as well as cooking), so I had to add laundry detergent instead to the water I soaked it in.

The pan looked like new by the following morning. I've been a big fan of laundry detergent ever since, as a sort of benign napalm that will shift nearly any type of grot.

I always mop my whistles, but every now and again they also get a soak in hot water with a dash of laundry liquid. I use one of those interdental brushes to give the entrances to the windways a scrub. A good rinse after, and they're done.

I've probably horrified everyone nearly enough now, so I'll stop there! :lol:
bagpiper12
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Tell us something.: I have been playing this magnificent instrument for over thirty years.
Winning Gold and Silver medals at Highland Games throughout our region.
My professional bagpipe services are available for:
* Surprise birthday parties
* Graduations
* Weddings
* Pub Crawls
* Funerals
* Golf Tournaments
Any occasion you wish!
Remember: If the sound of a bagpipe touches your heart- your ethnic heritage matters not.
Wayne Francis

Re: Cleaning Whistles

Post by bagpiper12 »

Hey thanks for that information, I appreciate your feedback.
Wayne
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Re: Cleaning Whistles

Post by Schaudwen »

Does anyone have good suggestions for removing the body oils that collect on the fingerings holes to keep them from tarnishing? I have copper bodied cobre optima and a silver plated lir c that I got used on the exchange that are definitely getting a patina around the fingering holes
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Re: Cleaning Whistles

Post by Moof »

Schaudwen wrote: Thu Aug 10, 2023 9:25 am Does anyone have good suggestions for removing the body oils that collect on the fingerings holes to keep them from tarnishing? I have copper bodied cobre optima and a silver plated lir c that I got used on the exchange that are definitely getting a patina around the fingering holes
I quite like this effect, but if I didn't, I'd probably try baby wipes first. I think they're unlikely to have the effect of cleaning a patina off the whistle body (if you wanted to do that, ordinary metal polish would be the best bet), but the wipes may remove skin oil. They're quite gentle, obviously, but they're also good at removing dirt.

If they don't work very well I'd try a bit of hair shampoo on a damp tissue next, since that's specifically designed to remove skin oils.

If still no joy, maybe isopropyl alcohol? It's harsher than either baby wipes or shampoo, but I use it on my MacBook Pro body and screen, and it does a great job of removing grubby finger marks.
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Re: Cleaning Whistles

Post by Terry McGee »

Hmmmm, from dirty sound to dirty whistles! Plain old methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) is really good at removing finger grime. Just dampen a rag with it and wipe it should do, but if it's gotten fairly grimy, leave the dampened rag in place for a bit to soak in, wipe it, then rinse and repeat as needed. Alcohol is a pretty mild solvent (unlike say petrol, kerosene, turpentine, acetone, etc) and shouldn't damage any surfaces. If worried, try on an inconspicuous place first.

On wooden instruments, good to wipe it off, let it dry, and then re-oil the surface. Except in the windways - oil on the windway surfaces will cause the moisture to bead, and you'll be forever having to blow it out. They just have to take their chance.

Back in my radio engineering days, we used it to clean the working surfaces of the radio consoles at least once a week. I wondered if some of those presenters ever washed their hands between shows!

Alcohol also seems to be the go-to solvent for breath condensate - the stuff that gathers on tuning slides and in windways.
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Re: Cleaning Whistles

Post by Schaudwen »

Thanks! I appreciate the info! Probably should add a spray bottle with a mix of cleaner in it for playing and cleaning on the go!
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Re: Cleaning Whistles

Post by Katharine »

I have interdental brushes to use on mine. Also dental floss, since a whistle mouthpiece is too long for the brush to get from one end of the windway to the other-- the kind that's kind of fluffy. (I just realized-- does this mean that when my dentist asks, I can say I DO floss??)

For tarnish around the holes-- this may be sacrilege, but a bit of clear nail polish on the areas of concern, to prevent the problem before it even starts? (Or, hey, colored or glitter, if you want to be fun.)
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Re: Cleaning Whistles

Post by digitalrowing »

Hi Wayne,

Thanks for the tip! I'll give the whistle brush and square patches combo a try for keeping my whistle bore clean.
Learn about the essential role of Isopropyl Alcohol in maintaining a clean and safe environment.
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Re: Cleaning Whistles

Post by digitalrowing »

Moof wrote: Thu Aug 10, 2023 5:00 pm
Schaudwen wrote: Thu Aug 10, 2023 9:25 am Does anyone have good suggestions for removing the body oils that collect on the fingerings holes to keep them from tarnishing? I have copper bodied cobre optima and a silver plated lir c that I got used on the exchange that are definitely getting a patina around the fingering holes
I quite like this effect, but if I didn't, I'd probably try baby wipes first. I think they're unlikely to have the effect of cleaning a patina off the whistle body (if you wanted to do that, ordinary metal polish would be the best bet), but the wipes may remove skin oil. They're quite gentle, obviously, but they're also good at removing dirt.

If they don't work very well I'd try a bit of hair shampoo on a damp tissue next, since that's specifically designed to remove skin oils.

If still no joy, maybe isopropyl alcohol? It's harsher than either baby wipes or shampoo, but I use it on my MacBook Pro body and screen, and it does a great job of removing grubby finger marks.
For removing body oils around the fingering holes, you might want to start with gentle options like baby wipes or a damp tissue with a bit of hair shampoo. If those don't work, isopropyl alcohol can be effective, though it's a bit harsher. Just be cautious, and test on a small area first.
Last edited by digitalrowing on Wed Nov 22, 2023 4:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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