Safest way to clean cymbals

elliottnjames

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Ok, so here's the kind of discussion I don't keep up with as much as I should.

In your opinion, what's the best way to clean cymbals up? I play almost all Zildjian, mostly dark Ks, some As, etc. I haven't used a polish from them or another company in years, mainly because it takes all the lettering off, never seems to get clean the way I want, and I've heard it strips coatings that are meant to be on the cymbal.

I'm sure someone has a great home-remedy sort of method that shouldn't be harmful to the cymbal in any way.
 

ConvertedLudwigPlayer

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I have had some good luck with Groove Juice. I avoid the logo's just to be safe, but I think it may be "safe" for logos.
 

stickinthemud

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I have had good experience with Groove Juice. Won't affect most logos, is not abrasive, is not said to remove coatings, though I would not know. I spray it on, work it in with my fingers, then rinse in warm water and towel dry.

When I want to "deep clean" I use Barkeeper's Friend. I moisten the cymbal just enough to form a paste and rub by hand, following the grooves. I rinse with warm water and dish washing liquid to make sure I get it all off, then rinse with warm water, then towel dry.

CAVEAT - YOUR SKIN MAY BE MORE SENSITIVE THAN MINE. IF I HAD ANY SENSE I WOULD WEAR GLOVES WHILE CLEANING MY CYMBALS.
 

singleordoubleheads

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I've been using the same cleaner for about 25 years with excellent results and I am VERY protective of my cymbals (mostly Zildjian A's/K's,A Customs). I use a product called Wrights Brass Polish. I put it on a small car-wax pad that has been slightly dampened first with a bit of water. It goes on like milk--rub it all thru the grooves and the pad may turn black, depending how dirty the cymbal is.

Let it dry for a few minutes and wipe it off in a circular motion with a soft, cotton towel or cloth. My cymbals ALWAYS come out looking awesome and they even sound better inho. My local supermarket (of all places) carries it, but I'm sure Lowes or Home Depot does as well. It is 100% safe for cymbals, believe me. It makes my Brilliant finish cymbals look brand new, and my regular finish cymbals look pretty darn close as well, and is very easy to work with. Just my experience....
 

Nacci

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I just finished using Groove Juice on two vintage Avedis crashes. There were no stamps but it did a good job cleaning them and they were in very rough shape.
 

Rockin' Billy

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cymtrich said:
barkeeper`s friend has worked well for me. bill
Just used Barkeepers Friend for the 1st time on some 1960's Zildjians and am extremely pleased w/the results. I kinda' went around the stamps(hats had thin stamp and cymbals med.) and that looks sorta' odd but didn't want to lose them.
 

Cliff DeArment

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Some people like Bar Keepers. If you like that, you should know this...

It's OXALIC ACID! That's a very strong type of acid (always use good gloves). I've used that a lot with bicycles. If it sits too long it will turn bright yellow forever. It won't come off (I've tried). Bar Keepers was made to FILL IN small scratches on brass (and others) to make it shine. Look at an old club bar and see the yellowing over the years. It's not that real brass look anymore. A cymbal fills in those micro grooves the same way, and some will be there forever. Does it sound better? No, it just looks and sounds different... forever. (I mean... again... forever! Seen it... done it.)

I've used OA so many times, I know it too well. I have bottles of it in my garage. It works great on a bike, if used the right way. It's shiny. But, I would NEVER use that on a cymbal. It's just not a good idea. Sorry to say, but that's what it is. If you see a cymbal that looks a bit yellow rather than that bronze look, that's OA.

Bronze on the left cymbal. ..... OA on the right cymbal.
 

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RyanR

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I usually just put some elbow grease in with a dry towel.

Though after a pipe burst above the practice space two years ago, I had nothing to lose restoring my cymbals... they were a mess.

I think I used the baking soda and detergent method?.... or was it salt? Can't recall. Maybe search the forum. It worked pretty well!

-Ryan
 

Rockin' Billy

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Cliff DeArment said:
Some people like Bar Keepers. If you like that, you should know this...

It's OXALIC ACID! That's a very strong type of acid (always use good gloves). I've used that a lot with bicycles. If it sits too long it will turn bright yellow forever. It won't come off (I've tried). Bar Keepers was made to FILL IN small scratches on brass (and others) to make it shine. Look at an old club bar and see the yellowing over the years. It's not that real brass look anymore. A cymbal fills in those micro grooves the same way, and some will be there forever. Does it sound better? No, it just looks and sounds different... forever. (I mean... again... forever! Seen it... done it.)

I've used OA so many times, I know it too well. I have bottles of it in my garage. It works great on a bike, if used the right way. It's shiny. But, I would NEVER use that on a cymbal. It's just not a good idea. Sorry to say, but that's what it is. If you see a cymbal that looks a bit yellow rather than that bronze look, that's OA.

Bronze on the left cymbal. ..... OA on the right cymbal.
Well that's a bit scary! Looking at the post by zenstat about Zildjians reccomendations for cleaning cymbals, it reads as though it would be fine...as in suggested to use Ajax-Comet etc. Do those brands like the Oxalic acid you speak of making it 'safer'?
 

halldorl

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Normally I don´t clean my cymbals at all. When that happens, once in every 10-15 years or so I use warm water and maybe just a bit of dishwasher soap. That´s all. If you once start using cymbal cleaners, you have to be constantly cleaning the cymbals since they develop patina and oxidize a lot faster.

I did once clean a very filthy old Avedis with ketchup. Worked extremely well.
 

Cliff DeArment

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Rockin' Billy said:
Looking at the post by zenstat about Zildjians reccomendations for cleaning cymbals, it reads as though it would be fine...as in suggested to use Ajax-Comet etc. Do those brands like the Oxalic acid you speak of making it 'safer'?
Ajax is fine. It's Salt and Sodium, an ANTACID (baking soda). We eat that stuff all the time (yum!). Comet is Sodium, Calcium, and Ammonia (bleach). Ammonia isn't great to eat, obviously, but it won't hurt a cymbal. All of these are a BASE, not ACID.

Vinegar (or Ketchup) is a very very mild acid that will come off with soap. Again, we eat it. But, our oils can blend with vinegar and change the color of the cymbal. Just make sure to clean your hands and use gloves.


Groove Juice... from their website...
_____________________

CAUTIONS:

Groove Juice Cymbal Cleaner is ACIDIC so KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. Do not get in eyes, on skin, or inhale fumes. Always use in a well ventilated area. The use of rubber gloves is recommended. Maybe harmful if swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Give milk, chalk solution, or water and call physician. In case of eye contact, flush with large amount of water and call physician.
______________________


Strong ACID! Do you want to vomit? Do you want it in your eyes or skin? Do you want to hurt children? Do you want to make your house explode? Is that good for a cymbal??? No thank you! :pukeleft:
 

sonusseeker

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Halldór L said:
That´s all. If you once start using cymbal cleaners, you have to be constantly cleaning the cymbals since they develop patina and oxidize a lot faster.
...just wondering whether oxidized cymbals are such a bad thing sound-wise?...
 

bernard

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Just Don't Do ItTM

I really see no need to polish a cymbal, maybe just swipe it off with a dry cloth from time to time. My experience is that great cymbals just sound better with age and I think the oxidization (and some grit in the grooves) is a large part of that "magic".

But if you really want to clean them I endorse Halldór's suggestion: use some ketchup.
 

rikkrebs

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Barkeepers friend or groove juice work wonders. I've used them on hundreds and hundreds of cymbals and never had problems.
 

Cliff DeArment

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Any acid with ETCH bronze. Little bits of the cymbal will be lost every time you use it. Yes, it's pretty, but you've lost small parts of the grooves. A base won't lose anything from a cymbal.

There's a reason why Avedis told us only to use a base, not an acid. They learned that the hard way in the 30's.

If you get into chemistry, you'll understand more about it.


See how to etch acid with bronze, copper, or brass in 20 min...


Now, think how long it takes to lose bits of a cymbal with a strong acid! It happens in minutes, or even seconds.

Still want that Groove Juice? Still want to use that Bar Keepers? Not me. I'll use a normal base, thanks.
 
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singleordoubleheads

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I don't have any stake in the company, but Wrights Brass Polish is made for brass & will not harm or mark up a cymbal in any way, as long as you put it on a damp pad/rag first and rub it around the cymbal in a clockwise motion. It does a killer job I can assure you. I have one cymbal in particular, an 18" A Platinum Crash (brilliant finish) that I've had since 1992. Have probably cleaned it 30 or 40 times since then using Wright's, and it still looks brand new!
 

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