Harmonica cleaning questions

Hello guys, i’m new to the harmonica and i was wondering, how long should i wait until cleaning the instrument?
I have one or two Harmonica cleaning vids (i forget names now), so i have an idea of some of the things i will need to clean it, but id love to know what works for you guys.

I own a tremolo 21 hole, should i be aware of anything when opening it?

First thing is…if its got windsavers…DO NOT run water through it, or you might as well run it over.

Other than that, I polish the plates once in a while, and if its a plastic comb diatonic, you can run some water through it.

Some people can’t clean 'em enough, and others never clean 'em…

Just really comes down to preference!

But thats my opinion!

Peace Out!


Thank you very much pal, i will look into the windsavers as soon as i can, do many harps use these?

Do you use anything when polishing or do you just use the cloth? I’ve been cleaning the outer area of mine with the cloth and using a small comb teeth to clear out any gunk that builds up on the outside and around the outer edges of the holes (i carefully watch for those reeds ;)).

I am pretty sure all tremolo harmonicas use wind savers, as do Octave and Chromatic harmonicas. Those are the little paper 'stickers’s on the inside and outside of the reeds. Try to not touch them if possible; they are pretty sensitive!

I just lick or wet down the cover plates and use a hankie and rub it til it shines!

And yeah, I use a little pen knife and clean out a bit of gunk around the holes, but being careful is the key!


I once had the bright idea of giving my Lee Oskars a soaking in Polident. Ya know, if it’s good enough for Grandma’s teeth. But, all my harps went about 2/3’s of a note sharp. These days I use isopropyl alchohol overnight set on a surface that will introduce a little vibration, then set them on a towel to dry. Just the plastic and and alloy combs though. That soaking wood harmonicas is a myth started by harmonica salesmen

When a harmonica is properly cleaned you will notice a rise in pitch (Sharpness) due to the dried saliva “mung” no longer adding its weight, and hence flattening the reed.

I thought I detected more than could be attributed to just a little scum removal, but now you’ve got me wondering. Have you ever heard of anyone else using Polident? To any degree of success?