Harmonica Maintenance

I know harmonicas are relatively simple instruments but I was wondering if there is any kind of maintenance or cleaning that should be performed. If so is it done on an “as needed” basis when something starts sounding off, or are there prescribed timeframes (ex: every 6 months clean “x” etc…)? Have a great weekend everyone!


While others here in this forum have much more experience than I do, probably whenever you have problems with a reeds sticking or if you notice gunk building up around the comb, it’s a good idea to give the harp a bath and check the gaps in the reeds. This sounds scary but is actually not too difficult. @Luke recently created a post I got by e-mail where he talks about overcoming his fear of opening up harmonicas but I’m not sure where to find it here on the website.

While I have only a few rules for when, where and how to play the harmonica, one of my rules is not to play the harmonica after I eat or drink anything (except for water) without first rinsing out my mouth.

A clean mouth keeps gunk to a minimum and leads to a happy harp :blush:

Here is an excellent post that should answer many of your questions with much greater detail :point_down:


Hi @grussem

Use the forum’s Search function. I, as well as @stevenlois1 and others, here have already posted various posts answering all of your questions along with tips and tricks to get the job done well. :point_left:

– Slim :sunglasses:


I did and nothing came up, my apologies.

Thanks for the link! I tried using the search function in the forum but was unable to find anything.


I found this thread from @Luke a cupla months ago which talks a lot about maintenance and opening up the harp.

The other link :link: I sent in my other reply for from JP in March of 2018 is pretty comprehensive. Though I had read it before, I read it again in its entirety yesterday. It covers most of what is covered elsewhere in the forum with excellent tips and advice on maintenance and playing in a way to make the harp last longer.

This is a picture of the last time I opened up my harps for a comprehensive check and clean :point_down:

In this photo you can see the 4 draw (4th from left) on my 008k which I blew a while back :point_down:


Hey @grussem - @HarpinBobbyMcB’s advice is on point - make it a law to rinse out your mouth before you play.

Joe Filisko says it’s good to tap your harp against your palm and wipe it with a cloth every time you finish playing it.

@Slim cleans his regularly as detailed here.

I’m lazy. So when performance starts lagging I rinse underwater as detailed in the thread @HarpinBobbyMcB shared.

I think that pretty much covers it. Pretty low maintenance instruments.