Topic: How to sterilize reeds?

Is there a way to sanitize/sterilize reeds that does not damage the reed? I've seen a few solutions you can buy- do they work?
Thanks

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

I've used a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water for many years, with no ill effects to the reeds or players.

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

I've found that Sterisol works fine.  You can usually find it at any music store, or you can order it online.  The only problem with it is that if you leave it in there too long, it will turn red.  When I was in junior high, I accidentally left a reed in Sterisol overnight, and the next day it was stained for life.  It continued to play well, however.  I've never had a problem getting sick from other's germs with sterisol, but I've never really tested that aspect...

Tanner Holst
University Bassoonist
Utah

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

My bassoon professor has "connections" with his dentist, in which he can get this prescription-only mouthwash which is strictly prescribed after a major oral surgery.
Luckily, I got the same prescription mouthwash after my wisdom tooth extraction in summer of 2007. Unfortunately, the oral surgeon was VERY anal when I requested a second bottle.

The mouthwash is called Peridex. (it's a blue transparent color)
If you can get more than one refill, I applaud you in advance.

Good Luck.

Last edited by anne_c_bassoon (2008-09-12 14:25:33)

Anne Christensen
CSUF Music Performance student, graduation date possibly Spring 2012
IDRS Student member since July 2007
Sigma Alpha Iota (International Music Fraternity For Women)- Kappa Psi chapter

Re: How to sterilize reeds?

A cheap and workable "solution" is one part bleach mixed with nine parts water.  It will kill just about anything and if you rinse the reed well it doesn't taste too bad.

Happy Bassooning!

Jon Beebe

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

This may be a little on the "old school" side, but I dip my reeds in a shot of vodka before I send them out.  No complaints/problems so far!  (This method may be inappropriate for our younger members, of course.)

Jonathan Marzluf
Owner, Marzluf Reeds
SoCal Freelancer/Educator
www.marzlufreeds.com

Re: How to sterilize reeds?

You can get some bland, non-flavored Listerine or generic version of Listerine and mix that with your water.  Won't taste quite as bad as the bleach!

I used bleach to kill off some mold on some gouged cane once.  Got some splashed on my shirt....  Word of warning to anyone cleaning cane with bleach - Wear a shirt you DON"T care about!

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon Specialist at Midwest Musical Imports

Re: How to sterilize reeds?

Mint-flavored Listerine or equivalent is perhaps a bit more palatable -- but all these antiseptics should be rinsed under running cool water for at least one minute to minimize any residual 'flavors. Makes teaching outside one's studio (as in high schools or students' homes) a bit unwieldy) -- anyone have any sugestions for the teacher on the go?

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

A mild solution of hydrogen peroxide will do the trick but like the bleach method rinse Rinse RINSE afterwards. In England we have a product as old as the hills called T.C.P which is antiseptic and used by mothers across the land to treat sore throats or maybe a mouth ulcer or a grazed knee, its a one product treats all type deal, a real standard household medicine cabinet stock item. Truth...it whiffs a bit and you do make the room smell like an ER but there are worse things to contend with, simply dip, give it a minute and and rinse, you'll have clean or at least hygenic reeds and any sore throats will be soothed at the same time...ok the last parts an advertising dream but you never know.  I have heard of ultrasonic baths/reed cleaners but know nothing about them maybe somone could shed some light on this option...

regards

Andrew

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

I own an ultrasonic cleaner that I bought specifically for my reeds from the eBay store "Crispin's Creations" and it really does work well.  It comes with a recipe for a cleaning solution that sterilizes and helps to loosen food particles from the cane fibres.

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

Thanks for the plug, Kevin! My eBay store is found at www.CrispinsCreations.com .

David Crispin
Crispin's Creations and Accessories
freelance oboist. Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
www.CrispinsCreations.com

Re: How to sterilize reeds?

I must second Mr. Marzluf here. I too soak up the reed in vodka, and I began doing that under the instruction of my previous teacher. It won't effect you in the quantity that you might ingest (and if you're worried about it with younger students, just dip in vodka and then dip in again in water to rinse it off), it's much cheaper than many of the things I've seen/tried, but a mild word of caution: if you have chapped or cracked lips in the winter, it should go without saying that this sterilization technique will burn a bit tongue A studio-mate of mine uses hydrogen peroxide when sharing reeds in lesson, and while I don't think that will provide a thorough "sterilization", she has yet to give any illness to her teacher, and he has yet to give anything to her in her past three years of study with him. Just a thought.

Last edited by hautboismusique (2008-10-09 09:08:43)

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

A ten second or so flush in hot tap water (water at about 115 degrees Fahrenheit) will get rid of  most of the bad stuff. Cork end up. Then rinse the outsides of the reed. Leave the case open so the reed can dry completely. Isopropyl alcohol (70%) will do as well  as vodka & is quite a bit cheaper. Dip, shake off excess & rinse.

Best,

john

Best,

john

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

Hydrogen Peroxide should work OK.  I actually use that to clean out my oboe reeds and make them last longer.  Just soak them in that for 30 seconds or so, and then in water...

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

Actually considering that Ultrasonic cleaning method, anyone else tried it?, The two IDRS articles on it are almost convincing, but i need more convincing before throwing my reeds in a somewhat scary machine.

" Mozart tells us what it's like to be human, Beethoven tells us what it's like to be Beethoven and Bach tells us what it's like to be the universe." - D. Adams.

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

I think the ultrasonic cleaner works great on the reeds, I was able to revive reeds that I thought were goners, but my ultrasonic cleaners keep breaking.  My first one lasted 7  months, and the second only lasted 7 weeks.  I am not sure they are durable enough for daily use.

"There are 2 means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats" - Albert Schweitzer

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Re: How to sterilize reeds?

Since I teach around 30 or more bassoon students at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp every summer, I like to try the students' reeds to see what they're dealing with. My dentist gives me a prescription for chlorhexidine gluconate 0.12% oral rinse. This is the blue rinse that one uses at the dentist office. Apparently it's excellent in killing ANY virus or germ. You mix it with a bit of water, and don't leave the reed in the solution for very long. (Not good to gargle a lot with this, as it will stain your teeth!) This way, there's no possibility of my or the students catching anything. Cheers, Jim

James Jeter, D.M.A., NYC Bassoonist
"To love human beings is still the only thing worth living for; without that love, you really do not live." Soren Kierkegaard
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi  "Mach' es kurz! Am Juengsten Tag ist's nur ein Furz!" Goethe

Re: How to sterilize reeds?

Yes, Crispin's Creations really does work well. I have bought it too.

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