If you’re a drummer, you may know the importance of keeping your equipment clean and up to shape to sound its best. Cymbals are made up of copper, silver, and tin and, like all of your other instruments, should be free of dust. This not only improves the look of your tools but can also make the sonority of them better.
It’s a great idea to consistently clean your cymbals. Cleaning them every time you use them is a great idea, and it can improve its life and keep harsher stains from staining the color of the cymbals. It may sound contradictory, but cleaning your cymbals too much can also affect the output of the cymbals.
How Often Do I Clean Cymbals?
Generally, you should clean your cymbals every day with a soft microfiber cloth. Don’t apply too much pressure. Instead, just give it a gentle wipe. Performing a thorough cleaning once or twice a year is recommended. Choosing a cleaner for your cymbal depends on the type of cymbals you have.
If your cymbal has a traditional finish, we recommend not cleaning them for at least 10-12 months due to having a protective layer. If your cymbals have a shiny finish, then they are more delicate, meaning you should wait for at least a year before you start cleaning them.
When looking to buy a cleaner, consider the smell, texture, color, and price. Keep reading to find a cleaner that is the best for your cymbal.
Things to Note When Choosing a Cleaner
There are several things to look out for so you can choose the best cleaner when buying a suitable cleaner for your cymbals.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly cleaner, look out for one that doesn’t have any silicone or acid. Read the ingredients on the bottle before you buy the product so you can make an informed purchase.
A spray may be able to cover a more extensive area at once. However, if you want to clean a specific spot, then paste products may be the ones you should opt for.
Our Picks for the Best Cymbal Cleaners
1. Groove Juice Percussion Cleaning
One of the more affordable cleaners in the market, this product was made for professional drummers who want to clear their cymbals from smudges and remove any dirt.
Just spray the cleaner on the cymbal and spread it on the plate with a cloth. Wait for around 30 seconds, and then just clean the plate with warm water. Make sure there is no moisture on the cymbal afterward.
- This product is logo-friendly, meaning it won’t cause any damage to the logos.
- The liquid comes in a 240ml spray bottle which makes it convenient to spray on the cymbal.
- It is a wipe-off polish, meaning you don’t have to rub it on the cymbal plates.
- It can be used on both professional and budget-friendly cymbals.
2. ChromaCast Cymbal Cleaner
This is another cheap option that also comes with a cloth. The company also makes string cleaner as well.
- One of the cheaper options.
- Some users have had no luck using this cleaner – it didn’t work for them!
3. Sabian Safe and Sound Cymbal Cleaner
This spray is excellent for polishing, cleaning, and protecting cymbals which increases their life. As the name suggests, this product was created specifically for cymbals, and it’s a totally organic product and doesn’t contain any acid.
Apply the spray once or twice on the surface you want to clean. Wash it away after several minutes of applying it. Also, make sure not to use it on logos as it can wipe them out.
- Comes in a big bottle which can be used at least 6 times.
- Doesn’t have any acid and is an organic cleaning solution.
- Explicitly developed for cymbals.
4. Music Nomad MN111
This premium cleaner leaves your cymbals with oxidation preventing layers saving your cymbals from dust for months. It is also great for restoring the shine of the cymbals, and it is free from acids. It also contributes positively to the sound of your cymbals.
- It’s made with a potent formula that works on any type of stain.
- Doesn’t have any dangerous chemicals that can cause harm to the user.
- It has appropriately mixed components that produce a pleasant fragrance.
5. Zildjian Brilliant Finish Cymbal Polish
This cymbal polish comes from a well-respected cymbal manufacturer. This polish is great for cleaning most cymbals other than the ones coated with a layer. Unlike a lot of different cleaners, this one comes in the form of a paste.
Apply the paste and then wipe it off entirely after a few minutes with a clean cloth to bring back the original shine of the cymbal.
- It is excellent for removing molds and stains on the plates of the cymbal.
- It is specifically created for cymbals with a brilliant finish and helps bring back the shine on dulled-out cymbals.
- It’s great for both cleaning and polishing cymbals.
6. Lizard Spit MP03 Cymbal Polish
If you have cymbals full of dirt and grime, then this option is the one you should go for. It’s a reasonably strong cleaner, so we suggest only using it on uncoated cymbals. Using it on brilliant cymbals may run the risk of damaging them,
Apply MP03 on a clean cloth and to the cymbal with it. Allow a few minutes for the cymbal to dry. Remove the polisher from the cymbal with another clean towel.
- It’s a powerful cleaner and works as polish as well.
- Best suited for older and dirtier cymbals.
7. Dunlop 6400 System 65 Cymbal & Drum Care Kit
Being one of the most prominent guitar and drum accessories manufacturers, it makes sense that their system 65 cleaners are among the most popular drum and cymbal care products.
It comes with a set of three products: a cymbal cleaner, drum shell polish and cleaner, and cymbal intensive care. If you’re looking for value for your money, then this is the product to go for.
- Comes in a 3-in-1 package providing a comprehensive care solution for your drum set.
- Has a solid and efficient formula.
- Includes a drum shell polisher with a microfiber cloth.
8. Paiste Cymbal Cleaner
This cleaner is a mild paste for general usage. Regardless of the finish and material of your cymbal, this product is excellent for you if you’re unsure which product to go for.
Apply some of the paste on a cloth and distribute it by using a circular motion. Try to avoid the logos and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Use a clean cloth to wipe clean the surface of the cymbal.
- It has a mild formula suited for all kinds of cymbals.
- Comes in a large bottle, meaning it will last long.
9. Buckaroo Cymbal Cleaner Percussion Cleaning (B-200)
This is a little lesser-known cleaner than the others, but this doesn’t mean it’s any less good. It works like most polish pastes. You rub them on your cymbals, avoiding the logos, and then wipe them off with a clean cloth.
- It will also give shine to your cymbals and remove dirt from them too.
- Works as both cleaner and polish.
10. Mothers 05101 Mag & Aluminum Polish
This cleaner has a very balanced formula that helps bring shine to your cymbals. It’s a very strong polish, but it can still be used on several metals regardless of the type. It comes in the form of a paste, and we recommend using just a bit of elbow grease with it.
After applying the paste, scrub it slowly on the cymbal with a cloth. Then wipe off the excess paste and see the shine on your cymbals, and marvel at it.
- It has a long-lasting effect if it’s used regularly.
- Works great in removing scratches from the plates.
- It’s versatile and can be used on several metals.
That’s it for the best cymbal cleaners I’ve found. I should note that while you should clean your cymbals regularly, I usually only do so if I have a show or am recording video. Don’t feel like you need to clean your cymbals every time you sit down to practice.
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Josh is the founder and main author of Songwriter Nation. He has played music for over twenty years and even studied music at university earning a minor in music.