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Thread: To clean or not to clean

  1. #1

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    Default To clean or not to clean

    Just curious about cleaning my cymbals. I bought a older kit and the cymbals that came with it are all sorts of gunked up. What are your thoughts on cleaning cymbals? What should I use if I do clean them?

  2. #2

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    Some drummers use coca cola and a sponge.

  3. #3

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    To clean or not is just down to personal choice. Some claim that they sound better with a coating of patina (crud) as the layer of gunk masks some of the high frequencies making them sound mellow. This may be good for some styles, but less desirable for metal, punks etc.

    Personally I say clean them - if you buy new cymbals and they sound too harsh, choose more wisely in future.

    Any type of metal cleaner is good but they all fade logos and wear away laquer coatings, the proprietary brand cymbal cleaners are really the same thing but a less aggressive solution. You can also use ketchup, daub it on - leave for 20 minutes? and wash off.

  4. #4

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    Yep, there is no right answer. I literally polished my cymbals with automotive wheel polish and a powered drill with attachment. Most would cringe at the thought, but, they look fabulous and sound much better in my personal opinion. Much brighter...which I like. Also, they were old B8's, and entry level B20's. Not much value to them at all and they not only looked terrible but sounded like hubcaps. If they were valuable, I probably would not have done it via the method I used.
    -Brian

    "Too many crappy used drum stuff to list"

    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  5. #5

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    I clean mine, but I haven't polished them yet. I use bug and tar remover and it works wonders.
    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    There is intelligent life out there. The problem is that there isn't any here.

    -Mike

  6. #6

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    The only time I clean mine is to get the bug poo off with vinegar and water.

  7. #7

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    Cut a lime or lemon in half and rub it on cymbal. Let dry. Wash off with mild soap and water then towel dry. Won't ruin logos.

    Last edited by Olimpass; 05-22-2015 at 07:16 PM.

  8. #8

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    The best answer of all: clean them using Bar Keeper's Friend, available anywhere home cleaning products are sold. Cheap, easy, fast, rewarding.

    GeeDeeEmm

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdmoore28 View Post
    The best answer of all: clean them using Bar Keeper's Friend, available anywhere home cleaning products are sold. Cheap, easy, fast, rewarding.

    GeeDeeEmm
    +1
    Just did thus with one of mine today and it is great. There's some spots that could stand a little more aggressive polish but it's on the underside so it doesn't bother me too much. Cymbal is nice and clean. It will eat logos.
    "Don't let your pride swell....you may have to swallow it one day!"- Unknown

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    I'm waaaay past having any major parts of my body exposed. Believe me, it wouldn't add anything to the show!
    Proud member of PHROGGE's Aquarian Army

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  10. #10

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    If you like the sound of them, why bother cleaning and messing with the sound.

    If you don't like the sound, cleaning them will make the cymbals generally brighter. I usually just use soap and water, but if there is serious gunk you will need something stronger, I recommend one of the branded cymbal cleaners from cymbal companies. You will know for sure those are safe to use. And they all have information on how to use them and what can't be used on them.
    Happy Drumming!

    IS15

  11. #11

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    I like my cymbals clean. I think that is how they sound their best. Mine look as new as the day I bought them. I use this to keep them clean:


  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by NPYYZ View Post
    I like my cymbals clean. I think that is how they sound their best. Mine look as new as the day I bought them. I use this to keep them clean:

    This stuff is STRONG. Sure it'll clean your cymbals well; but it'll strip EVERYTHING off if you used it too much. I have used this in the past and no longer use it as it is too strong.

    Warm, slightly soapy water with a sponge for me. Dry off and buff with polishing/microfibre cloth.

    Acoustic & Electronic:
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  13. #13

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    In my experience, cleaning/polishing cheap B8 cymbals seems to help eliminate some of the nasty overtones. I want to try progressively finer sandpaper and power buffing on a cheap cymbal sometime, just to see how it effects the sound.
    -Brian

    "Too many crappy used drum stuff to list"

    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  14. #14

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    I've read many recommendations for Bar Keepers Friend and I would like to try it but it isn't sold in the UK. I'm not really sure if it is a liquid general purpose kitchen style cleaner or powdered stuff that is intended to be mixed with water like old fashioned floor tile cleaner.

    I'm sure that there are similar products sold under a different brand name here in the UK and I would like to try them out (I use diluted Brasso at the moment, which works well but I hate the chemical stink and the black gunk). I would appreciate it if someone could post a few pics of the Ingredients/Chemical Content and the Instructions for use so I can compare these against cleaning products sold here.

    I'm aware that it will remove logos but that isn't an issue for me. Does it have adverse affects on lacquered cymbals?
    Last edited by crispycritters; 05-23-2015 at 09:10 AM. Reason: Typo

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by crispycritters View Post
    . Does it have adverse affects on lacquered cymbals?
    This is my main concern with any abrasive or chemical-stripping cymbals cleaners.

    I once ruined a cymbal finish in my immature days by using so-called cymbal cleaners; never again. The affected cymbal had to have a new protective coat applied.
    DIY Protective Coating - Carnauba wax.

    Acoustic & Electronic:
    Tama Superstar Hyper-Drive (Birch)
    Premier Artist Maple (with Birch Snare) - yellow/fusion.
    Ludwig Acrolite (1976)
    Pearl Sensitone Elite Aluminum
    Pearl COB Custom Deluxe [Gladstone] (75-76)
    Roland TD-1KV

    Paiste Signature:
    10" Splash
    14" Dark Crisp Hi-Hats
    14" Sound Edge Hi-Hats
    16", 17", 18", 20" Full Crash

    Paiste Formula 602:
    22" Formula 602 Modern Essentials Ride

    Paiste 2oo2:
    22" Ride

    Paiste Sound Formula:
    20" Full Ride (Frankenstein)

    Paiste Twenty:
    16" China


  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olimpass View Post
    Cut a lime or lemon in half and rub it on cymbal. Let dry. Wash off with mild soap and water then towel dry. Won't ruin logos.

    I forgot to mention that. I love using this method!
    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    There is intelligent life out there. The problem is that there isn't any here.

    -Mike

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by crispycritters View Post
    I've read many recommendations for Bar Keepers Friend and I would like to try it but it isn't sold in the UK. I'm not really sure if it is a liquid general purpose kitchen style cleaner or powdered stuff that is intended to be mixed with water like old fashioned floor tile cleaner.

    I'm sure that there are similar products sold under a different brand name here in the UK and I would like to try them out (I use diluted Brasso at the moment, which works well but I hate the chemical stink and the black gunk). I would appreciate it if someone could post a few pics of the Ingredients/Chemical Content and the Instructions for use so I can compare these against cleaning products sold here.

    I'm aware that it will remove logos but that isn't an issue for me. Does it have adverse affects on lacquered cymbals?
    The primary ingredient in Barkeeper's Friend is oxalic acid. This is the chemical that does all the work. It is a powder formulation, and has very fine abrasives as part of the mix. This is also the primary ingredient in a similar product called "Zud." I don't know if it's available in the U.K. either. The instructions are quite simple: wet the object to be cleaned with warm water, sprinkle on the BKF and work with a soft sponge or cotton cloth. Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cotton cloth. As to lacquered cymbals, yes, it will eventually remove the lacquer coating, as well as logos. As you are probably aware, many B20 cymbals, such as Zildjian As, leave the factory with a very thin mist coat of lacquer to preserve their appearance while displayed in the store. This protective coating will begin to disappear with the first use of BKF, and is sometimes mistaken as staining or a slight discoloration. This is nothing to be concerned about, as repeated use of BKF will eventually remove the coating entirely and leave the cymbal in its lovely bronze natural state.

    I would be happy to send you a free can of BKF if it were not for exorbitant shipping rates, the tough restrictions on mailing chemicals, and the U.K.'s onerous duties and importation laws. I just went through this with another English friend, and it's enough to keep me from trying it again.

    GeeDeeEmm

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdmoore28 View Post
    The primary ingredient in Barkeeper's Friend is oxalic acid. This is the chemical that does all the work. It is a powder formulation, and has very fine abrasives as part of the mix. This is also the primary ingredient in a similar product called "Zud." I don't know if it's available in the U.K. either. The instructions are quite simple: wet the object to be cleaned with warm water, sprinkle on the BKF and work with a soft sponge or cotton cloth. Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cotton cloth. As to lacquered cymbals, yes, it will eventually remove the lacquer coating, as well as logos. As you are probably aware, many B20 cymbals, such as Zildjian As, leave the factory with a very thin mist coat of lacquer to preserve their appearance while displayed in the store. This protective coating will begin to disappear with the first use of BKF, and is sometimes mistaken as staining or a slight discoloration. This is nothing to be concerned about, as repeated use of BKF will eventually remove the coating entirely and leave the cymbal in its lovely bronze natural state.

    I would be happy to send you a free can of BKF if it were not for exorbitant shipping rates, the tough restrictions on mailing chemicals, and the U.K.'s onerous duties and importation laws. I just went through this with another English friend, and it's enough to keep me from trying it again.

    GeeDeeEmm
    Thanks - I'll look for powdered cleaning products containing oxalic acid as I'm sure they will all be pretty much the same thing.

    I know exactly what you mean about importing stuff in the UK, many times I've seen drum sets, cymbals etc for sale in the US at half of the price asked here, but after checking out the associated costs it just isn't worth the wait, not to mention the customs hassle. I don't look anymore......

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by crispycritters View Post
    Thanks - I'll look for powdered cleaning products containing oxalic acid as I'm sure they will all be pretty much the same thing.

    I know exactly what you mean about importing stuff in the UK, many times I've seen drum sets, cymbals etc for sale in the US at half of the price asked here, but after checking out the associated costs it just isn't worth the wait, not to mention the customs hassle. I don't look anymore......
    So you can appreciate my life in the Bahamas. It's a tropical paradise and all, but importing something in winds making the item double the list price. Thus I'm super selective on what I buy abroad.

    all the best...

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdmoore28 View Post
    The best answer of all: clean them using Bar Keeper's Friend, available anywhere home cleaning products are sold. Cheap, easy, fast, rewarding.

    GeeDeeEmm
    Thats what I use.

  21. #21

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    BKF is amazing. This is 5 minutes worth of work. Took me longer to get the water, sponge and a towel than it did to actually clean the cymbal.

  22. #22

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    I really want to try the lemon trick! Me personally I LOVE having the logos. I don't want to strip them down. I don't know why but I just like knowing it's there lol It's like cleaning it off is trying to hide what the cymbal is from other people so they don't know lol
    14pc Yamaha Maple Custom Vintage (24pc in total) | 12pc PDP X7 | 9pc Ludwig Jr. | 9pc Pork Pie ZebraWood | 6pc Sonor |5pc PDP Concept Maple Classic | 5pc Ddrum Dominion | 5pc Orbitone |4pc Sonor Martini | 58 Snare drums and growing!

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpazApproved View Post
    I really want to try the lemon trick! Me personally I LOVE having the logos. I don't want to strip them down. I don't know why but I just like knowing it's there lol It's like cleaning it off is trying to hide what the cymbal is from other people so they don't know lol
    The audience is more likely too see the bottom logos

    all the best...

  24. #24

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    Maybe not kay but other drummers will or newbie drummers who are looking for that particular sound in a cymbal and see the logo which helps a lot at deciding what to get .

  25. #25

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    i like bright sounding cymbals and clean cymbals do sound brighter. if you like a dryer sound , keep them away from cleaning agents. in the past i used a product called never dull that worked pretty good, but then i talked to a cymbal smith who recomended keeping cymbals from ever getting dirty in the first place by using wheel cleaner and just spray some on and wipe off. so far its working for me and it doesnt remove logos .
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