CLEANING CYMBALS

crispycritters

Senior Member
To get rid of tape residue I've used a cloth and petrol - it shifted some really nasty stuff that looked like it had been on the cymbal for years in a few seconds and didn't harm the coating (I washed it immediately afterwards with dishwashing solution). It will also wipe off greasy fingerprints and the gloop that tends to form on the underside of the cymbals around the edge without effort.

Its no good as an overall cymbal cleaner, and won't remove tarnish but aces for old tape residue - although it doesn't seem to harm the protective coating, it WILL remove logos really fast, so its best just to slightly dampen the cloth and 'spot clean' any nasty areas, then use a regular cleaner.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
To get rid of tape residue I've used a cloth and petrol - it shifted some really nasty stuff that looked like it had been on the cymbal for years in a few seconds and didn't harm the coating (I washed it immediately afterwards with dishwashing solution). It will also wipe off greasy fingerprints and the gloop that tends to form on the underside of the cymbals around the edge without effort.
If you do not want to risk having petrol on your work bench, I can recommend Ronsonol (Zippo lighter fluid). I agree it's not something that you would regularly clean with, and is usually used to removed hardened duct-tape adhesive. It is also a bit more forgiving than gasoline if/when you F' up.
 

brya0125

Junior Member
Have you guys seen this video?

https://youtu.be/NGu8kIgJsHI

I'm calling bull on this guy. Chemically, this shouldn't work as fast as it did. What do you guys think?

Update: Yeah it's a spoof and don't bother watching it, sorry.
 
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GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Considering the one he put in the pool had no hammering on the top, and the K he pulled out did, i would say BS. The chlorine is about 1 part per million and the pH about 7.4 which is close to neutral I think not. I worked my way thru college managing pools so the numbers are not being pulled out of the air.
 
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Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
If you do not want to risk having petrol on your work bench, I can recommend Ronsonol (Zippo lighter fluid). I agree it's not something that you would regularly clean with, and is usually used to removed hardened duct-tape adhesive. It is also a bit more forgiving than gasoline if/when you F' up.
If the bottle of lighter fluid I have is anything to go by, it's the same stuff with a lower octane rating. Am I right there?

Either way, it definitely works to clean duct tape goo!
 

TommyTee

Junior Member
In the past I tried various paste's, polishes and creams and a lot of elbow grease to get results.

A friend of mine turned me on to Groove Juice to clean my cymbals and it works pretty well.

Spray it on, use a damp cloth to wipe it around and rinse off.
Use a microfiber cloth to dry and you get a nice shine.

It will remove stick marks, fingerprints and grime.
(logos too if you're not careful with it - use the damp cloth with solution on it and wipe around the logos)

It's real strong however so make sure you to use it outside or in a room that has ventilation.

No more green fingers and filthy towels covered with dirty polish to deal with.

I'm sorry if this is repeating any other members previous posting about this Groove Juice stuff but it's simple, quick and works well on my cymbals.
 

Drumz

Member
Anyone got experience with the large manufacturers cymbal cleaners & polish? I wish to know more about all of them; MEINL, Paiste, Zildjian and Sabian.
First of all, you should know that I am a self-confessed cymbal-holic. Over the years, I have amassed a collection of over 80 cymbals (and still growing) from various manufacturers and types. Some have come and gone in trade but the number stays hovering between 80-85 at present. And I do like to keep my collection clean. However, I am NOT a cleaning fanatic who cleans cymbals after every gig. I handle my cymbals carefully, using cotton gloves when I place them on stands and remove them, so they tend to stay clean longer. I tend to clean them once a year or so. More often if one gets really nasty. Less often if it still looks clean.

When it comes to cleaning methods, I use ONLY the product recommended by the manufacturer...with a few exceptions.

Zildjian - Zildjian Cymbal Polish
Sabian - Zildjian Cymbal Polish - I have found that Sabian and Zildjian are SO similar in makeup/formula that the one product works perfectly well on both.
Paiste - Paiste Cymbal Cleaner
Meinl - Meinl Cymbal Cleaner & Meinl Cymbal Polish
Istanbul - Again, I use Zildjian Cymbal Polish here. Works great.
Soultone - Soultone Solution Cymbal Cleaner. For more stubborn heavier staining/thorough cleaning I will use Zildjian Cymbal Polish applied to the specific area.

With all other cymbal brands - TRX, Amedia, Saluda, UFIP, etc I use a combination of Soultone Solution (for light cleaning) and Zildjian Cymbal Polish (for heavier cleaning).

Technique - I never ever EVER use heavy buffing or scrubbing. I put on nitrile (non-porous) rubber gloves and apply the cleaning agent gently, with my fingertips. I do not rub hard at all but just gently work it into and all around the cymbal. Then I use soft paper towels to remove the product, wiping gently until all of the black gunk and product is removed. Then I use Ivory Soap and gently wash the cymbal in my utility sink until all of the remaining residue is removed. Then I dry it with a soft towel, gently buffing areas where there are tiny marks or stains. This process leaves the cymbal looking brand spanking new. I have been using this technique for a LONG time now and have never lost a logo yet. Of course, logos start to fade over time through routine wear and tear. But I have never damaged a logo in cleaning except back before I started using this technique. Trashed a couple of logos trying out Groove Juice once-upon-a-time. Never again.

P.S. Never use ANY of the above cleaning products on plated cymbals (like ZXT Titaniums) as it WILL damage the finish and dis-color the cymbal.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I had a few older cymbals that were pretty grungy looking, and picked up a few more recently that also looked pretty dingy, so I did some research here and other places, and decided to try it. I figured on the newer ones I had just picked up, I wasn't out much, if anything, they weren't regular on my kit so I would experiment, and maybe learn something.

There are so many testimonials here, and other places, that info overload starts to set in. I decided to try a cut lemon, and Bar Keepers Friend.

The lemon did a good job brightening up older cymbals, but didn't really help with the heavy green stuff.

BKF did a great job on the heavier dirtied ones. I discovered right away that it would take the logo off, it you didn't pay attention to what you were doing. (That particular cymbal still has the logo on the underside, so it wasn't as big a deal. I like having the logo's myself...) I learned how to go lightly over the logos after that :)

I was curious about the perceived difference in sound that some had mentioned. None of my gear is particularly high end, nor are my ears trained to notice the differences, I suppose. (I know what I like to hear, that's all I have to work with.)

I only did the smaller cymbals in my collection. My 1980 New Beats, as well as some 14" and 16" lower end Zyldjian and Sabians.

I didn't notice anything that I could tell for a difference sound-wise in my gig last night. I prefer a brighter cymbal sound myself, so perhaps that is why. If there is a descenrnable difference to some, that is.

I really did enjoy seeing those cymbals bright and shiny. Dunno why, I just did. I sat there looking at those old New Beats on the hats all night, and they looked practically brand new.

Now I'm sold. Just a little apprehensive going after the old bigger Zildjians, 18" Crash/Ride and 20" Ride. Fortunately with the experience I got from the smaller cymbals, I think I'll be fine.

So my findings are to freshen up a cymbal, lemon works fine and has less chance of affecting logo's. Heavier dirt and staining, use the BKF and be careful around the logo's.
 

CymbalExpert

Junior Member
In my experience, I do not recommend any cleaners that are acidic and/or abrasive. Most non-brilliant cymbals have a lacquer coating to protect them from tarnishing and you risk damaging that lacquer. Usually, the best advise to follow is that of the particular cymbal manufacturer. Now, having said that, I have found a GREAT product that I have used on multiple brands and finishes with fantastic results, and that is Music Nomad's Cymbal Cleaner (google if interested). If you are looking to remove light to moderate fingerprints and stick marks, this stuff absolutely and safely does the job, with very little effort.

Remember, it's perfectly ok NOT to clean cymbals, especially vintage ones!
 

CymbalExpert

Junior Member
At the end of the day, so many different methods being used, I doubt we will ever all agree on one single solution. Makes interesting conversation, but you keep doing it your way and I'll keep doing it mine! Lol...
 

Defender

Silver Member
I just cleaned my 21 inch AAX Stage Ride with Cymbal Nomad. It took about an hour and a half, but I applied 3 coats to each side because they haven't been cleaned since I've owned them (and that's been nearly 3 years) and they were dirty when I bought them.
 

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Musashi

Member
Hi guys,
IMHO the best way to clean a cymbal is ash and water.
I got this recipe from a drum restoration expert.
Basically mix ash and water until you get a paste and then just rub the paste on the cymbal, leave it there for a 5/10 minutes and the remove the paste with a cloth and voila!
 

Camshaft

Member
Hi guys,
IMHO the best way to clean a cymbal is ash and water.
I got this recipe from a drum restoration expert.
Basically mix ash and water until you get a paste and then just rub the paste on the cymbal, leave it there for a 5/10 minutes and the remove the paste with a cloth and voila!
What does that do to the logos?
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
That barkeepers friend I use on my stove and kitchen sink. It is powerful as $3#$ and I would never touch a cymbal with it but to each their own. If I get that on the outer metal ring of my sink I can see it stripping the metal off.. It works AMAZING, but I'd be scared it would wreck or damage my expensive cymbal.


I second the Zildjian, Sabian, groovejuice stuff that is made for em. Soap and water, but at the end of the day I am just going to say I don't really clean my cymbals.

If I buy a used one I might. But I prefer the sound when they get a bit dirty and sound less harsh. The fingerprints suck but over time as they get some grime on them they disappear as well. Usually a wipe down before/after gigs with a towel is fine. I get that aesthetics are nice, but I'd rather spend the time playing my drums than cleaning them. I started getting more into the Byzance looking or Sabian Big and ugly cymbals. The best part is you can't tell they are dirty and it may even make them look better.
 

ZildjianLover

Senior Member
What technique would you recommend using on vintage cymbals to clean off dirt if I wish to maintain the 50 years of patina on the cymbal? I two 1960s Avedis Zildjian cymbals - a 22" 2350-gram crash-ride, and a 20" 2294-gram medium ride - that each have some extra dirt on top of a uniform coat of patina, and I wish to clean off the dirt without losing the drier tone they get from the thick later of patina. The 22" especially benefits from the patina on it, as it would be essentially useless as a ride without the patina giving it the small amount of stick definition that it currently possesses.
 

TIP64

Junior Member
I use cymbal cleaner, (Zildjian Cymbal Cleaning Polish) after its done I go over the cymbal with Olde English 800 furniture oil. Nothing with water in it. I have found it takes a lot of the residue from cleaning off and keeps them from tarnishing as quick. If I wipe them down after each gig which I rarely due the oil will clean them up quick.
 

stillnogood

Junior Member
I've used Cymbal Doctor cymbal cleaner on all mine, and ended up cleaning the cymbals for a couple of other guys too for a bit of cash.

I used the small DA polishing kit as there were a lot to do, but you can do it by hand if you only have a few. I found the Logo Saver really useful, as long as you cut it carefully into shape, as I do want to keep my logos on.

So a real mix of cymbal types and brands, some were filthy, it copes with them all. worth using the 3rd step, the Sealant, to maintain the finish.

I got the kit off their UK distributor morethanpolish, but you can pick up the bottles alone off eBAY.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Man, SO MANY ways to clean cymbals. The majority of vintage cymbals should be here tomorrow. And I do plan on polishing/cleaning them. Who knows what the heck have been on them for the last 30-50years!!

I picked up the Zildjian product. But I think I'll start with the lemon and vinegar.


HAS ANYONE USED MINERAL SPIRITS to remove adhesives?????? The reason I ask, I use it when regripping golf clubs. It weakens the adhesive nicely. I don't ever deal with rust or corrosion on the golf shafts, so I don't think it will damage the metal.
 
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