Author Topic: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?  (Read 1096 times)

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Offline Gene Oh

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Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« on: December 12, 2022, 03:09:12 PM »
I am wondering if I am the only one who is using toothpaste as a cleaning agent for washing valveless Chromatic harmonicas as well as tremolo harmonicas. I do not disassemble them for cleaning and simply put a bit of toothpaste in lukewarm water and put my valveless (as well as tremolo) harps together under this toothpaste water for a couple of hours, cautiously rub any dirts out with a toothbrush and then rinse them under running tap water. Is this okay?

Gene from NZ
« Last Edit: December 12, 2022, 03:14:53 PM by Gene Oh »

Offline John Broecker

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2022, 04:36:46 PM »
Hello, Gene Oh.

I'm not a harmonica maintenance expert,
but I think that your procedure looks OK.
Let's hope that the harmonica techs will
reply to your question.

When I first started playing harmonica,
I was told to use toothpaste on a wet
toothbrush, after building a foam on the
brush.

In this procedure, don't use too much
toothpaste, just a little, enough to make
a foam on the brush.

Brush the reeds lightly, away from the rivets,
to avoid catching the reed on the brush, and
possibly bending the reed out of pitch or broken.

Toothpaste is a mild abrasive, so you won't need
a lot. Rinse the reed plates under cool running
tap water after the cleaning. Allow the reed plates
to air dry.

Today, I use an ultrasound cleaner for the harps.
No dis-assembly required, but don't use the
ultrasound on any harmonica with valves, or
on wood combs.

You may use the ultrasound cleaner on synthetic
material harp parts, such as plastic, metals.

For new harp players, the toothpaste method is
easier to use and less expensive than the ultrasound
method.

Your method of soaking the parts in toothpaste/water
may not clean the parts completely. Using a toothbrush
might get a better cleaning, but that's only an opinion.

Best Regards, Happy Holidays

JB
Bob Uecker, Catcher, Announcer, USA Baseball: "The best way to catch a knuckleball is to wait for it to stop rolling on the ground, then pick it up."

Offline Gene Oh

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2022, 06:13:29 PM »
Hi John,
Many thanks for your kind and informative reply. I admire you for your knowledge in almost all areas of harmonica, let alone the knowledge in music itself.

Gene

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2022, 06:15:45 PM »
I do not disassemble them for cleaning
Don’t know about valveless, but I usually recommend that people disassemble the Harmonica before cleaning it.
Little particles can get into the slot. You don’t want that.

Offline Scotty

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2022, 06:26:55 PM »
Gene: I don't always fully dissasemble my chromatics but I do use a soft-bristled toothbrush on my chromatics, especially the
cx-12's (inside the shells - once the comb has been popped out) and even in and around the mouthpiece holes - but always under warm running water and with a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid. If they don't carry it in your country, it's the one used to remove oil from birds and other mammals brought to be rehabbed after being caught in oil-spills. It doesn't hurt their eyes and degreases even the young birds' feathers extremely well. It seems to be used for so many purposes here. :)

As far as cleaning the slots which Gnarly referred to - believe it or not a thoroughly washed mascara brush works perfectly. I used to use Maybelline (the pink container) and their brushes came either straight or curved. I found out one day that they washed clean (using Dawn again) perfectly, and the handles had just the right grip to get into the slots of a chromatic. If one is careful you can remove detritus without touching the reed. Don't try rinsing the waterproof type of mascara's brushes, however, since that will be an exercise in futility.  ;D

scotty

Offline Gene Oh

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2022, 11:32:47 PM »
Hi Gary and Scotty,
Many thanks, again, for your tips and advice. In this day and age when people are easily depressed due to issues and problems, I feel "loved" by my respected SlideMeisters like you, and such support makes me keep on harping. Enjoy your holidays!

Gene


Gene

Offline ejacob4

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2022, 01:53:32 AM »
I avoid solids or pastes, or gels for that matter.

THIS IS NOT FOR WOODEN COMB HARPS!!!

Dawn. Iced tea glass or other tall, skinny glass container. Couple of drops of dawn. Add some baby bottle warm water. Stir. Put harp in. Full rest with warm water. Pull and work slide, leave for an hour. Dip and pull a few times. Work slide. Run under warm water. Work slide. If you want to get strange, or stranger, rinse out glass a few times and refill with warm water and soak to release any detergent remaining.

How to test. Taste water. If tainted, rinse and repeat. If not, play draw notes. If soapy taste, even slight, rinse and repeat.

Once a week and I never had to disassemble my educator.

Best regards,
Ed
 

Offline Age

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2022, 01:56:24 AM »
Late to the party! Been busy all day in my little studio. (inside work since I screwed up my back so bad I can't go out and play :-[)   Anyway, Yeah,Gene, I use tooth paste for a lotta things, because it's a nice mile abrasive. Use with a toothbrush and it works great for many applications. One of my favorites in the bathroom sink and faucets. Even smells nice when ya finish. :).

I don't own any slideless Chromatics but I'm sure it'll do a great job there too, Just be sure you don't get anything like tooth brush bristles caught in the reed slots cuz you might misalign them if a bristle gets wedged in there.

Oh yeah, and definitely remove the plates off if you wanna do a good job, and don't forget to rinse well in warm (not hot) water.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2022, 01:59:24 AM by Age »

Offline Gene Oh

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2022, 02:26:25 AM »
Hi Ed and Age,
Thanks for your tips as well. I will try this and that method before I choose what works best for me, a lazy person when it comes to cleaning the harp.

Gene

Offline blowharp

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2022, 12:05:44 PM »
When people tell me they leave harps assembled to clean I ask them if they shower in their underwear too?  You aren't going to get all the nooks and crannies.

Leaving it in any solution that long, you can, and do usually end up with rust on the rivets, screws and cover plates.

Toothpaste isn't really bad but the technique and type is.  Modern toothpaste contains nano size pieces of plastic that don't break down. Those are the abrasives in toothpaste for whitening.  Nobody wants plastic stuck in the slots and in the windsavers.  It's also not environmentally  friendly since it ends up in the food chain.

If you are going to use any toothpaste try checking the ingredients in Arm and Hammer toothpaste.  That can cake on the plates too so you'll need to rinse properly.  Overall liquid dish soap, perfume and plant free, does a better job in a shorter period of time. You can still use a toothbrush.

Mike
www.CustomChromatics.com

Offline Edward Brock

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2022, 12:28:14 PM »
 (inside work since I screwed up my back so bad I can't go out and play :-[)   

Sorry to hijack the thread but what is this about screwing up your back business??
Have you been doing what all the old folks told you not to do again?
Funny thing about the back. I've had severe chronic back issues for almost 40 years now.
Sometimes it's so bad all I can do is sit there in pain unable to move. The brain sez,
You can do it! Then the body sez, If you do that again I'm going to hurt you!!  :’(
The body Always Wins that argument.  I just say that to say this, Go Slowly and Do Not
Overdo things, amigo.
OK, Back to the topic.  I think toothpaste is probably good for cleaning more things than
just the old Pearly Whites. I don't use it on my harmonicas, but I might give it a try later.

Offline Scotty

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2022, 08:49:46 AM »
I'm in that same unfortunate club as you Ed. Back pain has plagued me for close to 40 years now as well (major vehicle
accident where I was a passenger in my brother's car). Everything you say is spot on and I feel for you with every word.
Now that Age seems to have joined our group it hurts my heart to know he's going through this as well. WE at least have
kind of gotten used to living with and figuring out what not to do to bring on the worst of it but he's still champing at the
bit to do heavy work.

I wanted to add this little tip for Age and others. I use battery-powered SOFT-bristled toothbrushes. Pulsar - we buy them at Costco - you get a few in a package (which lasts me for a long time - at least a year beginning a new one every couple of months as is always suggested). They can also be bought individually but for me - multiples work far better and are cost effective. The old ones (which are still perfectly usable - the batteries are inside and not replaceable, will last indefinitely. I save them for all kinds of purposes - especially now that I have such painful arthritis in my hands and wrists. They get into all kinds of nooks and crannies - around faucets, tile grout, window frames, shower enclosures (those infernal tracks), making short work of it all - and since the head is narrow, the brush easily gets into places most other tools can't. Mostly used in the kitchen and bathroom. I save one I've thoroughly disinfected (as I do all of the others as well initially) for working on my chromatic shells. I don't always turn on the battery, but when I do - for any really tough job, it makes it so much easier.

scotty

Offline brorat

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2022, 09:16:34 AM »
One seldom sees (or hears) someone use "champing at the bit" anymore!  Glad you did, Scotty!
Most folks nowadays say "chomping at the bit", as if the old steed is trying to chew the bit.  They do that, of course, but that's not the action we're referring to when using the phrase ;)

Champing at the bit means basically "rearing to go"! ( Let's not even discuss "rearing" vs "raring"! ;D )  It's a nerve-racking choice!  Or ... is it "nerve-wracking"?

“Just here to harp on chromatics!”

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2022, 10:02:40 AM »
One seldom sees (or hears) someone use "champing at the bit" anymore!  Glad you did, Scotty!
Most folks nowadays say "chomping at the bit", as if the old steed is trying to chew the bit.  They do that, of course, but that's not the action we're referring to when using the phrase ;)

Champing at the bit means basically "rearing to go"! ( Let's not even discuss "rearing" vs "raring"! ;D )  It's a nerve-racking choice!  Or ... is it "nerve-wracking"?
“Begs the question.”
OK, I’m done.

Offline Scotty

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2022, 10:59:16 AM »
'nerve-wracking' - at least in my World. ;) I also rode a horse or two in my time.

scotty

Offline WillS

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2022, 12:15:34 PM »
Scotty, it looks like Costco no longer carries Pulsar battery tooth brush, so I'm guessing your last purchase there has been some time ago?

Wondering if there are any other good-price sources. ANyone?
Will

Offline Scotty

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2022, 12:12:44 AM »
Scotty, it looks like Costco no longer carries Pulsar battery tooth brush, so I'm guessing your last purchase there has been some time ago?

Wondering if there are any other good-price sources. ANyone?

Rats! You're right. It was a package of half a dozen and bought at least 6 months ago so I still have half of them left (and still
several of the old ones I no longer use for myself, disinfected and saved for other purposes). I WILL look up to see where else
I might be able to find them. We also shop at other big box stores (Sam's and BJ's here on Long Island) so perhaps one of those?
I'll get back to you as soon as I can find out. Thanks for the heads-up.

scotty

Offline Scotty

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Re: Is toothpaste okay for cleaning my harp?
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2023, 08:30:20 AM »
Wills: I just found who now carries them! It's another Big Box warehouse store- BJ's. I am absolutley positive we used to get
them from Costco, but I just saw them in our latest BJ's catalog. They tend to carry different products than Costco, so we
actually have a membership in all 3 of these 'warehouse' stores: Costco, BJ's and Sam's (which is less than 5 miles from our
home - and again, carries different products, many of which we use regularly). The savings in Kitty litter, cat food, paper
towels and other such items (among the other 'goodies' my husband truly enjoys) more than pay for the membership costs.
This is why I can't ever use my garage, though, lolol. I drink one type of bottled water, he another and he buys several cases
at a time when they're on sale there.

One point I should make: I always use 'soft' bristled brushes - whether battery powered or regular, and only turn on the 'power'
for real scrubbing needs. (I've also been buying something called 'steri-pods' which are little plastic bubbled individual covers
for a toothbrush - each lasts a few months keeping a toothbrush protected and sterilized) in between running them through my
other 'sterilizing' bag (the purple tube whose name I've blanked right now) I bought at SPAH for chromatics some time back.

Anyway: while I was trying to find a link to BJ's online (they were listed in the catalog for $20.99 for either 4 or 5 toothbrushes - a far better price than some I've seen elsewhere - I stumbled upon this seller:
 https://www.bmcrochetworld.com/product/oral-b-3d-white-pulsar-battery-toothbrush-5-pack/

hope this helps. :)

scotty
PS: haven't yet managed a 'gluten-free' diet since I don't often eat bread, but do understand how sneaky gluten is in one's
food, but am seriously thinking about it. My husband is the real problem since he insists on doing the grocery shopping and simply doesn't get the possible connection between migraines and gluten. However HE is also now anemic so I might stand
a chance in convincing him. We'll see. ::)