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I have been storing a few extra saxophones in my finished basement and have not played them in about a year (including a mint TH&C). I opened them up this morning and they all had the dreaded musty smell - some pretty heavy. :cry:

I immediately opened the cases and left them outside. It is a breazy and sunny day here in the suburbs of NY and I am hoping the combination of the sun and the air will help the situation.

Is there anything else I should do, like spray the cases with mildew killer? What about the saxes? Can I wipe them with something to kill the smell?

PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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In my 28 years of repairing, the moldy case smell removal issue has never been solved. Minor temporary fixes, yes. As far as the instrument goes, the smell is now absorbed in the pads. It can be resolved by a repad including body/key cleaning and it will be fine, but do NOT put it back in that case, or it's the puppy dog chasing it's tail...

Repad. New Case. Unfortunately.
 

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The best product I have used is the Doctor's Case Odor Eliminator. http://www.doctorsprod.com/store/comersus_viewItem.asp?idProduct=49

It may take several applications along with vacuuming and airing out the case, but it does work in most cases (no pun intended). :)

I agree with Jerry that all that can be done for the horn is a repad and cleaning of the body.

John
 

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It's funny, last night I was playing my new horn which has the exact same smell (as do both of my other alto's) and I was thinking how much I like the smell.. how much character it has. I will say that I don't like it so much that I'd sleep with my head in the case, though.
 

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sjz75 said:
Keep some cedar chips in the case. I'm not sure what the best place is to buy cedar air fresheners, but it works very well. (unless you hate the smell of cedar).
I'd be concerned about the wood fibre dust getting into the key mechanisms and sticking to the oil. Not recommended.
 

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The flow-through packages of baking soda that are sold for use in refrigerators help some. They won't totally remove a strong smell, but they help prevent odor after you deodorize the case with The Docotr's product jbtsax mentioned.
 

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retread said:
The flow-through packages of baking soda that are sold for use in refrigerators help some. They won't totally remove a strong smell, but they help prevent odor after you deodorize the case with The Docotr's product jbtsax mentioned.
Until you put that smelly saxophone back in the case... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all of the suggestions. I just ordered to Doctors product and will use it and then use some baking powder.

Any advice as to future storage? Clearly I'm removing the horns from the basement. Can I store in the attick? The attick will certainly have less moisture and has good ventilation. Will the freezing cold hurt the horns in the winter?

Thanks again!
 

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Sread out some dryer sheets in case, like Bounce, and change them every week a few times,after airing the open case outside on a nice day.
 

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JerryJamz2 said:
Until you put that smelly saxophone back in the case... :)
For sure.Now you have an Outdoor Fresh musty smell.Still,better than nothing.
 

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Carbs said:
Whats the best way to stop something like this from happening?
Always store instruments in the living sections of your home that are properly ventilated. In the corner, closet, under your bed, etc... Basements and attics are the worst.

But do NOT place them directly in front of air conditioning or heat vents. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight. :cool:
 

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If the deoderizer and baking soda don't work very well there is another option you could try.

Use some foaming carpet/apolstery cleaner like Resolve or Woolite. Something that works on odors.

There is no way to remove SERIOUS FUNK even with cleaning and repading the instrument. I have some clarinets that still stink after being on the peg for 2 years.

Good luck.
 

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A decent dose of UV sunlight should help a lot, for dealing with the mold itself.
How about that, plus the Doctor's product.
Apparently one industrial approach, mentioned once here, perhaps used for rugs, is ozone treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Update.

So far, leaving the saxophones and open cases outside in the sun on a nice breazy day was a good start. This morning, I cleaned the outside of the cases with Fantastic and was amazed by the amount of "dirt" that came off after three or four times cleaning the same surface. I'm sure that the dirt was mold and mildew. That greatly cut down on the odor coming from the cases. I also vacumed the inside of the case.

When I get the Doctors product, I'll use that on the inside of all my cases (including my working case which does not have a musty smell).

I'm going to start storing my saxophones on the top of my kitchen cabnets and in the corner of my foyer.
 

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Where do you live? Damp area?

Having grown up in the southeast, and lived back there during some of my adult years, I have learned a few lessons about mold and mildew: first, once they have a foothold in something, they are damned near impossible to eliminate completely, especially in damp, humid climates; and second, they can be VERY hazardous to your health, depending. If you have ANY tendency toward allergies to these critters, you need to stay very far away from them. A friend of mine in Georgia has a bad case of mold which has actually invaded his body; he has to take extreme measures to deal with it (dietary, environmental, etc.).

Personally if I had cases that were moldy or mildewed, I'd get new ones. You breathe in and out through that sax. The invasion can easily move to the horn itself (pads etc.). Not to be alarmist, but: WATCH OUT!!!:shock:

Seriously: for some people this might never be a problem, but for someone else it could be very problematic. I'd err on the side of caution.
 
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