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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking that I really need to pay more attention to cleaning my mouthpieces, but I'm always a little afraid I'll damage my HR and plated pieces. I'm a homebrewer, and always have spray bottles of food-grade sanitizing solution hanging around the basement where I practice, and I wonder if they'd be safe to use on my mouthpieces. The two sanitizers I use most often are Star-San and Saniclean, both from Five-Star Chemicals. I figure neither will have a negative impact on my stainless steel and plastic (Metalites) pieces -- I use them on stainless and plastic all the time in the course of a brew day -- but I wonder if they'll do bad things to silver plate or vintage hard rubber.

The MSDS for Star-San says it's a solution of Phosphoric Acid and Dodecylbenzene sulfonic acid, while the sheet for Saniclean states it as a solution of Phosphoric acid and Sulfonated Oleic Acid. Both sheets list "incompatible materials" as alkalis, chlorinated products, and soft metals.

Would silver plating be considered "soft metal?" Not sure if my Selmer Soloist-style rubber piece meets the other criteria. And the MSDS is for undiluted product, while in actual usage, these products are diluted 1 fl oz to 5 gallons of water.

Has anyone used these sanitizers on their mouthpieces? Or at least maybe something similar?

Thanks!

Star-San MSDS (pdf)
Saniclean MSDS (pdf)
 

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I can't answer your question: maybe some of the chemists here could tell you whether brewing sanitizer would ruin a mouthpiece. But my question is: why take that chance? Your mouthpiece doesn't need to be germ free. It just needs to be reasonable free of crud. My experience is that a little lukewarm water and a wash cloth do the job just fine.
 

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And don't use hot water - warm is good. A child's toothbrush and some bathroom 'antibiotic' hand soap is all you need. Even if its just regular hand soap or dish soap its still good. I love a clean mouthpiece and neck - they play great. I use a stuffer in all my necks so basically I never have to wash them out. I do inspect them frequently and I have flexible neck brushes if I need them.
How about your reeds, including synthetics? They need to be cleaned frequently. I use Hydrogen Peroxide and that toothbrush on my cane reeds. You need to be gentle but scrub both sides while the reed is lying in the liquid. Sling off the excess and put it in whatever you use for a Reed Guard. The synthetics you just wipe with a soft cloth wet with the Peroxide or hand wash in soap and water.
 

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When you eat, does a fork or spoon enter your mouth?

And when you wash your forks and spoons, do you use "brewing sanitizers" to clean them?

Or do you just use soap and water?
 

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I've been playing clarinet/sax for nearly 60 years on and off and all I've ever done is run a swab through it and occasionally rinse in warm water and wipe off with a soft cloth. No need to go overboard unless you're a germaphobe. In that case I'd suggest warm water and Dawn dishwashing detergent. It's only your own mouth flora you're dealing with not somebody you don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm sure soap and water are fine, but the basement's been hot, dark, and humid, and despite my best efforts the mold and mildew have been a little more active than I'd prefer this summer (though not on my sax gear, at least not to a visible degree.) I just wondered if the sanitizers could provide a little extra protection. That said, once it gets cold I take my practicing into the spare bedroom, so it won't be an issue for long.
 

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I occasionally use “Steradent” denture cleaners on my metal and hard rubber pieces.
One tablet in Luke warm water for 3 minutes, then just rinse off and you’re good to go.
I’ve also used CLR calcium lime and rust solution mixed with water to remove stubborn calcium build up on my metal pieces.
Never tried it on my rubber ones.
Clean thoroughly after using this stuff as I don’t imagine it would be good for you.
 

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I'm sure soap and water are fine, but the basement's been hot, dark, and humid, and despite my best efforts the mold and mildew have been a little more active than I'd prefer this summer (though not on my sax gear, at least not to a visible degree.) I just wondered if the sanitizers could provide a little extra protection. That said, once it gets cold I take my practicing into the spare bedroom, so it won't be an issue for long.
OK, well you have a much different climate than here in northern CA where the humidity rarely gets over 40% in summer. I like the post just after your reply to mine, the one about using denture cleaner. That makes a lot of sense. It's mild enough to not damage plastics and metals yet strong enough to dissolve protein deposits and kill bacteria. Great idea.
 

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Try Closys, Walmart carries it. It is based on Chlorine dioxide, which pretty selectively kills Gram negative bacteria (about 95%) of all bacteria and otherwise is about as harmless as it comes. Denture cleaners are good, too
 

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I’m pretty sure that 100% of the population eats out sometime. So I think it’s safe to say cleaning something thoroughly in dish soap and warm water works. I use Dawn & soft fine toothbrush. For older acquired used mouthpieces I allowed to soak and scrub two or three times with fresh soapy water between each.
Clean silver gently in soap and water. It’s a naturally antibacterial surface.

If you really want to know if your sanitizing products are usable for mouthpieces. Know what they’re exactly made out of and call the chemical manufacturer customer service line. The phone number is on the MSDS. Personally I wouldn’t put anything in those Acids. Especially the silver plate.

PS. To define a soft metal you would have to refer to the periodic element chart. Soft metal you can crush with your fingernail. lithium & mercury are soft metals.
 

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Mixing any acid and any silver is bad news. This is perfect way to oxidize silver.

There is no need to sanitize anything in most cases, cleaning suffices.

There is also much to be side about the anti-germs mania. In itself this is contributing to make germs stronger and stronger. I am not even talking of the antibiotics, which we know, in an increasing amount of cases are wrongly prescribed and used, but even products for home use, they wipe off 99% of the germs but that 1% left is now so strong and has no competition that all you have done is select a strain of much more aggressive bacteria and eliminated all the competition to it.

Let alone the increasing scientifically recorded perception that all the increase of allergies is due to the fact that people live in a all too clean environment.

 

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I agree that the whole sanitising of mouthpieces is perhaps going a little far in most cases.
But some of the filthy cruddy pieces I have received both from eBay and SOTW needed more than a gentle soap wash.
I remember opening the packaging on one such piece and nearly vomiting from the disgusting smell coming from it.
I needs a blow torch and wire brush to clean than thing.
 

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I agree that the whole sanitising of mouthpieces is perhaps going a little far in most cases.
But some of the filthy cruddy pieces I have received both from eBay and SOTW needed more than a gentle soap wash.
I remember opening the packaging on one such piece and nearly vomiting from the disgusting smell coming from it.
I needs a blow torch and wire brush to clean than thing.
Sanitizing is not a bad idea if you are letting other people try your mouthpieces, e.g. a teacher letting a student try their mouthpieces sort a shop demonstrating. It may be more for confidence as opposed to actually doing anything a that rinsing with water and a swab won't do - after all (as mentioned) we are usually happy to drink from a glass at public bar that has just been washed, or use cutlery that has just been washed. (And also trust that it actually has been washed)

I would never bother doing it for my own mouthpieces though.

I can understand the concern though and of course sanitisation doesn't do any harm as long as no heat is used on HR mouthpieces. I once went to a trade show and had a cold sore, so sadly I elected not to try any mouthpieces or flutes as a courtesy to the thousands of other players who would probably not want to catch them off me.
 

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There are mouthpiece sanitizing sprays available on the market if that is what is really wanted. Just be careful to make sure that you select one that is OK to use on rubber (not all are).
 

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Off the record...because I dont want to be sued by some psychotic US attorney...but relax

If these are used mpcs use some alcohol

If they are yours use some soap and water on on a regular basis. Cold water.

I have always been amazed at people who are afraid of their own germs. Its like running a race you can win...Perhaps I fail to understand.

The world is an unclean place. If you try to make it clean I wish you luck. While it pays to not be completely disgusting, seeking an antiseptic universe is not realistic.

More importantly to what you use to clean your gear is to not keep it in an environment where it stays warm and damp.

Most germs...especially your own, die in a dry atmosphere. As a mpc maker and refacer I am pretty sure I would be dead by now if mpcs were the height of infectious environments.

All that being said...if you have a personal attorney...dont take my advice...take it at your own risk

As a veteran of 30 years in the mental health world I would suggest that anxiety is more dangerous than the germs concerned
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Interesting thread.

I actually soak my 'piece IN beer before I play.....
Ooo, that's not a bad idea. I have plenty of that to go around! Does the style you're playing affect which beer you choose? Like, "mood beering"?
 

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Do you drink the beer when you are done?
I hope so

Its sad to waste good beer.
I don't, since you asked. Sometimes I will give the glass to an annoying member of the crowd, tho..."here ya' go bud, this one's on me !".

And the reed actually soaks up a good amount....
 
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