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How to dry the clarinet properly after playing it

The importance to keep our clarinet in perfect conditions must be an essential part of our routine as musicians, as well as carrying out a proper cleaning and drying of our instrument, especially in winter.

The above will give us important benefits such as the clarinet:

  • Looks better

  • Sounds better

  • Can be played more easily

  • Lasts longer

  • Requires services and repairs less often (saving your money)

  • Has a better resale value in the future

On the other hand, we must consider the moisture exposure of our instrument every time we have finished playing. For that reason, the essential is to remove moisture from all parts of the clarinet, including the main air channel, the reed and from the pads on the underside of the keys. We must remember the main air channel that passes through the clarinet's body is where most moisture collects, so it is important to remove it.

The main air channel that passes through the clarinet's body is where most moisture collects. (Manuel García)

For that, the most effective way to do this is to use a swab, but not before taking gently the five pieces of the clarinet apart. However, if you prefer you can also do it without taking the instrument apart.

Later, we will carefully drop the swab weight into the end of each section to pull it gently through the instrument to remove moisture from inside. If the swab catches on anything, it will be necessary to pull it slowly without forcing it, taking particular care when passing the swab through the upper body.

Pull the swab gently through the clarinet to remove moisture from inside. (

It is recommended doing this several times until each section is dry completely.

It will be also necessary to dry the tenons with the swab and where moisture often builds up. Otherwise, joints may damage since there is a danger that this could cause cracking.