Saxophone Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

In addition to drying your sax after each use, it’s important to regularly clean it as well. Maintaining your instrument properly will preserve its tone and beauty for a long time.

Be careful when cleaning your sax. Holding the pieces in precarious places like your lap or at the edge of a counter is a recipe for disaster. Place the pieces on a sturdy, stable surface.

  • Always remove the neck strap before you put the sax in its case to avoid scratching.
  • Remove the mouthpiece after each use, setting aside the reed, and clean and dry it before putting it away to avoid mold growth from moisture.
  • Air dry the reed before putting it away.
  • Also after each use, you should pull apart the neck and body and dry each piece with a swab cloth (like the kind attached to a string) by pulling the swab cloth through each piece.
  • At this time you should also dry the pads and clean the octave key hole so that it doesn’t become clogged.
  • Reassemble the neck and body and place in the case, leaving the case open for a few hours so that everything continues to dry.
  • Polish the sax once a week with a polishing cloth on the body and a twisted piece of polishing gauze between the keys.
  • Oil the keys sparingly with key oil once a month, being careful to wipe up any oil that drops on the sax.
  • The neck should also be cleaned on a monthly basis. Paying special attention to brass cleaner instructions, mix the cleaner with warm water. Remove the keys and wrap the cork in masking tape. Dip a small brush in the water and use it to gently clean the inside of the neck. Dry the neck with the swab cloth and then set it out to complete air dry for at least an hour before reassembling and putting away the sax.