How to Clean Your Cymbal(The Ultimate Beginners Guide)

Drummers know that the best-sounding cymbals are clean and shiny. If you want your cymbals to sound their best, then it’s essential to clean them regularly. I realised there is a lack of proper guidance on how to clean your cymbal, especially for first-timers. Cleaning cymbals is an easy process but a few tricks of the trade can make it go more smoothly.

For cymbal cleaning, you will need to soak in the vinegar solution or use a cymbal cleaner to remove the rust. If there are stubborn stains you will need to remove them with a toothbrush and soap water. After that, apply a cymbal finish to give them a brilliant finish look.

Below we will discuss some tips on how to get those cymbals looking like new!

When Should I Clean My Cymbal?

As cymbals are often coated with a unique finish that will naturally wear off the more you play your instrument, manufacturers recommend cleaning them after every few uses. If not cleaned properly, oils from the skin can cause rusting and degrade sound quality over time.

Cymbal makers give their products an extra layer of protection to keep them dust-free while they’re sitting in storage–but once this coat fades away, there’s no stopping dirt or other stains from entering through repeated use!

It’s important to know that high-frequency sounds will begin decreasing with time as they oxidize; this is good because you’ll end up getting a darker sound!

However, if that type fits your genre (like jazz or classic rock), then go ahead but make sure it has polish before using them on stage where bright lights are present– remember these tips when deciding whether/how often cleanser should be used at home.

Before you start cleaning your cymbal, you will need to get a cymbal cleaner.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Cymbal Cleaners?

Cymbal cleaners are an essential tool for any musician. Some fingerprints and stick-marks may resist cleaning with simple soap. However, in these cases, consider using acid-free cymbals cleaners as they work because of the metal that bronze is made up of – copper oxide does dull their look and traps dust, which leads to dirtier hands!

You can even use them on drum shells, hardware, drum thrones, electronic drum pads, and drum cases.

If you search “cymbal cleaning” on the internet, it is almost certain that articles and videos will pop up with well-meaning advice for how to clean your cymbals.

Many say that lemon juice or ketchup work wonders in getting rid of unwanted protein residue from acid cleaners like cola drinks – but these home remedies only provide temporary relief at best! They’re designed specifically to target tough stuck-on scuff marks while also removing dirt particles left behind by other household ingredients.

How To Remove Rust Off Of Drum Cymbals

Materials Needed

Here are a few simple steps to start cleaning your cymbals.

  1. Soak in a vinegar solution or an acid free cymbal cleaner to remove rust.
  2. Use distilled white vinegar and water in a 50/50 ratio. A gallon of each should be enough for several cymbals.
  3. Place the cymbal(s) into the bucket with the mixture until it is submerged completely, then let sit for at least 15 minutes before removing them from the bucket.
  4. If any stubborn rust spots don’t come off, you can add another cup or two of vinegar into your mix and give it another try.
  5. You might also want to scrub these areas gently with an old toothbrush if they still don’t budge after soaking again; this may save time later on when polishing.
  6. Rinse the cymbal(s) off with water until it runs clear, then let dry completely before continuing to polish them.

[Related Articles: 5 Clever Ways to Add Cymbals to Electronic Drums]

How To Polish Cymbals

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Materials Needed

You can polish your cymbals in these easy steps:

  1. Use a microfiber cloth on the surface of your cymbal to prevent scratches
  2. If you have some stubborn stains, then gently scrub them with a toothbrush and soap water mixture.
  3. You can also add baking soda to this solution if tough dirt particles won’t come off even after washing it several times.
  4. Leave the piece dry upside down overnight and apply the cymbal polish before inserting it back into its stand or case. This allows for thorough drying time, so rust will not form, which may cause permanent damage to your shiny new instrument.

Make sure you don’t scratch it by placing a towel or cotton cloth below your cymbal stand.

Can I Outsource Polishing For My Cymbal?

If your cymbals need serious polishing, there are many professional services available.

Some use machines specifically built for this task and remove ALL printing from the surface(s).

However, be aware that it takes is one bad experience for the polish to wear off. If you don’t want this problem or any other logos removed from them to save money – be sure and get them done right at an established business with reconditioned machines!

9 Useful Tips for cleaning cymbals

If you own any cymbal, consider these tips:

  1. Clean your cymbals after every use: If you are playing multiple gigs in one day, clean your cymbals between each gig or practice session – this will ensure they are kept as fresh and shiny as possible!
  2. Run a wet sponge across the surface of your cymbals for quick cleaning during breaks at shows/practice sessions. This is good for day-to-day light cleaning when there isn’t enough time to soak them overnight; just be sure not to do anything too rough that could damage the finish on your cymbals.
  3. Avoid cleaning with harsh chemicals (such as acetone) that could damage the finish on your cymbals. Using any chemical cleaner requires careful research before trying it out; some cleaners can strip off the coating completely if misused!
  4. Polish your cymbal(s) regularly. We recommend this Cymbal Polish but be sure that it is completely dry before polishing your cymbal – otherwise, you could rub off the finish on your instrument! Using a cymbal polish will keep your cymbals looking how they should and prevent them from becoming dull or discolored over time – this is also good for chrome finishes on other drum equipment like drum shells, hardware, drum thrones, electronic drum pads, and drum cases. Just make sure to wipe off the excess with a soft Microfiber Cloth after using one.
  5. Ensure not to overdo it when polishing either – too much rubbing could leave scratches on the surface, affecting how they sound when struck.
  6. Store clean/polished drum equipment in separate bags so everything stays dust-free. Keeping your cymbals and other drum equipment stored separately will keep them from attracting dust which could damage the finish over time; this tip is crucial if you live in a humid climate!
  7. Use a damp cloth instead of water when cleaning your drums because the steam helps loosen up dirt easier than just water would alone. Using a mild dish soap along with warm water (not boiling or steaming hot) to clean your drums is a great way to get rid of dirt and grime that may have built up over time.
  8. Make sure to rinse all surfaces thoroughly after cleaning them, too, because any remaining residue could affect how they sound when played!
  9. Use lukewarm or slightly warmer water for your soap mixture water, to allow it to be properly mixed in.

[Related Article: 5 Best Electronic Drum Cymbals That John Bonham Will Be Proud Of!!]


Using just plain water doesn’t help loosen things up enough during the process since steam would do this better than just liquid itself. However, there’s still no guarantee that it’ll work unless you’re actually boiling/steaming the instruments first.