How to Disinfect a Saxophone

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Things You'll Need

  • Small bowl
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Mouthpiece brush
  • Dental disinfectant
  • Saxophone swab

After months of regular use, the mouthpiece of your saxophone can accumulate countless bacteria. To prevent illness or oral infection, the mouthpiece should be sanitized regularly. If you are new to the saxophone and have recently purchased a used model from an instrument dealer or antique store, you'll want to disinfect the mouthpiece completely before playing it.

Fill a small bowl with hydrogen peroxide. Pull out the mouthpiece from the top of the saxophone and place it in the bowl of peroxide. Leave it in the bowl until the fizzing subsides -- this indicates that most bacteria has been killed.

Rinse the mouthpiece thoroughly under a stream of hot water to remove all traces of peroxide.

Saturate the head of your mouthpiece brush with a dental disinfectant or mouthwash. Brush the entire piece vigorously, applying more disinfectant as needed.

Rinse the mouthpiece under a cool stream of water. Dry the mouthpiece using a soft, clean cloth.

Remove dirt or debris from the inside of the saxophone using a pull-through swab. Turn the saxophone upside down and drop the string of the swab into the bell. The string should come out at the other end while the cloth swab should rest in the basin of the bell. Pull the string all the way out to swab the inside of the saxophone clean.


  • Disinfect your mouthpiece at least twice weekly for best results. Avoid letting others use your mouthpiece. Also avoid playing your saxophone if you have an oral infection or are ill. Mouthpiece brushes and saxophone swabs can be found at any music store or instrument dealer.


  • Do not use your mouthpiece if is cracked, frayed or otherwise damaged.


About the Author

Brandon Getty began writing professionally in 2008, with columns appearing in "Thrasher" magazine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lives in Stockton, Calif.

Photo Credits

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