Disinfecting a harmonica?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by SMILEYSIXX, Oct 29, 2010.



    Dec 29, 2009
    Long story short, I need my harmonica disinfected. Like, outside and inside totally cleaned. How can I do it without damaging the reeds or any other part of it?
  2. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I'd just buy another one.
  3. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Lysol disinfectant spray. Light coat. let sit a minute. Wipe dry. Buy new harmonica
    bholder likes this.
  4. Bevo1995


    Nov 8, 2009
    Heart o' Texas
    Is it like a Hohner Marine Band harmonica, with a wooden comb? If so the wood will swell if you get it wet. If it's plastic no worries. You should be able to take it apart to get to the insidey bits.


    Dec 29, 2009
    It's a Hohner Blues Band. So it was only like 5 bucks but I still don't wanna just toss it and buy another.
  6. The best way is to take it apart clean the shell, reeds and comb the reassemble.


    Dec 29, 2009
    My grandpa's friend is a harmonicist and told me the best method (aside from taking it completely apart) is to put it in warm water with denture cleaner in it and let it soak for an hour, then pour hydrogen peroxide through it, then rinse that out with water and let it air dry. I just put it in the denture cleaner water.
  8. Mr wiggl3s

    Mr wiggl3s Inactive

    Feb 27, 2009
  9. Chrisk-K

    Chrisk-K Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2010
    AZ, USA
    H2O2 will kill any living thing inside and outside of a harmonica.
  10. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    What happened to it? Did you drop it in the toilet?
  11. Hohner BBs sell for over $32.00, so don't take it so lightly!

    The BB has a wooden comb and must NEVER be soaked in liquids.

    The 'old guys' will tell you soak them in bourbon or beer - but that's an old wive's tale. That just swells the comb and when it dries back out, it will air leak badly if it doesn't just fall apart!

    Take it apart and clean the individual parts - but do NOT bend the reeds or you will ruin them.

    Use whatever disinfectant you like - I use alcohol - but you can use hydrogen peroxide and rinse with a slight bleach solution after and then lots of fresh water - but keep the comb out of those things.

    Sunshine and fresh air will kill anything that might be in it - but if it is over 90 days since anyone played it - most bacterial viability is gone anyway. If not all of the little critters are dead.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego

    I'd just boil it in isopropyl alcohol. Then buy a new harp.
  13. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    I'd just get a Hohner Special 20 or a Delta Frost/Suzuki Harpmaster and be done with it. The Blues Band isn't really good anyway, it makes it harder to sound good. :x


    Dec 29, 2009
    You, my friend, are talking about a completely different harp. This harp is all metal and plastic and does NOT sell for $32 unless they're shipping it to you in Nigeria.


    Dec 29, 2009
    PS: already soaked it and poured hydrogen peroxide through it. It's fine.
  16. OOps! My bad - I saw Blues Band and jumped at it - I was thinking Blues Harp and that's where I went. That's what happens when I don't take my medications.

    Sorry - boil one of those $1.98 harps all you want - they are even child-proof.

    The Special 20 is a nice harp - a little hard to find in GC - but they bend well. I think one of the easier benders is the Blues Harp - but the Crossover is really the best bender I've found. I learned to bend the Big Rivers, and still have a bunch of them.

    Once you can bend, you can pretty much bend any harp - even one of those GLHs from Hohner.

    I've got a GLH from Germany - so you know how old that one is! The current model is Chinese.
  17. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    Or, let it dry out thoroughly for a week or so, pick it up and play it! :D
  18. Rob Lewis

    Rob Lewis

    Feb 23, 2006
    Fire: it is the the only way...
    gebass6 likes this.


    Nov 3, 2018
    In the recent hurricane Florence flooding, my bag with about 15 harps in got soaked by flood waters. How best to sanitize that many harps??. Very costly to replace. we evacuated before the winds started. Didn't expect the water to rise like it did.
  20. Thick McRunfast

    Thick McRunfast Not just good, good enough

    Sep 30, 2012
    Portland, Oregon USA
    If they were mine this is what I’d do.

    Wooden comb - pitch it. There’s no telling what’s in the flood water that could have permeated the wood.

    Plastic or metal comb - disassemble and wash with soap and water. Being a germaphobe I’d make up a solution of say 5ppm chlorine soak the parts for a few minutes, rinse in clean water, dry and reassemble.

    Here’s a calculator to help make chlorine sanitizing solution from household bleach. You don’t need a really strong solution. Too strong and it could conceivably damage components.
    Chlorine Dilution Calculator
    DAROLD WEGENER likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 24, 2021

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