Tech Tip:How to Clean Your Cymbals

To clean or not to clean, this is the question for many drummers when it comes to their cymbals. Some players believe that a certain amount of grime and grit and smoky residue adds to the character of the cymbal. No doubt a certain barroom neglect may give your cymbals a certain roadhouse ambience. But for those who are interested in extending the life of their cymbals and keeping them shining like disks of pure sonic gold under the stage lights, here are some helpful tips.


Many new cymbals are sprayed with a protective coating to keep them from tarnishing in the store, so your cymbals may need less cleaning during the first six months, depending on use. During this time, a solution of warm water and liquid dishwasher soap will clean fingerprints, dirt, and grime. As your cymbals age, we recommend using a professional cleaning cream to remove stick marks and tarnish. Put a small amount onto the surface with a soft cloth and rub in the direction of the tonal grooves, until the metal appears through the film. After the polish has dried to a haze, buff gently with a clean, soft cloth. Clean only a small section of the cymbal at a time. Always avoid using steel wool, wire brushes, scouring pads, or metal cleaners that are abrasive. These products will scratch the surface of your cymbal.