How To Clean Cymbals

Taking Care of Our Gear


Have you ever noticed that some drummers’ cymbals always look good? They shine so much that you’d think they were brand new, even after years of playing.

Then there’s the rest of us. Ours look more like they belong in a scrap yard rather than on a drum kit.

It’s pretty obvious that we should take better care of our gear so I’ve asked some experienced players and techs how they go about cleaning their cymbals. Here’s a summary of what I found:


Fill a tub with some luke warm water, then mix in a little bit of mild dish soap. Place your cymbal in the water and leave it to soak for two to three minutes – this helps to loosen the dirt. Then, take it out and pat dry with a clean cloth.


Lay out a soft towel or something similar (that you don’t mind getting dirty) on the floor. Place your cymbal on it.


Put a small amount of cymbal polish (available in most drum stores) on a dry, clean cloth, then clean a small area of the cymbal with it. Don’t try to clean a big area in one go as the polish will dry and become difficult to remove. When cleaning, follow the grooves of the cymbal and don’t rub too hard.

Note: Try to avoid the logo’s if you want to keep them in tact because many cymbal cleaners and polishes will take them off.


Repeat step 3 until you have cleaned the whole cymbal. Remember to use a clean area of cloth for each part of the cymbal.


Next, give the cymbal a quick rinse in some clean water, and then wipe it down with another clean, dry cloth.


Make sure all the polish has been removed. If it hasn’t, wipe it down again.

And you’re done!

Now that you have a nice, clean set of cymbals you’ll want to show them off to the world but there are a few more things to do. First, try to handle your cymbals with gloves to prevent fingerprinting and the build up of grime. Second, wipe them down with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth before and after use. Third, keep your cymbals in a properly cushioned cymbal case when not in use.

These simple steps will keep your cymbals in great condition and extend their shine as long as possible.

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