Cleaning Your Drum Equipment
One of the most important things to know about cleaning your drums is to be sure to never use an abrasive cleaner. Abrasive cleaners like Ajax or Comet and even some seemingly harmless bathroom cleansers will permanently scratch the finish on your drums regardless if you have a painted shell or a covered shell.
I recommend using non-ammonia based glass cleaners such as Windex, 409 or any similar product. Just make sure it doesn’t contain ammonia! Ammonia can fade the coloring in your drums over time making them look flat and dull.
A simple, cheap, yet equally effective homemade cleaner is a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and water. It works just as well as any store bought product…and will not hurt your drums in any way.
If you have a residue of any kind on your drum shell that will not come off with glass cleaner I highly recommend GOO GONE.
GooGone will effectively remove just about anything from your drum shell. Just dab a little bit onto a clean cloth and gently rub it into the area you need to clean. GooGone has minimal impact on our environment and is safe to use on virtually any surface.
Stands and Hardware
For your stands and chrome pieces on the drum shell, you can use the same ammonia free cleaner as mentioned before. However, if you have some stubborn dirt or tarnished metal, a typical chrome polish found at your local automotive store would work well. However, much like Brasso these are very aggressive and contain harsh solvent type chemicals. Be careful and don’t get any on the drum shell itself because it may leave a mark. Of course make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when using these types of cleaners.
There are several different cymbal cleaners available to drummers these days. In fact most cymbal companies market their own special cleaner. The fact of the matter is most of them are very similar to Brasso. The problem is…whether it’s the cymbal cleaner or a Brasso type polish, it’s usually going to be stinky and messy. I even e-mailed a major cymbal company regarding their cymbals and they recommended a store bought product … NOT THEIR OWN! (what’s that tell you?)
I’ve used two types of cleaners on my cymbals with excellent results. The best one is a product called NEVR-DULL Metal Polish.
Nevr-Dull consists of a non-scratching cotton–type wadding soaked in a special polishing solution. It is perfect for cleaning cymbals. You simply rub a small amount of the cotton on the cymbal then wipe off the residue with a clean cloth. Presto your cymbals will look new.
I do suggest that you wear gloves when using NEVR-DULL and be in a well-ventilated area…and if you really like the painted cymbal logo on your cymbal. Work around the area because Nevr-Dull will remove that paint too.
NEVER-DULL can be found at most hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowes…and I’ve even seen it at Wal-Mart and Target…or you can always go to www.nevrdull.com.
Another product I’ve used on my cymbals with terrific results is FLITZ Metal polish.
Flitz polish is nontoxic and nonflammable. You can use Flitz polish with your bare hands and it is safe on your skin. No gloves are required. Besides cymbals, Flitz will clean, polish, and protect any non-porous surface safely. Best of all it’s ammonia free and has no abrasive ingredients.
Flitz is not always easy to find. I’ve ordered it from the Internet… and have seen it at hardware stores here and there. Visit www.flitz-polish.com and order it there if all else fails.
Yet another product, Bar Keeper’s Friend.
Barkeeper’s Friend works wonders on cymbals — and very quickly (see video below).
Yes! You can clean your drumheads depending on what type of head it is. If you have a coated head (white), try using a clean cloth dampened with a little bit of water. You may see some of the coating flake off of the head, but this is normal and the head is still good. Never pour or spray water directly onto the drumhead. If it’s a clear plastic head…you can use a non-ammonia window cleaner to remove any dirt, spots and stick marks.
Waxing Your Drums
Once you’ve cleaned your drums. I recommend giving them a nice shine by using Pledge or any other spray-on furniture polish. I don’t recommend using a car wax or any other liquid wax simply because most of them have harsh chemicals and the rubbing motion needed when buffing can cause irreversable scratching. Best of all…there’s nothing better than a drum set that smells Lemony Fresh!
Last of all… when you’re not playing your drums, cover them with a large blanket or bed sheet. No matter how clean your home is normal dust and dirt in the air will eventually settle onto your drum set. If you begin playing these dirty drums…your drums sticks will grind this dirt into your drumheads and cymbals leaving black marks everywhere. Keep your drum set dust free and you’ll spend more time playing them than cleaning them… and you’ll look a whole lot better doing so.