How to clean your harmonica

Clean your harmonica in 5 easy steps

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Iman RP

Musician, Composer, Instructor

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Your harmonica will accumulate dirt and grime over time, no matter how careful you are. However, a clean harp will sound better and last longer.
This article aims to help you find the best way to clean your harmonica and how to do harmonica maintenance. We have compiled a list of great and valuable tips for you below to help you get your harmonica back in shape in no time.

Daily Harmonica Cleaning Tips:

Rinse the harmonica with water:

The best way to clean your harmonica is by rinsing it under lukewarm water. This will remove any dust, dirt, and bacteria that may have settled on the instrument during its use. If your harmonica has a plastic comb, you can run some lukewarm water through it or pour the water into the mouthpiece and then blow it into the instrument to clear it.


If you have a metal or wooden comb, do NOT run water through it. However, if you have a plastic or sealed wood comb, you can run water through it.

Tap your harmonica after practicing

After plying or practicing harmonica, tap your harmonica to eliminate any saliva and contaminants accumulated in the instrument.

You may not realize it, but as you play your harmonica, saliva will collect inside. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria and harm your instrument. To avoid this, after playing the harmonica, tap it on the palm of your hand or leg to knock out any loose saliva. You can also use a towel to wipe off the excess saliva with a dry cloth or tissue.

Leave your harmonica to dry

To clean and make your harmonica rust-free, you should dry it after playing. You can do this by leaving the case open when you take it out to let any moisture inside evaporate. This is an excellent way to avoid dirt and rust getting on your instrument.

Harmonica Deep Cleaning

1-Remove your harmonica cover plates:

Remove the upper and lower cover plates. You’ll find your harp inside! I usually put the screws on a white towel to avoid losing them, as they can be very sneaky and hard to find.

How to clean your blues harp

2-Wash your harmonica comb:

If you need to wash your harmonica comb quickly, you can rinse it under lukewarm water and then tap the comb to remove any excess water. Afterward, it would be best to place the comb out of its case for it to dry.

If you want to clean it more, you can soak it in the water and add a couple of drops of vinegar. Add mouthwash to the water while cleaning the instrument. Dry the outside of your harmonica before re-inserting it into its cover.


If you have a metal or wooden comb, do NOT run water through it. However, if you have a plastic or sealed wood comb, you can run water through it.

3-Clean your harmonica cover plate:

For a better cover plate cleaning, I usually use soap and water. First, you have to pour a little bit of soap onto the cover plates and scrub them with your hands. Then, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to get into any crevices. After washing, rinse off the plate and dry it using a clean towel.

Wash the blues harp plate

4-Clean the corners and edges of your harmonica

Using a cotton swab, clean the corners and edges of your harmonica. Please don’t push it too far to get it stuck around the reeds/keys. If you need to do more cleaning, you can use soft tissue (gently wipe, don’t rub) or dry cloth (please note not to wet the fabric).
Also, you can use a soft brush to remove the dirt and dust from the reed plates.

Clean the blues harp comb

5- Re-assemble your harmonica:

Re-assemble the cover plates to the correct orientation so that the longer slots are on the left. The reed must be on top, with the inside reed facing up and the outside reed facing down.
The hole numbers are engraved on it for choosing the top cover plate. So the cover plate with the numbers on it is the top one.

Assemble all the parts

Don't forget to wash your hand for 20 seconds before practicing

Wash your hand before practice
Wash your hand before practice
Wash your hand for 20 second

Wash your hand, clean your blues harp, and play safe

Iman Plays Hohner Cross Over Blues Harp - Harmonica with Iman - Iman Music Studio


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