Senior Member
Although I don’t like cymbal polish I have some tips. (Only do this if you want more of a responsive, tingy sound). Use polish that is name brand to the cymbal you are cleaning. Also make sure you apply generously and in small circles. Don’t leave it on there for to long- it will distort that sound and make it sound “uneven”!


Senior Member
kzdruma said:
Use polish that is name brand to the cymbal you are cleaning.
This is partially true.

I'm suprised no one has specifically mentioned that Paiste cymbals have a protective coating on them, and anything other than Paiste cymbal cleaner or mild soap and water will take the coating off. If the coating comes off, which it eventually might, then polish it like any other cymbal.

You can use pretty much whatever you want on other cymbals, but common sense says to use the least abrasive method that gets the job done.

I polished an old 22" Sabian riveted china (an AA, I think?) that had been sitting in a damp basement for years, with powdered metal polish, some old rags and lots of elbow grease. If it weren't for the faded logos and rusted rivets, it looked like a new cymbal.

But the best thing to do is to wipe your fingerprints off them after playing, and every now and then use a very mild polish, like Paiste's, to get the stick marks off and make it shiny.


Senior Administrator
Hi Nutha Jason. I first would like to thank you for your drum mod and cymbal repair tips. I would like to ask you how yu would go about cleaning cymbals that are dirty. And when I say dirty, I mean old cymbals that are green in some areas. I just want that luster back. I don't care about logos either so anything you could suggest would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

-- Lumberjack Ivan
well with really grotty cymbals i would get some steel wool or carbon water paper and put some elbow grease into them. thick green oxidation means that copper has actually been taken out of the metal so it will be etched (which is why drums must clean their cymbals at the first sign of oxidation) best bet is to rubb this all away and down preferably in the direction of the lathing. then try some of the products found in this thread. but perhaps standard brass polish will be fine for a first go. then wash them down maybe with lemon juice and then warm water, then use a dedicated cymbal cleaner (not paiste cleaner tho as this is quite specific). wipe with a soft cloth.
once again...let us know how they turn out so we can learn from your experiences...give us a before and after pic.

Cymbal Cleaning

Just a quick thought, I've never seen anyone mention it or anything but can you clean cymbals with such stuff as OxiClean or any of these products seen in adverts that bring pennies to a sparkling shine or will it damage the cymbal/remove the logo. I was curious as I've got some hats that need a good old clean, I know it doesnt affect the tone but its just abit demoralising knowing they cost so much and look like they are worth 50p.


Senior Member
Re: best way to clean

mlehnertz said:
Muriatic acid and a metal polish. Talk about a shine. Be careful if you like your pretty Zildjian logos because muriatic acid will take that emblem right off.

But I don't shine my cymbals anymore. I figure what's the point.
Be carful with Muriatic. I know it will melt aluminum as soon as it touches it. Plus it Very corrosive it will eat your skin. ... Actualy This is just an all around BAD Idea. Muriatic acid is Deadly!!!!!!! Really Really is. The use it to clean farms milk tanks and Make Methamphetamine(cladestine)


Senior Member
I will reiterate...try Pledge Ultra Moisturizing formula (yes- furniture polish!)-I have traded in some cymbals I've been using for 2 years, and I swear that except for the emblem being worn from sticking, they come out looking pristine. I've gotten top dollar for my trade ins (80% of purchase price) because using the stuff. Non caustic, and it really brings out the shine.
Don't ever use abrasive or acidic matierials on your cymbals, especially on brilliant finishes.
i didn't see anyone mention their use of sabian cymbal cleaner. mine worked very well on

my a customs, brought them back to their store bought shine, and didn't take the zildjian

logo off either. although, if you don't want the logo to come off... don't clean that area as

well! i just used the damp t-shirt that i used to clean the rest of the cymbal to rub over the

logos without spraying anymore cleaner on and it worked beautifully.


Senior Member
Who cleans there cymbals and how leaves them

Who cleans there cymbals and how leaves them? if you clean them, do you think it alters the sound? if you do clean them and don't use cymbal cleaner, what do you use?


Re: Who cleans there cymbals and how leaves them

I clean A Customs but don't clean Ks.

Yes it alters the sound. Patina builds up on the bronze alloy (natural, can't be stopped) and changes the cymbals sound over time. This change is generally considered a good thing, and this is one reason why older cymbals are so sought after.

I do clean my A Customs because I want them to sound bright and glassy. Patina kills that. Plus they just look really cool all shiny. I don't clean K's because they sound better as they get older.

I use the Zildjian cleaner stuff that comes in the tube.

Edit: Thanks DogBreath...Seems I'm getting too excited and sloppy as I near my 2000th post!
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Re: Who cleans there cymbals and how leaves them

Ive heard that dirty cymbals make warmer sounds but ive never felt any heat off my, sounds like a resonable thing to say! I dont clean mine.

Drummer Karl

Re: Who cleans there cymbals and how leaves them


I have got brilliant cymbals and so I clean them but if I have nature looking cymbals I wouldn`t clean them.
Some times I don`t wanna clean my brilliants, too! is a personal preference for me, too.


Senior Member
Re: Who cleans there cymbals and how leaves them

Interesting, I have recently changed from Paiste to Zil 'K's and I always used to clean my soundedge hihats because they seemed much nicer that way.

Not sure about the 'K's they do look great new and I hate the stick marks on the ride as they build up.

To be honest, I've owned the Paiste set for twenty years and some have been cleaned and some haven't, but I would be hard pressed to say there was a difference in sound between them, I have always heard they changed but was never really too sure.

I mean if you pick up an old cymbal that sounds great on ebay, who's to say it didn't sound that way before?

You see people like Neil Peart who always seems to have bright cymbals (maybe there always new) and then others like Charlie Watts who seems to have the same set un-polished for decade after decade.

But I have yet to notice any difference in my older unpolished cymbals after twenty plus years, of course that might just be Paiste for you.


Senior Member
I heard of a guy the other day that cleans his cymbals with sand paper after every gig! seems he claims it hasn't changed the sounds at all.

And on this note I would like to say I consider myself to have a pretty good ear however I do think there is a lot of bull talked when we hear about how they change after time, you'd have to have a pretty good recolection of the original sound to say if they had, and frankly I think you just get used to them and you think the sound has changed.

The first time you try a cymbal it always sounds strange, and it's usually in a shop, you goaway with a pre-concieved notion of what it sounds like, you get home it sounds different, and again different at a gig, so after time you just get used to it, and later on you feel it has changed.

I maybe wrong and I am prefectly able to accept others will challenge this, but that's my view, once they are cleaned they sound just like they did when you bought them.


Silver Member
WD-40 works very well on my Paistes. Non-abrasive, very safe on logos and one can will last you years.


Senior Member
I'm with Stu on this one: to clean or not to clean depends on the individual cymbal.

AAAaanway, I just also wanted to say that you should be careful with whatever you use to polish the cymbal -I always recomend testing on a small, out of sight area on the underside of the bell first. I'm too lazy to clean any of my cymbals, but I used to work in a music store and heard that using the type of polish for sheet bronze cymbals (b-8s or zbts -etc) on cast bronze (AA or A custom or K , etc) can sometimes really do some damage, and vice versa (I know at least sabian and zildjian both make two types of polish intended either for their cast or stamped lines) . -at least that's what I heard (no first hand experience on this -but I wouldn't want to test the theory either!)


Senior Member
There are too many offers in here. I need a cleaner that takes off all stick marks, but not the logos, at all!!! I have Meinl and Zildjian.