CLEANING CYMBALS

jspitza

Senior Member
Hello "Cans" :)

Congratulations on your cymbals....I'm jealous! I've used several solvents through the years and for adhesive I've had the best luck with Goof off or any citrus based remover. I find that acetone, spirit or thinners tend to rapidly dry out too fast and remelts the adhesive. On the other hand, you might be surprised at what the zildjian cleaner can do as its pretty nasty stuff. I hope this helps you out and please post pictures!!
Take care, Jeff
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Hello "Cans" :)

Congratulations on your cymbals....I'm jealous! I've used several solvents through the years and for adhesive I've had the best luck with Goof off or any citrus based remover. I find that acetone, spirit or thinners tend to rapidly dry out too fast and remelts the adhesive. On the other hand, you might be surprised at what the zildjian cleaner can do as its pretty nasty stuff. I hope this helps you out and please post pictures!!
Take care, Jeff
Awesome Jeff, thanks bud. I'll start with the Z product.
 

X14Halo

Member
I tend to use Zildjian Cymbal Polish on mine which works really great. I've tried some home products in the past but the logo's started wearing off so I'll stick with the professional stuff!

There's a small guide here as well on cleaning cymbals:
https://www.drumradar.com/how-to-clean-cymbals/

Most of my cymbals aren't brilliant finish anyway so I don't need to clean/polish them really.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I used to use groove juice or Sabian cymbal cleaner as they are developed to keep the logos.

If you care about the logos don't get too aggressive in the cleaning, because once that outer coating is gone, the logo is just stamped on there.

I had a friend send his cymbal to Sabian because it cracked. The price was decent, they took an inch off it, and re lathed it. After that they put a new stamp on it too which was nice.

Or do what I do these days. Just leave em. Shiny is nice, but to me cymbals sound better and less harsh with a bit of grit on them. I take them to gigs in bags, and don't purposely make them dirty, but I haven't cleaned them in years. They sound great, and it's time spent playing instead of cleaning.
 
I use the Paiste cleaner and conditioner. It takes a lot of elbow grease if they are really dirty. Your rags will be black. Eventually they will be brilliant again. Then you pour a little conditioner, which is the consistency of water onto a clean rag and go over everything. I think the cymbals sound better when they are clean. I also think my car runs better when it is clean!
 

iCe

Senior Member
Hi all! I've been reading this topic and i see a lot of different tips. Perhaps I'm misinterpreting some products, but it seems a lot of cleaners on the market are for brilliant finished cymbals. Except for my 2 Oriental China's, all my cymbals are natural finished. I have a Paiste 20" Novo China, but i guess that's also a brilliant finished cymbal right?

Anyhow, i used the Zildjian cleaner/polisher in the past and it didn't really work. Lot of black residue on the ride and took a couple of cleaning sessions before it was gone. Also used Groove Juice, but stopped using it since that chemical stuff really ****'s up your lungs. But mainly because it took of some parts of the protective coating. Now my cymbals are in need of cleaning again, but I'm lost on how to do it. Before i just cleaned them with dishwasher soap and a piece of cloth. But that doesn't really go deep and remove the dirt.

I don't really care about the logo's anymore since they've started to fade already (ride and hats are 8 years old now). And I won't sell them anyway because I've found the 'holy grail' of each model/size.

So what would you suggest for cleaning my Zildjian A's, K and K Custom models?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
So what would you suggest for cleaning my Zildjian A's, K and K Custom models?
This question keeps coming up, and I fear that those suggesting X-Product (including cymbal manufacturers) are doing drummers a great disservice. Selling branded "cleaners" to unwitting customers is borderline immoral.

To clean cymbals, you use....
1: A clean dry towel to remove loose debris - if you don't do this, you're making mud and rubbing it into the pores of your cymbal.
2: A damp (not wet) towel with warm water to act as a solvent.
3: A dry towel to remove any dirt/water solution and remaining debris.
4: Repeat 2/3 till you are satisfied.

If you find you need a solvent to remove some stubborn blemish (cat piss, wine, etc), you can begin with a drop of Dawn dish detergent mixed into a liter (2 quarts, a half gallon, whatever) of warm water. If you encounter something truly irremovable, try to determine what the substance is and ping the thread for aggressive options.

Modern Zildjians are misted/coated in UV catalyzed poly. While I'm not going to say that you can't replace the coating with a Home-Depot rattle can.... You really aren't going to achieve the same results as the factory.

That "black residue" you saw was likely bronze. It was literally alloy that the micro-abrasive polish removed from the surface of the cymbal.
 
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GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Here are 30 Pages on cleaning cymbals. Maybe you can find some help in these.

 

n3kr0

Junior Member
hi folks,
i have a set of 3 Zildjian cymbal that came with the drum kit, one day i believe i dropped yogurt or something, dont remember, and splattered the drums, i cleaned what i saw, didn't even occur to me that it went up to the bottom of the crash and hi hat cymbal, and only noticed that too many months after when i was about to experience with the camera. I used alcohol (not the cealing alcohol that i've read here) and i didn't like what happened, there was a ugly stain.
Can't remember what i used to clean, towel or cotton or paper, now i'm about to buy the Zildjian Cymbal Cleaning Polish, but read that: Not suitable for use on traditional, patina, or natural finishes

The 3 set are Zildjian Planet Z with Regular finish (as they say in the original website) Nickel silver, but they do shine, they look brilliant, but don't say Brilliant Finish as others do. I don't know what traditional or natural finish is compared to regular. But the Cymbal Cleaning Polish also says Suitable for all Zildjian cymbals.

It is ok to buy this Cleaning polish to all the Zildjian cymbals or just use regular soap like i've read along the pages
 
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AudioWonderland

Silver Member
This question keeps coming up, and I fear that those suggesting X-Product (including cymbal manufacturers) are doing drummers a great disservice. Selling branded "cleaners" to unwitting customers is borderline immoral.

To clean cymbals, you use....
1: A clean dry towel to remove loose debris - if you don't do this, you're making mud and rubbing it into the pores of your cymbal.
2: A damp (not wet) towel with warm water to act as a solvent.
3: A dry towel to remove any dirt/water solution and remaining debris.
4: Repeat 2/3 till you are satisfied.

If you find you need a solvent to remove some stubborn blemish (cat piss, wine, etc), you can begin with a drop of Dawn dish detergent mixed into a liter (2 quarts, a half gallon, whatever) of warm water. If you encounter something truly irremovable, try to determine what the substance is and ping the thread for aggressive options.

Modern Zildjians are misted/coated in UV catalyzed poly. While I'm not going to say that you can't replace the coating with a Home-Depot rattle can.... You really aren't going to achieve the same results as the factory.

That "black residue" you saw was likely bronze. It was literally alloy that the micro-abrasive polish removed from the surface of the cymbal.
I was actually considering Dawn myself. I want to remove dirt/oils without removing coatings/patinas. Why such a limit mix of Dawn/water? I would not expect any issues with a stronger mix as long as you rinse thoroughly to remove any residue.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I have always used the Paiste stuff, but am definitely going to try the Dawn thing above. Dawn works magic in other places...

we also use Simple Green on the marching crash cymbals at school, and it seems to work well. We do this more for weekly touch ups rather than deep cleans though. We have old (mid 90's) Zildjian A Custom marching cymbals with the coating from the factory
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I was actually considering Dawn myself. I want to remove dirt/oils without removing coatings/patinas. Why such a limit mix of Dawn/water? I would not expect any issues with a stronger mix as long as you rinse thoroughly to remove any residue.
You answered half of your own question... It's because you DO want to remove dirt and oil, but you DON'T want to remove the base patina. The other half is that you don't want to catalyze the subsequent formation of patina (acidic) because it will be ugly, uneven, and unstable. Rinsing thoroughly (on a raw cymbal) is tough due to pores and other surface imperfections, which is why I suggest a baking-soda bath as an intermediate, and a water bath as the last stage if you use acid.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
You answered half of your own question... It's because you DO want to remove dirt and oil, but you DON'T want to remove the base patina. The other half is that you don't want to catalyze the subsequent formation of patina (acidic) because it will be ugly, uneven, and unstable. Rinsing thoroughly (on a raw cymbal) is tough due to pores and other surface imperfections, which is why I suggest a baking-soda bath as an intermediate, and a water bath as the last stage if you use acid.
Dawn is acidic as well? I have never looked at the ingredients.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Dawn is acidic as well? I have never looked at the ingredients.
Dawn is not acidic, it is basic, which is why I suggested it's use over acid based cleaners and petroleum distillates. Think of Dawn as a degreaser and mild detergent, as well as something that changes the surface tension of water making it a better solvent.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
Dawn is not acidic, it is basic, which is why I suggested it's use over acid based cleaners and petroleum distillates. Think of Dawn as a degreaser and mild detergent, as well as something that changes the surface tension of water making it a better solvent.
Cool. Dawn and plastic bristled brush should be as unobtrusive as it gets then
 

gmiller598

Senior Member
I have an Oriental Crash of Doom that has some stains on it that I'm having trouble getting off. It dried on there a while ago because I didn't look at it for a several days after it happened but I essentially had a solution of baking soda and vinegar leak through my hardwood floor into my basement and drip onto this cymbals where it dried when I was cleaning a spot on the floor.

Any thoughts on what could clean it off? It has been dried on there for a while now and I think it might need something hardcore to do the job.
 
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