What would be the best way to clean Traditional Cymbals?

JohnnyThrash

Junior Member
I have traditional finish A series Zildjian Cymbals and I was just looking for any tips/advice on how to clean em. I always handle my cymbals with care, always use gloves when touching em and even when I drum so that I dont get any finger prints on em. I know I cant do anything about scratched cymbals so thats ok, but as far as stick marks both light and sometimes hard to remove stick marks, and light fingerprint, well what would you suggest?
 

Brundlefly

Senior Member
I have traditional finish A series Zildjian Cymbals and I was just looking for any tips/advice on how to clean em. I always handle my cymbals with care, always use gloves when touching em and even when I drum so that I dont get any finger prints on em. I know I cant do anything about scratched cymbals so thats ok, but as far as stick marks both light and sometimes hard to remove stick marks, and light fingerprint, well what would you suggest?
Pledge. No, seriously, Pledge.
 

johanisu

Member
Don't clean them!! The stick marks and oxidisation temper the cymbal. It's what gives it character and maintains the vintage sound. Stripping that layer o' dirt off changes the sound of the cymbal. Also I wouldn't be afraid to get your fingers on them, they're there to be handled and played!
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Best way to clean Traditional Cymbals?

Does not compute.

Leave those babies alone.

But, ff you must viciously and heartlessly destroy their natural patina and character, then a mild mix of soap & hot water and a soft-bristled scrubbing brush will get the oil from your fingers off.

I don't think Pledge is a good idea. Pledge is a coating meant to build up on the surface and repel dust and oil, it's not a detergent. But, YMMV.
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
For a routine wipedown once a week, use Pledge wipes. These get rid of fingerprints and give a nice little shine.

For cleaning every few months, I use hot water, lemon juice, and vinegar. Over the kitchen sink or bathtub, squeeze 1/2 a lemon onto each cymbal and rub it around the cymbal with a sponge. Let sit for 30 seconds. Spritz some vinegar onto the cymbal with a spray bottle and wipe that off immediately with a soft cloth or sponge. Run hot water over the cymbal (I use the kitchen sink, some use a bathtub) and wipe it dry with a soft cloth.

Test your logos and tape them up with masking tape if necessary because no matter what you clean with, the logos will probably come off. I don't really mind them gone, so I let them wear away after a few cleanings.
 

Brundlefly

Senior Member
Best way to clean Traditional Cymbals?

Does not compute.

Leave those babies alone.

But, ff you must viciously and heartlessly destroy their natural patina and character, then a mild mix of soap & hot water and a soft-bristled scrubbing brush will get the oil from your fingers off.

I don't think Pledge is a good idea. Pledge is a coating meant to build up on the surface and repel dust and oil, it's not a detergent. But, YMMV.
Well, you can scrub your cymbals with a detergent and a brush... or you can wipe marks off easily with Pledge and a soft cloth. It requires one tenth the effort and is perfectly harmless. Your choice.

Not that I'm a big fan of cleaning cymbals either.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Well, you can scrub your cymbals with a detergent and a brush... or you can wipe marks off easily with Pledge and a soft cloth. It requires one tenth the effort and is perfectly harmless. Your choice.

Not that I'm a big fan of cleaning cymbals either.
It's not the time, it's that Pledge stays behind when you're done. Now you've replaced the oil and dust on your cymbal with Pledge. That's what it's designed to do.
 

Mike Armstrong

Senior Member
Just saw this thread.

Not long ago the rep for Paiste cymbals was over at MikesLessons for a Q&A/demonstration session. He said the best thing to use on cymbals is, Pledge, more specifically, plain old Regular Pledge. He explicitly said not to use anything citrus based on cymbals, I forget why but no Lemon Pledge, Orange Pledge ect. I assume this applies to all cymbal brands..
 

toddy

Platinum Member
is there any sonic benefit to cleaning cymbals? I love my dirty cymbals, specially my K light ride.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
I clean mine just 'cause I like how they look under stage lights. :) If I was playing jazz, or something... "earthier", I probably wouldn't. I use Zims on either finish, when I can find it.
 

Spinozalove

Senior Member
Always using gloves when touching them so as not to get finger prints on them? Isn't that a bit overkill? I never clean my cymbals personally. I like a bit of grime :)
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Zildjian A's and K's (non brilliants) don't suffer if you clean them. I've owned my current set for almost 20 years and have cleaned them several times and I do notice that after getting rid of years of dirt, grime, human acids, etc.,...after a good cleaning they sound shimmer-y and pristine and less gong-y.

I use a product called "Groove Juice" which is a lemon citrus-based product, and all you do is spray it on pretty liberally, wait a few seconds, use a sponge to kinda' scrub it a bit, and then rinse it off. Then flip it over and do it again. I usually do this on a table out in my backyard. The plates come out with a new shine and in most cases, completely clean.

I used to subscribe to the 'don't clean them' approach but I think as a cymbal gets dirtier, it gave me the impression that the cymbal is coming to the end of its life span, and this is definitely not true. Not having any money to buy new cymbals, I thought I'd try cleaning them, but of course, didn't want to work so hard. When my drum shop recommend the Groove Juice stuff, problem was solved! New-sounding cymbals with almost no work!
 

toddy

Platinum Member
yeah I bought some of that groove juice stuff (I just found a bottle lying next to my kit), but I haven't dared used it yet.
 

Mike Armstrong

Senior Member
Trying to remember but the 'no citrus' thing might have just been about not removing the printing on the cymbals, ie the Paiste logo. Or was it degradation of the metal itself? Ah heck, I don't remember!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Trying to remember but the 'no citrus' thing might have just been about not removing the printing on the cymbals, ie the Paiste logo. Or was it degradation of the metal itself? Ah heck, I don't remember!
I'm not a logo person, so if I lose those, that's fine. But I don't think Paiste falls into that traditional category because those cymbals have some kind of coating on them, yes? Paiste even tells you that all you should do is wipe them down so you don't take off that coating. That's why I pointed out 'non-brilliant' as well. That's a whole other class of cymbal I don't deal with.
 

Brundlefly

Senior Member
Just saw this thread.

Not long ago the rep for Paiste cymbals was over at MikesLessons for a Q&A/demonstration session. He said the best thing to use on cymbals is, Pledge, more specifically, plain old Regular Pledge. He explicitly said not to use anything citrus based on cymbals, I forget why but no Lemon Pledge, Orange Pledge ect. I assume this applies to all cymbal brands..
Yep. That's where I heard it. Being curious, I tried it. It works very well. Whatever it's "leaving behind" is hardly more significant than what other products leave behind, and they all do.
 

Homeularis

Gold Member
I'm not buying the whole old and dirty cymbals sound better thing.
I love the way new and/or clean cymbals sound.
I also like how older and dirtier cymbals sound.
So, Its about aesthetics for me and I like clean shiny cymbals.
I actually thought about using gloves as often as I could too, but in the end, It would be overkill, for me at least.
Thanks for the Pledge tip.
Oh, and I thought all Pledge had citrus in it. What other kind of Pledge is there that would be safe?.
 

Mike Armstrong

Senior Member
Oh, and I thought all Pledge had citrus in it. What other kind of Pledge is there that would be safe?.
Since I saw that about 'regular' Pledge I have been looking in the cleaning isles whenever I'm in a grocery store and so far it no longer exists :) It might have to be bought over the internet nowadays.
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
Since I saw that about 'regular' Pledge I have been looking in the cleaning isles whenever I'm in a grocery store and so far it no longer exists :) It might have to be bought over the internet nowadays.
Pledge Wipes. They are amazing for cymbal touch-ups and for getting fingerprints and dust off of your drums. I have a nice lacquer finish on mine and they look amazing after a quick wipe-down once a month.
 
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