How do I prolong the life of my Harmonica? (+Care & Cleaning Tips)

Harmonicas don't wear out, but the reeds may go out of tune eventually. Reeds can last many few years, or can go flat sooner. It all depends on how much you play, and how hard you play. Some people play very hard and loud. This reduces the life of the reeds. So, playing softly will prolong the life of your reeds.

Another thing to consider for maintenance is when you're done playing you should tap the harmonica on your palm (holes down). This will help remove excess saliva and moisture from the harmonica. After that, leave the harmonica in its case with the cover open. Let it dry for a while before storing it.

Care and Cleaning of your Harmonica

For the most part, cleaning the inside of your harmonica is not necessary and should not be attempted. Parts of the instrument, including the reeds, reed plates, valves, and comb are very delicate and could damage easily. If you wish to clean the exterior parts such as the covers, mouthpiece, slide, etc, use a soft cloth with either soapy water or rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. If you disassemble your harmonica before cleaning, wait until the parts are completely dry before reassembling.


  1. Always keep it clean. Try to avoid excess saliva flow.
  2. After playing, tap the harmonica (holes down) several times against the palm of your hand. This will eject excess saliva and foreign substances. Allow your harmonica to dry completely before storing.
  3. Rinse mouth with water before playing. Try to keep your mouth as clean as possible.
  4. Do not play while eating food or candy as this may have an adverse effect on the reeds.
  5. As a general rule, do not allow another person to play your harmonica.
  6. Keep the harmonica in its case when not in use.
  7. Never soak, rinse, or boil a harmonica. A number of harmonica instruction books and other sources recommend this practice. However, soaking or boiling a harmonica may make painted surfaces peel, cause the wooden combs to warp or crack, promote corrosion of metal reeds and the reed plate, destroy the wind saving valves and void the warranty. In short, soaking or boiling your harmonica may damage it beyond repair.
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