For the most part, cleaning 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.
TIPS ON HARMONICA CARE:
- Always keep it clean. Try to avoid excess saliva flow.
- 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.
- Rinse mouth with water before playing. Try to keep your mouth as clean as possible.
- Do not play while eating food or candy as this may have an adverse effect on the reeds.
- As a general rule, do not allow another person to play your harmonica.
- Keep the harmonica in its case when not in use.
- 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 will 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 will damage it beyond repair.