If you have a drum set and want to keep it in great condition, then you need to clean it regularly. This improves both the sound and the durability of your set.
If you have an old drum set that has been sitting around for many months without being played, then more work will need to be done to get the dust and dirt off. This article discusses how to clean an old drum set at home with minimal tools–no matter how much time or money you have!
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An old drum set may seem like it's too far gone, and you may be noticing that the set is deteriorating or sounding off due to age. However, you can likely restore this set! You'll need to take the set apart and clean each item individually.
Firstly, you'll want to gather materials. You will need the following items for a deep clean of an older drum set:
- A low tack tape such as masking or painting tape
- Fine steel wool or sandpaper (300-600 grit)
- A 1-inch brush
- An old toothbrush
- A microfiber towel
- A wood conditioner
- A can of compressed air, like the ones used for computers or electronics.
- A chrome polisher
- WD40 or a similar lubricant product
- A mixture of 1 part water and 1 part soap
- Petroleum Jelly
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Tools for disassembling your drum kit
As you take your drum set apart, be careful to avoid scratching the surface with your tools. If you're not sure how to take it apart, then consult a manual that came with your drum set or watch videos on YouTube for help.
Make sure to stay organized as you disassemble your set. You'll want to place hardware in one spot, metal pieces in another spot, and wooden pieces in a third area. This is important to do because you'll be cleaning each type of material with a different cleaner and it's much easier to have them all gathered and ready to go.
Once all the pieces of your drumset are laid out, you'll need to brush off any chips on the surface of your rims. Drum rims can become chipped due to abuse or old age and these chips can cause your drums to sound terrible.
Use a brush with small bristles such as an art paintbrush, a toothbrush, or even the handle of a spoon to scrub off any loose debris on your rims that might have been left behind by other products you've used in the past. You'll know they're finished when they're shiny and there isn't any build-up of debris left.
It is very important that you protect the wood surface on your rims from being scratched by rubbing them down with low-tack tapes such as masking or painting tape. This will prevent any damage to the wood and will also prevent you from having to apply this later down the road.
Mix together either one part soap and one part water, or vinegar with a small amount of water in order to create your cleaning solution. Dampen a cloth then use it to wipe down your rims with the soap solution. The cloth should be in contact with the surface of your drum, but not rubbing it too hard to avoid scratching or damaging the wood's surface.
After you've used your soapy water and wiped off any residue from that process, then use a clean cloth to rinse the surface of your drum rums. You'll want to use just enough water so that it washes away any soap or dirt left behind from the cleaning process.
Next, you will need to wipe down your drums with a towel to pick up any remaining dust or fibers on them. This is important because any remaining debris can scratch the surface.
You'll want to use a rag or microfiber towel then wipe in one direction. Keep your pressure medium-light so that you don't damage the surface of your drums.
After you've cleaned, dried, and dusted your rims, then it's time to polish your drum rims with a chrome polisher and some petroleum jelly or WD40. The reason for using petroleum jelly is that it will help prevent rust from forming on the surface of metal drum parts in the future as well.
Once you've polished your drum rims, then it's time to condition them. You can do this by rubbing a wood conditioner on the surface of each rim with an old toothbrush or cloth dipped in some warm water and soap. This will help make sure that your drums last longer and sound better over time.
You'll want to use chrome polish on any drum hardware that is made out of metal and will need cleaning. Put some polish liquid onto a cotton pad or cloth then rub it directly onto the hardware so that you can remove build-up or scratches from the surface.
Finally, you'll want to wipe down the hardware on your drumset with some petroleum jelly or WD40 after polishing. This will not only clean the surface of metal but also protect it from rusting in the future.
You may also find areas of rust on your hardware. If that's the case, then you'll need to use fine steel wool or sandpaper and scrub those areas away from any metal surfaces on your drums.
To polish your cymbals, you'll need to use a cloth or paper towel dipped in the same solution that you used on your drum rims. This should remove any build-up and help them shine brightly once again.
If there are areas of rust on your cymbal surface, then use the same process as before and rub a conditioner directly onto them. Make sure that you're doing this with an old toothbrush or cloth so that there is no scratching happening while cleaning your cymbals.
You'll need to polish the wooden sections of your drum set in order to restore any wood surfaces that may have become blemished. This includes the bass drum, toms, and snare drum.
The way you do this is by using a ball of fine steel wool or sandpaper and rubbing it directly onto the surface with light pressure so that you don't scratch anything while working on them. When all blemishes are buffed out, use a conditioner or lemon oil to wipe the surfaces clean and leave a protective coat on them.
You'll want to use some rubbing alcohol for this process and pour it onto your drum head, then rub in circular motions with an old toothbrush or metal scraper until all debris is removed from the surface of your drum heads. Rinse off any leftover liquid with water and then dry the surface of your drums.
Once you've cleaned any excess residue from your drum heads, you can apply a thin coating of linseed oil to the surface. This will make sure that your heads don't dry out or crack over time, and it should help them last longer as well.
You'll want to use a cloth with some soapy water and wipe down both the stick itself as well as any contact points like where there's been wear from your hands on it or where you hold the sticks together for storage. Make sure that these areas are completely dry before storing them
First, put everything together carefully by hand and screw your set together as tightly as possible. Then you can take additional tools to tighten your set completely. Make sure to go slowly and carefully through this process so that you don't end up damaging any of the surfaces or hardware on your drums.
Daily maintenance of your drum kit will take a matter of minutes. However, older sets may have oxidation, rust, scratches, and other blemishes that may require more effort to remove.
If you have an older drum set, you will want to set aside three to five hours for cleaning it. This is because you will most likely need to disassemble it, clean it, polish it, and condition it to return it to its original state.
It may help to have a friend help you through this process, but it's not absolutely necessary. They can help with disassembly and reassembly and help you to keep your “cleaning stations” clean and organized.
How Often Should I Clean My Drum Set?
You should clean your drumset once a month. Take a washcloth with 1 part soap and 1 part water and wipe the entire set down. Once a year, you should disassemble your kit and clean each piece individually.
If you play your drums regularly, then you may need to clean them more often than once a month. Pay close attention to the areas of your drumset that get the most contact with dust or other particles.
If you don't use your drum set regularly, you may want to consider a drum set dust cover or other protective covering that will keep them from getting dusty. These are sold in many music stores and can be a great way to protect your drums from dust or anything else that may cause damage.
The best way to clean a drum set is by using a cleaner that won't scratch the surface of your drum set or fade the colors of your drums. You can use soap and water, a mixture of vinegar and water, or lemon juice to clean your set.
Here is the process for your regular monthly cleaning. You will need a towel or cloth and one of these cleaners: soap and water, vinegar and water, lemon juice. If you want to use an old rag instead of paper towels then be sure that it's not made of a material that will scratch the surface or fade your drums.
- Wipe down all surfaces with a damp towel to get rid of dust and any loose dirt particles.
- Mix together either 1 part soap and 1 part water, 1 part vinegar and 1 part water, or lemon juice in a bowl.
- Use the damp cloth to wipe down your entire drum set.
- To clean the outside of your drums, use some warm water and soap in a bucket or sink.
- Use an old toothbrush dipped in soapy water for scrubbing off any dust that has collected in hard-to-reach spots.
- Clean the inside of your drums with a cloth or brush dipped in soapy water.
- Rinse your drum set with clean, warm water to get rid of any soap residue leftover on the surface.
- After you've cleaned your drums and wiped down all surfaces with a damp towel to remove dust and dirt particles, then use another dry towel for wiping off anything left over from the cleaning process.
- Double-check to make sure the entire drum set is completely dry to avoid any problems with the drum set, such as wood cracking or loosening.
It is important that you do not use any cleaning chemicals or solvents on a set of old drums as these can damage the drum surface. Chemical cleaners are also more expensive, so it is best to avoid them.
If you're using a household cleaner with your drum set, you will want to make sure that it is non-abrasive and that it doesn't have any effect on the color of the drums. Many household cleaners have chemicals that will strip away the color from your drums and leave them looking ugly.
If you want to use a household cleaner, make sure that it is an all-purpose cleaner or one specifically for cleaning wood surfaces. You may also find cleaners for drum sets at music stores if you have any trouble finding something suitable.
Here are some common household cleaners that you can use:
- Ammonia-free glass cleaner
- Goo Gone
- 409 multi-purpose cleaner
- Castile Soap
Make sure not to use any products that contain ammonia. Ammonia can strip away the finish on your drums and make them look dull, or even ruin their appearance entirely!
A used drum set, on average, will cost about $300-$1000. Since this is about 20% of the total cost of a new drum kit, purchasing one used and cleaning it up is a great way to get a great deal on a quality instrument.
However, you'll want to take a good look at the used set you want to purchase and assess its condition. If the drums are in good shape, then it's a great bargain for you!
If you're not sure about how old the drums you're considering purchasing are, there's a way to tell. The original drum sets will be stamped on the inside of each shell with the date and serial number. If it doesn't say anything, then they may have been repainted or otherwise altered.
If you are buying a used drum set, make sure that the seller has all hardware and cymbals included in the sale price. If they don't or if there is any question about it, you may want to walk away from the deal because this could mean that parts will be missing or that there's something wrong with the set.
It's best to see your used drum set in person so that you can make sure that it's functional and will be possible to clean. Look for areas of the drums that are scratched, worn, or have rust on them.
Check out the drum heads and see if they can be conditioned, or if they will have to be replaced. Look over all of the hardware as well to see if you'll need to replace that.
It's also a good idea to test out the drums and cymbals before you buy them so that you can be sure they work properly. All of this preparation before purchasing will help you to make sure you stay within budget.
You'll also have a good idea of how much work it will take to clean the set and return it to its original state.
A drum kit can be a significant investment and it's important to take care of it! Remember the basic steps for daily maintenance and you'll be able to preserve its quality and value for many years to come.
Sometimes we are presented with an older vintage drum kit that needs a lot of love. Perhaps you inherited a drum kit or purchased one at a garage sale. These sets are often still very useful. With time, patience, and the right materials, you can bring your vintage kit back to life and get it looking and sounding like new once more.