September 13, 2013 at 10:53 am #28718
I’m looking for a way to seriously sanitize some sax/clarinet reeds. They are expensive, and I hate throwing away a good reed. I mostly get them because students use school instruments and they are left in the cases. Is there a way to sterilize a batch of them so I can feel comfortable letting students use them on a day that they didn’t bring their instrument or reed? I currently have a bottle of isopropyl alcohol and some hydrogen peroxide in my classroom. I’m thinking maybe vodka or Listerine, or some kind of solution? Thoughts? Is this a really bad idea?September 13, 2013 at 11:02 am #28719
I just use mouthpiece sanitizer in a spray bottle, and Listerine might be similar? Check the ingredients on the bottles. It’s definitely not ideal and not very good for the reeds, but it’s better than nothing. Vodka is probably not a good idea, and I’m not sure about hydrogen peroxide. Sanitizer and Listerine are foodsafe and made to be used in/near the mouth.September 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm #28781
Personally, I would never use a reed if I didn’t know where it had been–not even if it looks new. Yeah, they cost money, but in the grand scheme of things they’re not that expensive, especially if you’re concerned about the kids’ health. I’d rather be comfortable knowing the kids are all using their own reeds than go to the time and trouble of sanitizing old reeds that are either way old or possibly previously played (or both). I wouldn’t find those reeds dear–on the contrary, I’d find them disposable.
Often I’ll find a reed on the floor of the band room after a rehearsal, and even if it looks brand new, it goes straight to the garbage.
Would you personally use a reed that has an unknown past? Or would you feel better playing them new out of the box?
N. B.: Vodka would be a real bad idea. Seriously, it could conceivably get you in a lot of trouble, for obvious reasons.October 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm #29897
I charge my students $3 per reed; they then keep them and use them until they wear out. If they don’t have money with them, they can pay me within the week (I have an IOU list that I keep with the reed boxes). They can also arrange to do 15-20 minutes of filing with the band librarian before or after school, clean the storage closet, or another band room ‘chore’…or they can bring me a brand new one from their ‘box at home’…(which I check!) as a trade. I wouldn’t even want to try sanitizing reeds…October 22, 2013 at 12:16 am #30908
If you’re really in a pinch, as a last resort Hydrogen Peroxide will get the job done. However, I think that making the kids pay or do work for a new reed is the best idea. All health issues aside, it’s ideal to practice on the reed you want to be performing on (to an extent). No one wants to break in a new reed a few days before a concert, or during the concert. Each reed plays differently than another, and I think it’s important that the students understand just how much a difference the reeds make. I’d try to be proactive, and encourage students to have a stock of reeds, and try to have them rotating 2-3 decent, playing reeds at a time, in order to avoid wearing a single reed out. I understand that this is the most ideal situation, so if matters prevent that, I’d use watered down Listerine or Hydrogen Peroxide.October 23, 2013 at 12:04 am #30964
Hydrogen Peroxide can work in a pinch, but isn’t recommended for continual use. As has been stated, it is advised to use new reeds. Every read play different, and encouraging students to discover this by breaking in their own is beneficial to them. It may hurt to toss out reeds that appear to be well off, but having the students keep their own stock of reeds will help out more than giving them used ones. This follows along with giving the student a sense of responsibility to take care of their own reeds, and accountability for having their own as well. If it is not ideal for your situation, using watered down hydrogen peroxide will be perfectly acceptable.October 23, 2013 at 11:13 pm #31654
I personally carry Listerine, and the germicide/ mouthpiece sanitizer products offered by the local music stores for what I call emergency situations. I only use it for mouthpieces or to wipe an instrument down. I still question whether this is really sanitary. My belief is once someone uses a reed it theirs.
One of the obligations of playing a woodwind instrument is having reeds, and students should normally have more than one reed in their case. I do keep some cheap unknown brand name reeds for these types of situations, or for the students to try out instruments, or mouthpieces. I normally break the tip and throw them away after being used.
Snedekerj282 shares my concerns with student health issues. I would never use a previously played reed, so why would I expect my students to do it.
Frhorngal has the best solution. The 15-20 minute band librarian idea takes care of any students with financial challenges.
In my opinion, yes it’s a bad idea to try and sanitize reeds.
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