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How to Clean Your Saxophone for Beginner Players

How to Clean Your Saxophone for Beginner Players


It’s so important to keep your beginner saxophone clean and hygienic – now more than ever! Here I show you step by step how to clean your sax after each practice session.

We’ve all heard stories of sax players becoming sick because they never clean their saxophones. So it’s important to do some basic maintenance to keep your sax clean and safe to play.

In addition, cleaning your sax will help to keep it working properly and sounding great!

Don’t be tempted to take your sax apart to clean it. Even if you can put it back together, it might not play as well. 

When should you clean your sax?

It’s a great idea to get into the habit of cleaning your sax after each practice session or rehearsal, before you put it back into its case.

What You Need

I like to use a pull-through swab like this one. There’s a smaller cloth for the mouthpiece and neck, and a larger one for the body. They come in two sizes, for alto or tenor. They’re great for absorbing moisture inside your sax, and you can also use it to polish your sax. Throw the swabs in the washing machine when they need freshening up!

Some people use a padsaver which you leave inside your sax when you’re not playing it. Make sure you choose a good quality one so it doesn’t shed fibres inside your saxophone instrument. The disadvantage with these is that they keep the moisture inside your sax which isn’t good for the pads.

How to Clean Your Sax

Take care that your swab doesn’t get stuck inside! It should pull through easily.

To clean the mouthpiece and neck, start by taking off the ligature and the reed. Watch the video below to see how I use the smaller swab to clean the mouthpiece and neck.

Use your swabs to polish the outside of your sax and neck too to keep it looking great.

You can give your mouthpiece an extra deep clean by running it under cold water and cleaning it with an old toothbrush. Never use warm or hot water on your mouthpiece.

Ideally you should leave your mouthpiece off your sax to let your neck cork expand.

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