One of the biggest questions asked by new and experienced ocarina players alike is, “What is the best way to clean my ocarina?” The ocarina actually requires very little maintenance as long as it’s well taken care of (wash your hands before playing, don’t play right after eating, don’t spill anything on it, etc). But, in order to keep your ocarina in tip-top shape, here are a few tips to clean your ocarina inside and out!
Tip 1) Wipe the outside with a damp cloth
In most cases, this should not do any harm to the ocarina, especially if it’s ceramic and glazed. If your ocarina is burnished (polished without a glaze) or strawfired, it should still be fine, but make sure the cloth isn’t too wet. The part you’ll especially want to wipe is the mouth piece (where you put your lips).
Tip 2) Give a sharp “Draw” right after playing
Because the ocarina lacks a spit valve, it’s always best to give a sharp draw (or suck) right after playing. Yes, this is a little gross. But hey…it’s just your saliva, and you don’t want it to clog your ocarina’s windway. If you forget to draw after playing and your saliva dries out, it should be fine.
Tip 3) Use a needle to clean out mouth piece
Sometimes you’ll find some dried up gunk at the opening of the windway and the easiest way to clean it out is with a small needle or safety pin. Just gently move it back and forth along the edge and when you’re done, follow the next step.
Tip 4) Give it a sharp blow
This will blow out any thing you loosened during the last step, but may also help clear anything lodged towards the back of the windway. The best way to do this is to cover all the tone holes (finger holes) and blow the heck out of it! After one or two tries, the windway should be clear, but if not, try our last tip.
Tip 5) Push a strip of paper down the windway
Get some newspaper or advertisement paper and roll it up until it is small enough to fit into the mouthpiece, but just thick enough so it won’t tear or break. Push it down the windway until you can see it at the “sound hole” or window and then pull it in and out several times to clear it out. Alternatively, you could also use a pipe cleaner. After this, give it one more sharp blow and you should be good to go!
What did you think of these tips? Do you have any ocarina cleaning stories or tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!