Cymbals are an essential component of your drum set. Without them, it’s challenging to deliver a distinctive sound and style all your own (unless you’re Thom Sonny Green from Alt J and don’t use cymbals).
However, after months of gigging, practicing, and jamming in the garage, cymbals can become dirty and discolored, losing their shine. Not only does this affect the way they look, but also the way they sound.
Luckily, you can maintain the sound and appearance of your cymbals with a high-quality cymbal cleaner. But, of course, with such a wide range of options on the market, finding the right one can be a challenge.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best cymbal cleaners available, their unique features, and what makes them stand out from the competition, so you can make an informed decision and keep your cymbals looking and sounding their best.
Groove Juice Cymbal Cleaner
With affordability, versatility, and easy application, Groove Juice cymbal cleaner tops our list. This ultra-versatile cymbal cleaner can be spritzed directly on your cymbals to make them look new.
When I use Groove Juice, I place my cymbal in the shower or sink and spray the solution onto the cymbal’s surface, ensuring it covers it in its entirety. Then, let it rest for about 30 seconds before rinsing it off. Once rinsed, use a lint-free cloth to dry it quickly.
It’s worth noting that Groove Juice emits a powerful odor, so make sure you have some ventilation in the space you’re cleaning in. It’s also essential to be careful with Groove Juice around your logos, as it can remove them if you let it sit on them for too long. I recommend covering up the logos on your cymbals with electrical tape before you dive in for the cleaning.
Lizard Spit Cymbal Cleaner
Lizard Spit is a spray-on cymbal cleaner made for direct application to the cymbal, similar to Groove Juice. However, this cleaner only takes around ten seconds to get the job done before you have to wipe it using a lint-free cloth.
While the product is a bit more logo-friendly than Groove Juice, if you clean it enough, the logo will come off eventually. Most of this has to do with the fact that Lizard Spit isn’t as tough of a cleaner as Groove Juice.
One thing worth noting is that Lizard Spit is an environmentally-friendly product. The company has a versatile line of cleaning products, from guitar fretboard conditioners to drum shell polishes. In addition, every product from the Lizard Spit factory is made with organic ingredients in-house.
So not only will your cymbals be clean, but you’ll also positively impact the environment.
Music Nomad Cymbal Cleaner
The cymbal cleaner from Music Nomad is a cream-based cleaner that you apply directly to the cymbal’s surface and buff before wiping it off.
Cleans, polishes, and protects brilliant finishes (not for use on matte finishes)
One of the main downsides to this particular cymbal cleaner is that you will need to spend more time buffing it in, though the result is worth the extra work, as it leads behind a shimmering cymbal, nothing short of radiant and brilliant.
Music Nomad claims that the product will not remove logos as it is acid-free. They also say that when buffed in properly, their cymbal cleaner leaves behind a protective layer that minimizes oxidation down the line.
If you’re willing to work extra for shimmering cymbals, look no further than the Music Nomad Cymbal Cleaner.
Buckaroo Cymbal Cleaner
The handy dandy Buckaroo Cymbal Cleaner has been on the market since 1967 and has been a top-rated product for drummers of all shapes and sizes who want to give their cymbals a brand-new shine.
This cymbal cleaner product leaves a brilliant finish and comes with the applicator within the included tin, with some of the cleaner already applied.
All you have to do is rip off a small portion of the applicator and wipe it onto your cymbal in a circular motion before wiping it off using a dry lint-free cloth. Then, you can repeat the process until your cymbal gets the shine you want.
Zildjian Brilliant Cymbal Cleaning Polish
The Zildjian Brilliant Cymbal Cleaning Polish is another cream-based polishing product that you can apply to your cymbal and rub for an extra shine.
You’ll want to be careful when rubbing it over the logos, as it can strip them off the cymbal’s surface. You can wipe the circular motion for about 15 before using another dry, lint-free cloth to wipe the solution off.
Like the cymbal cleaner from Music Nomad, the Zildjian Brilliant Cymbal Cleaning Polish leaves a protective coating behind when you are done, keeping the cymbal shining brightly for much longer.
Do I Need To Clean My Cymbals?
Many drummers out there never clean their cymbals, as they believe the old and worn look of a used cymbal is more appealing. Plus, just like a set of old bass strings, worn cymbals can provide a unique sound that you might like,
How Often Do I Need to Clean My Cymbals?
If you have cymbals with a brilliant finish, you’ll want to clean them after each use to keep them shining, prevent corrosion, and prolong their lives.
Can I Clean My Cymbals with WD40?
Go onto almost any drumming forum around the internet, and we guarantee you’ll find at least one or two people recommending WD40 to clean their cymbals. WD-40 is a petroleum-based product initially created to displace water.
While many drummers have used WD40 on their cymbals to get rid of fingerprints and clean up unwanted dirt, the product was not made for cleaning cymbals, so it’s vital to approach using it at your own risk.
With all of that said, keeping your cymbals clean is not mandatory. You may prefer your aged cymbals’ old worn look and sound if you try cleaning them.
However, if you’re going to clean your cymbals, test out a couple of the products above to find the right one that brings a sparkle to your eye.