Friday, September 4, 2015

Cleaning up those Glockenspiels!

A local church called me up a few months ago saying they had some old Orff instruments that they would like to donate to my program.  I was ecstatic!  I saw the instruments and politely smiled with a Thank You!

They weren't kidding when they said they had some OLD instruments!  One of the instruments was a glockenspiel that included rust, tarnish, rubber band stickiness, and striped pegs.  It played in tune, but getting my students past the stains and discolorations was not a battle I wanted to fight.

Since it was donated, I was willing to try and fix it up, not knowing if I would accidentally ruin it.  Thankfully, a parent was working at school the day I tried fixing it up and she suggested baking soda and vinegar!  Seemed like a safer bet than chemicals so I gathered the supplies and tried!

Baking Soda
Medium Cup
Soft Cloth (I used a disposable dish cloth)
Clean Water
Metal Oil (I used rotor oil because that's what I had)

Fill the cup about 1/2 full with vinegar and place a bar in the cup.  Slowly add about a teaspoon of baking soda.  WARNING: baking soda and vinegar volcano! (that's why we filled the cup only half way full!)  Soak the bar until the bubbles eat away all the grime.  You may have to add more baking soda to elicit more reaction.

As needed, soak the flip side of the bars as well.  Use a soft cloth to gently rub the bars.  Rinse the bars in clean water and wipe a small amount of oil on the bar with another cloth.



The rubber band stain didn't come off, and they don't particularly *shine* but the rust is off and they look much cleaner!  I put new rubber tubing on but am still waiting to buy new nails. Tuning is still spot on too!  I'm quite happy with how it turned out!


  1. I love seeing before and after pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I found your this post while searching for some related information on thread search. ..Its a good post..keep posting and update the information. Regards: Vacate Cleaning

  3. I used this tip to clean my glockenspiels last night. I've been teaching at my school for a few years now, and mine had old masking tape and sticker residue on them. They look so good now, and my students and I will be happy to use them a lot more often!

  4. Is your glockenspiel bars are aluminum? I have a marimba made of aluminum bars is it possible to use this in cleaning ingredients?tnx

  5. I just cleaned mine tonight! If you use some steel wool it will give it the shine and clean the rust, you don’t even need any type of cleaning solution!

    1. Using anything too harsh may alter the purity of the note.