While drums are one of the instruments with the most parts, most drummers don’t clean their kits anywhere near as frequently as their guitarist or bassist counterparts. However, while you may not clean your drumset once a week, let alone once a month, the need to keep your drums in prime condition is clear as a good drumset is not cheap.
The question remains—how can you clean your drums safely, keep the right tone of your cymbals, and save some time in doing so all at once? Well, the answer may be in choosing a quality drum cleaning kit and using it properly. But, what cleaners are best and why?
The drumset cleaning kits you choose are up to you and how thoroughly you wish to clean your drumset. If you are looking for a less thorough clean, the Trick Drums Care Kit is perfect. For a cost-effective and top-rated drum cleaning kit, the Chromacast Drum Polish and Cymbal Cleaner is a better fit. Lastly, for the most thorough and drumset-specific cleaning kits, the Dunlop System 65 Cymbal and Drum Care Kit and the Music Nomad Premium Drum and Cymbal Care System are simply best.
For more information on each of these kits as well as answers to the most common questions surrounding drum cleaning processes, we’ve put together breakdowns of each kit as well as tips regarding concerns that are sure to put any drummer at ease in no time so don’t hesitate to read on and rock on!
With so many different products on the market, it can be hard to know which are the most cost-effective and why. That’s why we’ve chosen to compile these five top contenders for you to make the process as easy as learning your very first backbeat.
- Trick Drums Care Kit
According to Musician’s Friend, “The Trick Drums care kit gives you everything you need to clean and polish your drums and cymbals. Trick Drum Polish is ideal for cleaning, polishing, and protecting the finish of painted, clear coated, powder coated, anodized, chrome, and plastic drum shells. Trick is anti-static and pH balanced, and is designed to easily remove dust, cigarette, smoke machine residue, sawdust, fingerprints, and water spots, while leaving a slick protective shine. Comes in a 4 oz. spray bottle. Trick Cymbal and Metal Polish cuts polishing time in half! It quickly and easily removes discoloration, tarnish, water spots, and rust. It renews, brightens, and protects while leaving a beautiful luster on all brands of cymbals. Ideal for use on brass, chrome, aluminum, copper, and stainless steel. 4 oz. flip-top bottle. Also included is a Trick microfiber polishing cloth. Safe, soft, and absorbent, the 12″ x 12″ Trick cloth grabs, lifts, and absorbs dust, dirt, and grime like a magnet, while safely polishing the instrument’s surface. This kit is safe for all finishes.” With this being said, this is the kit that is best for those looking for an all-around cleaner and also looking for a way to keep that crisp and brand new sound to their kits. Therefore, this is a great kit for metal and rock drummers as it keeps your cymbals sounding sharp and your drums as powerful as ever. If your band is looking for a more toned down sound that comes with age, this may not be the kit for you.
- ChromaCast Drum Polish and Cymbal Cleaner
The ChromaCast Drum Polish and Cymbal Cleaner Kit comes with both the drum polish and cymbal cleaner in 4 fluid ounce bottles along with a small microfiber cloth. This kit is not only the cheapest kit option on this list but is also one of the top rated for its price. As the company itself says, the kit is great for on-the-road drummers, studio drummers, and drummers that move in between practice spaces often as it is very compact, highly effective, and is sure to do the job with ease. To apply, simply put a small dab of either cleaner on a nonabrasive rag and use it in a circular motion. Once the cleaner is applied, you can then use your microfiber cloth to ensure that dust does not settle on your drumset before your next cleaning is due.
- System 65 Cymbal and Drum Care Kit
According to the Dunlop online store, the System 65 Cymbal and Drum Care Kit includes 65 Drum Shell Polish and Cleaner, 65 Cymbal Intensive Care, 65 Cymbal Cleaner, a Drum Cleaning Mitt, and care instructions. Both the cymbal cleaner and drum shell polish and cleaner come in 4 fluid ounce bottles while the intensive care cleaner only holds roughly two ounces. However, the intensive care cleaner is for more difficult cleaning processes and goes a long way for any drumset cleaning process.To apply any of these products, simply use the cleaning mitt, apply in small dabs to the mitt, and rub in a circular motion until you are satisfied with the results. This kit is sure to keep your kit clean and crisp guaranteed.
- MusicNomad Premium Drum & Cymbal Care System
Last but certainly not least, the Music Nomad Premium Drum and Cymbal Care System is referred to as ‘The Ultimate Professional Grade Four-piece Care Pack.’ In said kit, you will find 8 ounces of Acid-Free Cymbal Cleaner, 8 ounces of All Purpose Drum Detailer, and 2 Microfiber Towels. The acid-free cymbal cleaner is perfect for the drummer looking to clean their cymbals without affecting the sound or longevity of their cymbals whatsoever. Similarly, the drum detailer is great for cleaning the drum shells and heads without affecting the powder coating, clear coating, finish, or paint. This makes it the best kit on this list and also a viable option for cleaning drum hardware and thrones as well.
Can You Clean Your Drumset Without These Kits?
To answer this question in the simplest way possible, absolutely. In fact, other drum cleaning products differ in complexity from Brasso for cymbal cleanings all the way to vinegar, ketchup, and even Windex. Fortunately, most of these processes can be found in the Drums and Percussion category of this website.
However, for a basic breakdown of each alternative cleaning product, let’s start with Windex. Windex is a non-ammonia cleaner that is often used for glass but can also be used for any instrument that cannot handle the corrosive nature of bleach. For drummers specifically, Windex is best used to clean off drum heads, clean smudges off the sides of drums without eroding the finish, and for cleaning the metal stands and kick pedals. To use, it is best to spray on a lint-free cloth and then apply in a circular motion working outwards. The key is to not apply it directly to the drums as that can lead to unwanted moisture on the kit.
When it comes to using apple cider vinegar or ketchup, the main reason that these two products work is simply because they are non-ammonia but do have a certain corrosive element that is perfect for removing smudges, stick marks, and grime buildup on cymbals. To use, simply apply either of these products onto the cymbals, scrub with a soft sponge, and then rinse with water before hand-drying thoroughly. You can also use Brasso to clean your cymbals in a similar way although this may remove the age of your cymbals and may lead to a crisper sounding cymbal that lacks the dulling of an older one.
If you are worried about affecting the sound of your drums by using any of the products listed either in the kits or in this alternative set of cleaning supplies, simply read on to see exactly how they affect the tone of your drumset and what you can do to keep your drums sounding rich on recordings and in live sessions guaranteed.
Will Cleaning Your Drumset Make it Sound Different?
While a novice drummer may not be able to tell the difference between a new and old drumset, any drummer involved in recording or studio drumming specifically is sure to know that older drum heads and cymbals are best for rich sounds and fuller drum set performances.
However, this highly sought after sound is truly based on the age of the drums and how little they are cleaned and cared for actually. In fact, some drummers have been known to bury their cymbals in the dirt simply to replicate the aged sound without waiting for them to naturally achieve them.
As such, the question as to whether or not cleaning your drums will affect their sound comes to mind often for drummers looking into any cleaning kits. Fortunately, cleaning your drum kit with non-corrosive and non-ammonia cleaners—especially drum-specific kits—is sure to keep your drums in perfect condition and not affect their sound negatively in the slightest.
What About Cleaning Your Drum Throne?
While cleaning your actual drumset is highly important, arguably the most used part of your drumset and the one that must be cleaned most often is your drum throne. As such, this is usually the final question drummers have when buying a drum cleaning kit is whether or not these products can be used for the throne as well.
Fortunately, in our article entitled How do You Clean a Drum Throne, this question and many more can be answered. Not only do we explain exactly how to clean your drum throne without damaging it but we even discuss the dreaded topic of foul odor and how to eliminate it once and for all as well.
In the end, cleaning your drum set may be a difficult process but with any of the drum cleaning kits above, this arduous task becomes a thing of the past in no time. All it takes is a bit of elbow grease and the right cleaning supplies to leave your drum kit as pristine as the day you bought it.
If you want to know more about cleaning specific drums such as your highly important and complicated snare drum, feel free to check out our similar articles such as Easy Steps for Cleaning a Snare Drum Head today!