Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cleaning Recorders

Every year clean-up is such a long process!  My last rotation is always centers for all my classes.  It's great review and fun for them, while it allows me to start cleaning instruments to be put away.  I can sit myself by the sink and see everyone while I work.

(Sorry for the dark pic.  My 5th graders rehearsed the song for their ceremony 
this morning and we had a bit of extra time.  Since it wasn't enough to start a game, 
we watched, dare I say it, a video!  While they watched, I cleaned.)

One of the things I make sure to spend a good amount of time cleaning are recorders.  Although I clean them after every use and run them through the dishwasher a couple of times per year, I like to scrub them by hand (I know....Eew!) before putting them away for the summer.  There are a couple of reasons why I do this.

1.  Although the dishwasher does a great job of sanitizing the instruments, it never really gets that icky build up in those tiny grooves on the instrument.  Gross!  I use a brand new sponge with a scrub pad to really get in there.

2.  Greasing the joints.  I take the instrument completely apart, again to get in all the nooks and crannies, and to take the opportunity to grease the joints.  I can't stand it when one of the instruments is twisted and I can't correct it to allow for proper hand technique.  Taking this step saves me time the following year and makes sure that the kids can easily twist joints into the proper alignment.

Here's how I go about doing this:

1.  Fill a bucket with water and lysol.
2.  Place all recorders in the sink.
3.  Take several recorders apart and drop them in the bucket.
4.  Scrub them and set them to dry on the rack (don't reassemble yet).
5.  Allow to dry.
6.  Grease the joints (vaseline will work).
7.  Reassemble and place in container for storage.

I have to repeat these steps several times because my recorders won't fit, disassembled, on the pegs at the same time.

Tip:  If you have stuck recorders, take a couple of foam sheets or sheets of paper towel.  These will help create friction.  I used a combo.  Paper towel in one hand, foam sheet in the other.

It may take a bit of time but it's worth knowing that they are ready for the following year.

I only have 6 more days!!!  I can't wait to soak up some sunshine!!!


  1. Are these school purchases recorders? I am a first year teacher and we just purchased recorders for my classes and I didn't know if I should sanitize them or let the students keep them at the end of the year :-/ Anyway I love you blog and thank you for sharing you ideas :)

    1. I offer my students the chance to purchase their own recorder at the beginning of the year, however not everyone buys their own. For those who do not have their own instrument, I have music room recorders. I like to have at least two class sets worth so that I don't have to wash instruments in the middle of class. These instruments are kept in the music room from year to year. I don't send them home with the kids. If I did that I would be purchasing around 200 recorders every year, not happening on my budget. You can use sterisol to soak your recorders between uses or I use lysol,

    2. How much water and how much Lysol in the mix to clean the recorders?


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