Plastic Recorder Care Guide

Plastic recorders may seem indestructible, but they do require some basic care to keep them in good playing condition.

  • Preventing clogging: Plastic recorders tend to clog more easily than
    wooden instruments. This is because condensation is created when your warm breath hits the cold plastic of the head joint. To minimize clogging, warm up the head joint before playing, aiming to get it as close to body temperature as is practical. This can be accomplished by holding the head joint under your arm or in your hand, or by putting it in your pocket for a few minutes.

    Treatment of the windway with dilute detergent (duponol) will also alleviate serious clogging problems. To treat the windway, remove the head joint and check that it is thoroughly dry. Holding the head joint over a sink,
    seal the mouthpiece (1) with your finger and fill the windway from the window side (4) with dilute detergent. Hold in the detergent for a few seconds, then let it drain into the sink. Cover the end of the head joint (5) with the palm of your hand and blow into the window (4) to expel any excess detergent from the windway. Let dry.

    Some players are “wetter” than others. For those who have especially bad clogging problems, avoid eating or drinking right before playing to reduce saliva production.

  • Cleaning your recorder: Windways do get dirty, especially if you eat right before playing. Plastic instruments can be cleaned using warm soapy water. Do not wash instruments in the dishwasher as the heat can warp the instrument.


  • Storing your instrument: Use the protective plastic tenon (joint) caps that came with your instrument when storing plastic altos, tenors and basses away in their cases. This will prevent the greased joints from picking up grit that could abrade and eventually loosen the joints.

    Always store your instrument in its case to prevent damage to the labium (2) and keys, both critical areas of the instrument.

  • Protecting the keys: Do not grip the instrument over the keys, as they can be damaged. Only handle the instrument in keyless areas.


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