Thursday, March 10, 2016

How to Oil a Clarinet

Oiling a clarinet will ensure that your instrument maintains a high degree of moisture. It will also help the clarinet maintain its sound. Apply oil only to the inside barrel of the instrument, never to the outside of the clarinet or the pads. A cleaning cloth will suffice to clean the outside parts. Oiling should only be done when you feel the clarinet has lost some of its weight.


  1. Shake the bottle of bore oil thoroughly.
  2. Thread one corner of the cloth through the loop in the top of the cleaning rod.
  3. Fold the tip of the cloth over the top of the cleaning rod to prevent damage from the cleaning rod head.
  4. Wrap the cloth tightly around the cleaning rod several times to create an effective applicator.
  5. Hold the end of the cloth in place with your hand, or place a rubber band around it.
  6. Apply some bore oil to your hand. Work the oil up and down to lightly saturate the cloth, but do not let any oil touch the main instrument.
  7. Twist the rod gently into the barrel of the clarinet. Turn the rod in the same direction that you rolled the cloth. Complete this process three times to ensure an even application within the bore. Oil the bell and upper joint after the barrel is oiled.


Do not use Linseed or Walnut oil on the clarinet bore. These oils will dry out the wood. Repairing dry and cracked wood can be very expensive, and in many cases, it may prove to be impossible.