14th October,  2018

How to clean the Oboe – Drying tricks to avoid water condensation

How to clean the Oboe

Drying tricks to avoid water condensation





Hi everyone! How are you? Welcome one more day to the Blog of MusicBayside.

I’m Nuria Cabezas and today I’ve prepared a post in which we can learn how to clean correctly the oboe after playing and drying tricks in order to avoid water condensation in the keys.

For this we will take into account the following aspects:


Oboe swab



I recommend using a two-piece swab, a narrow one for the upper body and a wider one for the lower body and the bell. With the one-piece cleaner there is a higher risk that it may get stuck in the upper body. We will clean each part separately, starting with the upper body, then the lower body and finish with the bell. Always introduce the cleaners by the widest end, which is, by the lower end of each part.

Pay also attention to the cork spikes unions, it’s also good to eliminate all the dirt in there. By doing that we extend the life of the corks.



Microfibre cleaning cloth




Clean the keys with a cleaning cloth. We will avoid corrosion with the passage of time by the sweat accumulated in the keys.







Clean between the keys with a thick brush to remove the dirty in the spaces we cannot reach with the cleaning cloth.


Cigarette paper




Dry the tone holes with cigarette paper or specialized one. Yamaha has cleaning and powder papers. I keep the packages almost as relics for many years and I think the price is quite high. We can reach similar results by using regular smoking paper.



Trick to avoid water condensation in the keys




We will inspire the air through the upper body of the oboe. We will cover the end with the ring finger of the right hand. With the left hand we will close the keys of B, A, G with the index, heart and annular fingers respectively. While we inspire we will be lifting the following keys to dry the oboe completely inside and avoid possible cracks and condensation in the octave keys.
– G, A, B
– G#
– C#-D trills
– Bridge union with F#
– 1st, 2nd and 3rd octaves keys

We will repeat the process as many times as necessary, making sure that the body of the instrument is completely dry.
Before packing the instrument back in the box we can place a piece of cigarette paper in the 1 and 2 octaves in the upper body. Also it may help introduce a piece of cork that lifts the bridge of union with the key of F#.


Why does condensation form in the octaves? How can we avoid it?





Condensation is the change of state of the air that is in gaseous form and warm and goes to liquid form, becoming drops of water in contact with a colder surface.
The air exhaled when we play the oboe passes through the instrument and its holes from the inside out. When we dry the instrument we must bring the air from the outside to the inside of the instrument by inhaling through it. We are doing the process in reverse now.
By doing that we make sure that it can be dried and that the instrument is in perfect conditions for the next session.


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If you want to see the full video about the How to clean the oboe and drying tricks, you can find it below:





I leave you here below the links of all the materials we have used for drying and cleaning the oboe, in case you may need them.

Cigarette Paper


Microfiber Cloth


Swab (1 piece)

Powder paper

Cleaning paper