Help for Moldy Reeds

Get rid of mold on bassoon reeds

Reeds that are stored in wet, moist, or humid environments often grow mold (sometimes referred to as mildew). I’ve compiled advice from many bassoonists on how to get rid of the mold once you have it. I’ve also written up advice for preventing mold in the first place. You don’t have to do all of the items on each list to get the desired result. You may only need to do one thing or a combination of a few. I’ve marked the methods I personally use with this:

How to Get Rid of Mold on Reeds

  • Throw the reed away
  • Soak the reed in one of these:
    • hydrogen peroxide and water in a 1:2 ratio
    • mouthwash (be sure to rinse with water afterward)
    • vodka
    • highly diluted vinegar
    • two drops of oil of oregano in water
    • bleach (be sure to rinse VERY thoroughly)
  • Get a new mold-free reed case

 How to Prevent Mold from Happening

  • Make sure your reeds are really dry before storing them
  • Use a well-ventilated reed case (I have been using an altoids case with three holes drilled in it for over a decade)
  • Blow excess water from your reeds before storing them (turn the reed around and blow through the butt end so the water comes out the tip)
  • Brush your teeth (or at least rinse your mouth out) before playing
  • Clean your bocal
  • Rotate your reeds so that you don’t play on the same reed two days in a row
  • Add some vodka to your reed water to prevent mold from growing
  • Rinse reeds in fresh water after each use
  • Spray your reed case with Lysol
  • Store your reed case in your bassoon case’s outer pocket
  • Soak your reed in water (not just in your mouth!) by completely submerging it
  • Change your reed water every day
  • Regulate the humidity of your reed case with a humidifier/humidistat

Thanks to all the bassoonists who left their advice on the Bassoonists United Facebook page. Also thank you to and the IDRS Forums (here) for the great advice! You might also find this post interesting. It’s about keeping your reeds perpetually submerged in vodka.

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