[Harp-L] Curious about used harps and cleanliness

patpowers patpowers@xxxxx
Thu Jan 5 09:53:12 EST 2017

Ultrasonic cleaners great for removing particles and "gunk" without scrubbing, but do nothing to kill germs, viruses, or mold.  The water in the tank would have to be boiling hot to sanitize your harps, and water that hot can damage them.

Dish soap will foam like crazy in the ultrasonic, and leave an aftertaste in your harps.

Alcohol will sanitize, but doesn't remove gunk, and leaves an aftertaste in the harps.  

Nu-Calgon IMS II (roman numeral 2) is a sanitizing concentrate used to clean food dispensing equipment (developed for ice dispensers) that will completely sanitize your harmonicas without leaving an aftertaste.  Adding a tablespoon of the concentrate to the ultrasonic filled with hot tap water will do the trick.  The instructions say your don't have to rinse afterward, but I like to rinse the harps under hot tap water, shake as much water out as possible, pat them dry, and then let them sit out and dry for an hour or so.

The harps do not need to be disassembled for frequent sanitizing, but I like to completely disassemble them occasionally and clean all the parts well, regap, tune, etc... 

I think they just came out with IMS III, but IMS II is still available from most distributors - Either one will work just fine.


I hope this information helps. :)

Pat Powers
Allentown, PA

From: Tin Lizzie <TrackHarpL at xxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Curious about how the group feel about buying
        used harps and cleanliness

I would like to hear more about ultrasonic cleaners.  I have a ?household use? one that I bought decades ago, and I would be hard pressed to say that it does more than just buzz for three minutes.

Is there some magic cleaning solution that you have to add?  How about dish detergent?  Brands or types that are known to be effective or bogus?

Does anyone swear by them, or is there maybe some placebo effect going on?  (I?m all for the placebo effect, but I like to know when I?m getting it...)

Vern, you got any science about this for us?

Tin Lizzie

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