If food or sediment/silt of any kind collects inside the mouthpiece the throat and backbore may gradually become "congested", causing
the airway to narrow, which can interfere with the response, tone quality and intonation of the instrument.
As Vincent Bach said:
"..choosing the perfect mouthpiece is often more difficult than choosing the perfect instrument."
So if you have managed to acquire the perfect mouthpiece, care and cleaning will prolong its life and help achieve a more powerful and a clearer sound.
- Regular (weekly-ish) mouthpiece care - depending on how much you play
- Always remove the mouthpiece from the instrument after playing
- Shake it fairly vigorously to remove most of the moisture
- Use a dry, preferably lint-free cloth (microfibre cloths are very good for this) will eradicate the rest.
- For a slightly more thorough clean, products specifically made to disinfect mouthpieces (AWM Steri-Spray Mouthpiece Disinfectant) can be used,
but not as a substitute for "deep cleaning", and the mouthpiece will still need to be rinsed after use.
- Wipe the mouthpiece with a warm, soapy cloth (washing-up liquid, any mild soap will do. Do not use bleach or strong detergents)
- Monthly cleaning, or when the mouthpiece begins to feel as if it is not blowing freely
- The inside of the mouthpiece is best cleaned using a mouthpiece brush such as the Superslick - which will loosen any "crud" but is not abrasive.
- Rinse the mouthpiece again with clean water to get rid of the debris and the cleaning fluid.
- Dry using a cloth as before and leave it for a while before putting away, so that it is completely dry before you put it back in the case.
- If the silver (or gold) plating on the mouthpiece has worn off, the mouthpiece should either be refinished or discarded as
exposure to raw brass is not a good idea, especially for the lips and mouth - it can lead to an allergic reaction or poisioning.