Learning to play a musical instrument has many well-known advantages, but sharing wind instruments can spread disease-causing bacteria and other germs, researchers warn.
The method the researchers employed to test the instruments involved using a pump, an aerosol generator and simulated playing. They found that after applying E. coli, Staphylococcus and a deactivated strain of tuberculosis bacteria to a clarinet, cultures showed that the bacteria survived for up to a few days on the instrument. The deactivated strain of tuberculosis bacteria, in particular, survived for nearly two weeks.
Don't share. Whenever possible, instrumentalists should have their own instruments, mouthpieces and reeds.
Clean after every use. If an instrument is shared or obtained from a commercial source, it should be disassembled and then cleaned using alcohol wipes, soap and water, or a commercial disinfectant.
Microwave. Cleaning cloths, such as swab pull-throughs and other drying cloths, can be microwaved after use to kill germs before storing them away in instrument cases.