The NEMC Rental Musical Instrument Cleaning and Sanitization Process

Although to the best of our knowledge there have not been government agency published guidelines for cleaning and sanitization specific to musical instruments, we have a high degree of confidence that our science-based protocols adhere to a CDC reviewed process for musical instrument sanitization and current government agency guidelines relating to workplace safety during this COVID-19 outbreak.

Cleaning Rented Musical Instruments: Past & Present

Back in the 1990s, there was public concern about the possible role rented musical instruments might play in the spread of diseases such as HIV-AIDs and tuberculosis in schools. In response, NEMC consulted with the Epidemiology branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the development of a proprietary cleaning and sanitation process specific to each type of musical instrument we rented. In 2002 NEMC again contacted the agency to update our process. A doctor in what was then the renamed Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (who happened to be an ex-Bassoon player and was familiar with musical instruments) arranged for our process of cleaning instruments to be reviewed and updated, which was completed during the month of March, 2002.

Musical Instrument Cleaning



COVID-19 Inspires New Advances

In March of this year we modified this process to accommodate new government agency guidelines for social distancing and surface sanitization to protect our workers, and added "no-touch" bagging of the instrument and case prior to shipment, ensuring that customers receive a sanitized instrument once the outer packaging is removed.

musical instrument cleaningMusical Instrument Sanitization

Rental Instrument Cleaning Process Overview

Our instrument cleaning and refurbishment process involves multiple steps:

  • First, the instrument and case are surface cleaned and degreased using cleaning agents and soaps specific to each instrument finish. This removes organic deposits, dirt and oils.
  • Brass instruments are disassembled and submerged in an ultrasonic cleaner which uses cavitation caused high frequency sound waves to remove contaminants
  • Once surface clean, EPA- registered disinfectants are applied to further reduce the microbe load.
  • Mouthpieces undergo a more stringent process that includes surface cleaning, high speed buffing, washing, rinsing and professional application of an EPA registered quaternary disinfectant/fungicide/mildewstat/virucide. The sanitized mouthpiece is then sealed in plastic
  • If the instrument requires maintenance or has damage that needs to be repaired, service work is performed by technicians following proper hand hygiene protocol
  • Following maintenance, the instrument is surfaced cleaned again and a hospital grade quaternary disinfectant is reapplied to the exterior surfaces, case and interior bore
  • After the appropriate dwell time, the instrument is wrapped in plastic and prepared for shipment.

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NEMC proudly represents these and other fine brands:Please note that as part of our ongoing commitment to these companies, not all brands are available at each of our independently owned dealer rental locations.
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