Black on sticks after cleaning cymbals

by Jeff Garrison
(La Habra Ca US)

I just polished my cymbals with zildjian cymbal polish and, after playing, it's leaving a black scruff on my sticks and its scuffing up my other heads.

Why are my sticks getting the black?


Hi, Jeff!

I know what you mean. Cymbal cleaner is just like any other metal cleaner or polish--the "black stuff" is the dirt and oxidization coming from the metal. This is especially pronounced on brass.
So what to do?

There are 2 solutions that I know of. One is to continue rubbing the cymbals with a clean cloth until the black residue no longer appears on the cloth. This takes a while, especially if your cymbals were very dirty.

The other solution is a bit controversial. You can use the cleaner, rub most of the black off, and then rinse the cymbals with water. Some drummers say NEVER to get cymbals wet, but I usually clean mine, rinse them good in the bathtub (use a cloth or sponge), dry them off and follow that by polishing with a micro-cloth. At this point, no black should appear on the polishing cloth. I have never noticed a reduction in sound quality from this procedure.

If you want to get rid of the scuff marks on your heads, as strange as it may sound, use a little "409". Do not over-wet the heads.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your drumming!


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