Last Updated: October 22, 2022
Bagpipe Maintenance Taking Care of Your Bagpipes

Oiling, cleaning, and disinfecting sessions are essential parts of bagpipe maintenance. Disassembling the bagpipes is the only way to do it. You have to store the bagpipes accurately to prevent damage due to drying.

We have prepared a detailed guide to help you care for the bagpipes to ensure cleanliness and durability.

What Is the Best Way to Oil Your Bagpipe?

You can use some oil on the inner side of the bagpipes.

Oiling will ensure the bagpipe’s durability to protect the inner surface.

You can cover the outer area with the varnish but protecting the inner surface is only possible with the oil.

You can follow this step-by-step guide to oil your bagpipes.

  1. There is no need to oil the plastic parts and reeds. You can arrange all the other wood pipes except the chanter on the flat surface.
  2. It is better to place the drone pipes, stocks, and wood blowpipe in the area where oil fall will not cause issues.
  3. You can use specialized bagpipe oil and spray it on the inner sides of the pipes.
  4. If some areas do not have oil, you can use the brush to spread the oil.
  5. You can keep a thin brush for the smaller parts of the bagpipes.
  6. You can reassemble the pipes after removing the excess oil using a cloth.

You can spray the pipes once every three months.

It is better to oil when you open the bagpipes for cleaning as it will reduce the effort.

What Is the Best Oil I Should Use for Oiling My Bagpipe?

There are many types of oils for bagpipes.

Some manufacturers recommend using commercial oil products that specialize in bagpipe oiling.

You can use the oils listed below also.

  • Almond oil
  • Olive oil
  • Vitamin E oil

The oil should absorb into the pipe surface quickly without any smell.

It is better to use pharmaceutical-grade oil for bagpipes.

If you cannot find one, you can use the almond oil as it has all the essential properties.

You can find these oils in many online shops and local stores.

Supermarkets have dedicated shelves for the oils.

How to Sterilize Your Bagpipe?

Sterilizing is a crucial part of bagpipe maintenance.

Some bagpipes parts come in direct contact with the saliva.

Drying and oiling are not enough for disinfecting the bagpipes.

You need to disinfect the pieces in the list below.

  • Chanter parts
  • Air Bag
  • Mouthpiece

These three parts can accumulate mold and bacteria because they are in contact with the fingers and mouth.

Airbags can also contain a lot of moisture.

You can use the commercial disinfection solution spray for bagpipe maintenance.

You can also use high-concentration alcohol because it kills bacteria and evaporates.

Alcohol is also safe for the wood and internal parts of the bagpipes.

How to Disassemble and Clean Your Bagpipe?

You can disassemble the bagpipe for bagpipe maintenance because it is better to clean each part of the bagpipe separately.

We will give you details to disassemble and clean each section.

You will dry all parts properly without damaging the bagpipes when you use this guide.

1. Remove and Cap the Chanter

The chanter is the most crucial part of the bagpipes because it is responsible for melody production.

If you do not clean the chanter and the chanter reeds, your bagpipes will not produce the tones accurately.

You can remove the chanter before all the other parts.

Most people disassemble the chanter and use the chanter cap to protect it.

Using the chanter cap will cover the reed during the cleaning process.

You can remove the reed from the chanter and place it on a flat surface to dry.

You can clean it after it dries because it is easier to detect flaws in the reeds when they are dry.

Chanter reeds face a lot of moisture as mold can grow on the chanter reeds fast.

You can remove mold from them using a q-tip.

If you dip the q-tip in concentrated alcohol and spray the reed bed, the cleaning will be more satisfactory.

2. Completely Dry the Blowpipe

Most of the bagpipe moisture passes through the blowpipe.

The blowpipe has a high moisture level because the piper channels the air to the blowpipe.

It will go to the other parts after passing from the blowpipe.

You can dry the blowpipe when you remove it from the stock.

Most people do not know how long they should dry the blowpipe.

Checking the texture of the blowpipe and stock attachment area can help you.

You need to look for a waxy texture to ensure the chanter is dry.

Using a small fabric brush to clean the inner blowpipe surface is an excellent idea because it will remove all the remaining moisture.

It is better to spray alcohol on the mouthpiece to disinfect and avoid bacteria accumulation.

3. Disassemble the Drones

You can dry the drones after cleaning the blowpipes.

Drone cleaning is a complicated process because you have to separate many pieces. It is hard to avoid mixing all the pieces.

You can remove each piece and place them in a line.

You can carefully pick each part and clean it with the air drying and fabric brush.

It is essential to put all parts back in their place.

There are many types of drone pipes.

Polypipe material accumulates more moisture than wood pipes.

You should give more drying time to the poly pipes.

4. Check Bagpipe’s Drone Reeds

It is better to clean the drone reeds separately.

Drone reeds consist of different materials.

You need to deal with all the reed materials differently.

Some reeds are made of synthetic materials.

You need to care for the synthetic reed more.

You will get the details of the reed caring process in this list.

How to Clean Synthetic Reed?

These reeds can pool the water on their top.

You need to clear the moisture from the top because it will remain hidden in the air-drying process.

Checking the hemp seals will ensure the integrity of the reed.

If the seals have a waxy texture, you can continue the cleaning process.

Most experts advise against the use of tissues because they can damage the reed surface.

It is better to use a fiber cloth to clear the moisture from the reeds.

The reed tongue is the final part to clean and disinfect to enhance durability.

How to Clean Cane Reeds

It is easy to dry and clean the cane reeds.

You can place them in the air for fifteen minutes to dry them.

Air will take out all the moisture from the reeds as you clean the other bagpipe’s parts.

It is better to clean the cane reed every time before putting it in the storage box.

5. Unzip, Clean, and Dry the Airbags

There is no need to dry the bag completely as some moisture will protect the airbag.

You can unzip the bag and place it in the air for bagpipe maintenance.

The air will take away all the moisture from the airbag.

You can also spray some alcohol to disinfect the bag.

The cleaning process of the hide bags is different as you need to put seasoning in the bag.

You can put enough seasoning till the bag’s inner surface feels sticky.

Moisture is more crucial for bags made of natural materials.

6. Dry the Wood Gently

It is easy to dry the wood because you can put it in the air for a few minutes.

If there is more moisture, cleaning with a dry cloth will do the trick.

Using the cloth to clean the wood pipes will remove all the dirt also.

It is better to check the pipes for damages because early detection can help you repair them at a lower cost.

7. Keep an Eye on the Weather

It is better to keep an eye on the weather conditions because rain can accumulate more moisture in the bagpipes.

If you are going on an outdoor parade in a rainy season, it is better to keep an additional bagpipe to prevent any issues.

You should also give more time to dry the instrument when the air has high humidity.

You can dry the instrument when you stop playing it in the high humidity.

8. Pick The Right Bagpipe Case

The case is crucial for the protection of the bagpipes.

Many pipers claim that they suffer due to bagpipe damage during the flight.

It is unsuitable to keep these instruments at lower temperatures.

A case with thick padding and a strong cover is better to protect the bagpipes.

You can also take your bagpipes for a hike with a lightweight and durable bagpipe case.

The case should be breathable to help with moisture removal.

How to Store Your Bagpipes Properly?

Storing your pipes is crucial.

If you leave wet parts in the storage box, mold will grow on them.

You can reassemble all the pieces after the drying process is complete.

Loose joints can damage the bagpipes during storage.

Some humidity is also essential for the durability of the pipes.

You can keep some in your protective bagpipe case.

It is better to store in an area without sudden temperature change.

Placing the case in the sunlight is unsuitable.

It is better to consult the experts if you find any problem with the bagpipes during the cleaning process.

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