5 Best Cymbal Cleaners (+Can You Use WD40?)

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  • Cymbal cleaners are a relatively obscure purchase, albeit incredibly useful.
  • Looking in your cleaning cupboard, you may think, ‘can I just use WD40!?’
  • We dived deep to answer all common questions regarding how to clean cymbals!

If you go down the YouTube rabbit hole deep enough, you’ll see videos of drummers cleaning cymbals with everything from ketchup to lemons.

One popular video shows a cymbal divided into six sections, with each area being cleaned with a different household product or condiment.

A good quality brand name cymbal will run you anywhere from $300.00 to $800.00 (USD). So please don’t apply kitchen condiments to your cymbals…

A quick side note – Be very careful around your cymbal logo. Some of these cleaners will remove the logo, so rub it very gently or not in the logo area.

Also, it is good practice to clean the underside of your cymbal first, then the top side!

What are the 5 Best Cymbal Cleaners?

For your brilliant finished cymbals, here is our list of the 5 best cymbal cleaners.

Make sure to use gloves, as some of these cleaners contain chemicals that can cause burns to the skin.

  1. Groove Juice (Best Spray Cleaner)
  2. Music Nomad Cymbal Cleaner (Best Cream-Based Cleaner)
  3. Lizard Spit Cymbal Cleaner (Best eco-friendly Cleaner)
  4. Zildjian Brilliant Cymbal Cleaning Polish
  5. Buckaroo Cymbal Cleaner
  6. Bonus Product (revealed at the end of the article)

1. Groove Juice

Groove Juice Cymbal Cleaner

To keep your bronze cymbals sounding — and looking — like new, there’s no better option than Groove Juice Cymbal Cleaner. 

Why We Love It:
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Takes minimal time
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Groove Juice gets our number one spot because it is easy to use, affordable, and works great as an all-purpose cymbal cleaner.

Groove Juice cymbal cleaner is intended to be sprayed directly on the cymbal.

With your cymbal in a large sink or shower, spray the product on the cymbal, covering the surface completely. Let it set for thirty seconds and rinse off.

After rinsing, dry immediately with a lint-free cloth.

A word of warning – Groove juice has a powerful odor, so ensure good ventilation.

Groove Juice Cymbal Cleaner is a powerful product that will remove your logos.

Covering your logos with electrical tape is the best way to protect them.

Electrical tape can be cut into small pieces to cover different parts of your logo. And when you peel off the tape, your logo won’t come off with the tape.


  • Easy to use
  • Takes minimal time


  • Very strong odor
  • Not logo friendly 

2. Music Nomad Cymbal Cleaner

Music Nomad Cymbal Cleaner

MusicNomad's Cymbal Cleaner is an outstanding solution for polishing and protecting your cymbals.

Why We Love It:
  • Astoundingly good end result
  • Acid-free
  • Leaves a protective layer
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Music Nomad Cymbal Cleaner is a cream-based cleaner meant to be applied directly to the cymbal’s surface, buffed in, and wiped off.

You will need to spend more time cleaning and buffing your cymbals with this product, but you will find that it is well worth it in the end.

Music Nomad Cymbal Cleaner leaves behind a brilliant, radiant shimmer.

The manufacturer claims this product is acid-free and will not remove the logo.

In my experience, however, logos will eventually rub off, no matter how well they are treated.

Apply a liberal amount of Music Nomad Cymbal Cleaner to the cymbal and rub it in with a lint-free cloth. A white film will appear on the cymbal.

With another clean, lint-free cloth, clean off the white film for a brilliant shine.

The manufacturer claims the product leaves behind a protective layer that reduces oxidation.


  • End result is astounding
  • Leaves a protective layer


  • Requires more effort
  • Requires more time

3. Lizard Spit Cymbal Cleaner

Lizard Spit Cymbal Cleaner

Lizard Spit cymbal cleaner is specially formulated to remove fingerprints, grime, oxidation, and dust from your prizewinning pies.

Why We Love It:
  • Easy to use
  • Eco-friendly
  • Logo-friendly
View Price On Sweetwater

Lizard Spit Cymbal Cleaner is a spray-on cleaner to be applied directly to the cymbal. After ten seconds, wipe clean with a lint-free cloth.

This product is logo friendly, but as I said before, your logo will eventually come off with enough use and cleaning.

Lizard Spit is an eco-friendly company that produces several lines of cleaners, from drum shell polish to guitar fretboard conditioner.

All their products are made in-house and use organic ingredients. 

The owner of Lizard Spit, Chris Webster, has spent the last several decades perfecting eco-friendly chemistry using all-natural products with quality organic ingredients.

Those who use this one-of-a-kind product will not only have clean cymbals but will also be making a positive statement.


  • Easy to use
  • Eco-friendly


  • Will not produce a brilliant luster

4. Zildjian Brilliant Cymbal Cleaning Polish

Zildjian Cymbal Cleaning Polish

This little bottle is backed with polish to keep your cymbals looking great onstage, with all of their original factory-fresh sheen and luster. 

Why We Love It:
  • Carries the Zildjian name
  • Protective coating
  • Provides a brilliant finish
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Zildjian Brilliant Cymbal Cleaning Polish is a cream-based product that you apply to the cymbal and rub in.

Make sure to rub gently over the logos.  After about fifteen seconds, wipe off with a lint-free cloth.

This product also adds a protective coating to keep the cymbal shining brightly.


  • Carries the Zildjian name
  • Protective coating


  • Requires more time

5. Buckaroo Cymbal Cleaner

Buckaroo Cymbal Cleaner

Since 1967, Buckaroo Cymbal Cleaner has been the go-to choice for drummers and cymbalists looking for a good-as-new luster and sound from their beloved cymbals.

Why We Love It:
  • Applicator included
  • Leaves brilliant finish
  • Restores luster and sound of well-used cymbals
View Price On Amazon View Price On Sweetwater
05/29/2023 06:52 am GMT

This cleaner contains a cotton applicator inside the tin with the product already applied.

Simply tear off a cotton ball size amount and rub it into the cymbal in circular motions.

Then wipe off with a clean, lint-free cloth. Repeat until the cymbal is clean.


  • Applicator included
  • Leaves brilliant finish


  • Time-consuming

6. Bonus – Bar Keepers Friend

Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser
$6.95 ($0.58 / Ounce)
View Price On Amazon
05/29/2023 06:57 am GMT

So here is the disclaimer: Bar Keepers Friend will damage new cymbals. It will take off logos.

It is a corrosive product that is intended to clean old pots and pans, things made of brass, and other kitchen items.

So why is it on our list?

Bar Keepers Friend could become your friend if you find an old cymbal at a yard sale for ten bucks that is corroded or discolored with no logos.

So many drummers today are playing trash cymbals and cymbal stacks. It seems that everyone is experimenting with different gadgets to hit with a stick.

Buying old cymbals, even broken ones, is not uncommon for testing out new trashy sounds. As a result, Bar Keepers Friend can be a suitable choice for these types of cymbals.

Bar Keepers Friend is a powder just like Comet bathroom cleaner.

After thoroughly spraying down your cymbal with water, sprinkle the Bar Keepers Friend powder all over the cymbal.

With a lint-free cloth, rub the powder/water solution all over the cymbal. After about fifteen seconds, spray the cymbal clean.

If there are spots or corrosion on the cymbal, apply more powder/water mixture and be more aggressive with your rubbing.

But keep in mind that this is not going to restore the cymbal. In fact, you will be able to see the spots where you used more force in your scrubbing.

Important: I would only recommend using this product for experimentation with old worthless cymbals to be used as trash cymbals or stacks.

When Not To Use Cleaners or Polishes

There are different types of cymbal finishes. Brilliant, Natural, and Patina are some of the most popular.

Sabian even has a line of cymbals called “The Big & Ugly Collection.”

During the last few decades, it has become fashionable to have big, dark, ugly cymbals hanging from every cymbal stand on the drum riser for all to admire.

Some drummers love the look of the patina that forms on cymbals over time, claiming that the older a cymbal gets, the better it sounds.

I remember pulling a Zildjian 22″ K Custom Ride out of my bag at a gig, only to realize that the cymbal had not been cleaned in some time.

The sound guy (who I found out later was also a drummer) stopped and said, “For the love of all that is holy, please never clean that beautiful cymbal.”

Beauty is in the eye of the drummer.

Other drummers clean their cymbals after every gig relishing in the reflection of the stage lights bouncing off their brilliant finish.

In this article, I’ll give you our list of the best cymbal cleaners and tips on how to get the most from each product.

General Guidelines

Polishes and cleaners are intended for use on brilliant-finished cymbals only.

Using such products on non-brilliant finishes could damage the cymbal, affect the sound, or produce an undesirable result.

To clean cymbals with a natural or patina finish, use a lint-free cloth (without any product) and polish the cymbal in the direction of the grooves.

Warm water and a mild detergent can also be used.

Wiping your non-brilliant cymbals down after every use will keep the fingerprints off and thus prolong their life.

Keeping these cymbals away from cleaners and polishes will maintain the intended look of your cymbals. 


Should I clean my cymbals after each use?

If you have brilliant finish cymbals, cleaning them after each use will prevent corrosion, prolong the life of the cymbal, and keep them shining.

Do cymbals need to be cleaned at all?

Many drummers don’t believe in cleaning cymbals. They say a cymbal that looks old and used is beautiful and appealing.

Can I use WD40 to clean cymbals?

WD40 is petroleum based and was initially formulated as a water displacement product. WD, in the name, stands for water displacement.

Some drummers have had good results in cleaning dirt and fingerprints from cymbals using WD40, but use it at your own risk.

WD40 is not intended to clean cymbals.

To Wrap Up

Keeping your cymbals clean is optional.

If you get to know a few drummers, you will probably conclude that whether a drummer has gleaming cymbals or aged cymbals is directly related to what type of person the drummer is.

I hope this article has given you some idea of what type of drummer you are or what type of drummer you want to be, at least where your cymbals are concerned.

Try a few of these products, and you will eventually find one you resonate with. Yes, that was a pun which I absolutely intended.