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Thread: Humidity and tarnish

  1. #1

    Exclamation Humidity and tarnish

    The humidity in my house (I live in a 'mobile home', hate using that term though because it is definitely not on wheels or going anywhere any time soon) this summer is killing not just me, but also my silver instruments. Everything is tarnishing this summer without even trying. It appears to only affect polished silver -- my baritone horn and my flute. My matte-silver Besson seems unaffected.

    I have no idea how to help. I have silver polish but it seems like every time I take them out of their cases, there's another new significant spot of tarnish happening requiring more polishing. It's a never-ending battle. Particularly it is worse for my flute that is far more difficult to de-tarnish than my horn due to crevices.

    Aside from the non-stop polish war, is there anything preventative I can do to help these instruments not-tarnish?


    I live in Canada so no need to have built in central a/c, we do run a portable a/c in the livingroom in the summer when we're home but I don't run it while I'm out which most hours of a workday. The unit does pull moisture from the air as well but only for the immediate area and only while it's running. I have a small dehumidifier unit in our master bedroom which does very little I find, and when the bucket fills up, it shuts itself off which is only useful when we're home to empty it. By far the place of less humidity is the living area where I'm running the portable a/c which is where I'm keeping the instruments right now, but it's not been enough so far.

    We do run the furnace's air circulation system which is supposed to keep the humidity down, but it also can't seem to compete.
    Last edited by ametropia; 08-05-2019 at 03:49 PM.
    "Thig crioch air an saoghal, ach mairidh gaol is cel."
    "The end (of the world) will come, but love and music live forever."

    Euph: Geneva Symphony (4v-comp, trig)
    Euph: Besson New Standard (3v-comp 1978)
    Bari: Wessex BR-140 (3v-comp, lacquer)
    Mpcs: Euph (SM4) Bari (Stork T1)

  2. #2
    Without getting into (my favorite) brands of polish, you DO want one with a tarnish inhibitor.

    Also, I think some folks here reported that they can put silver strips (anti-tarnish strips) inside their cases and that helps. The little strips are made, apparently, to "attract" tarnish to themselves. Maybe a jeweler would have those.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    There's a fabric called "Pacific Silver Cloth" that inhibits silver from tarnishing. It's main use is to keep *real* silverware from tarnishing. You can get that fabric from many fabric stores like Joann's . When I used a leather Glen Cronkhite gig bag for my Yamaha 641, the leather caused my horn to tarnish way too quickly. My wife made a bag for my horn of Pacific Silver cloth with a draw string closure that I put the horn into before putting it in the gig bag. This might help.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank

    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Silver tarnish is actually silver sulfide, not so much caused by moisture.

    Check your place out for something offing some sulfur-based compound. Certain rubbers, adhesives, and matches are some things to look for. Certain batteries will outgas sulfur when charging.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by ametropia View Post
    We do run the furnace's air circulation system which is supposed to keep the humidity down, but it also can't seem to compete.
    You might want to reconsider this. I don't quite get the claim that running your furnace air circulation system is "supposed to keep the humidity down". In the absence of central air conditioning, my experience is just the opposite -- since what you're doing is circulating air from outside (or other moist spaces) INTO your house, and thereby increasing the interior humidity.

    Just a thought.

    Now if it were winter and the humidity was decreased by the colder temperatures, running your furnace and circulating the air would indeed lower interior humidity.
    Last edited by ghmerrill; 08-06-2019 at 12:54 PM.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)


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