According to the Community Interventions Task Force, the CDC does not have specific guidance or procedures for cleaning or disinfection of musical instruments in this context. Recent laboratory studies suggest the virus that causes COVID-19 can remain viable and infectious on various surfaces from hours to days, however, virus survival is also dependent on environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity. The virus typically survives longer on hard, non-porous surfaces such as glass, plastic, and stainless steel.
For student musicians and their parents who rent or own their instrument, we recommend following the instructions provided in the short videos. These procedures should be done routinely. Use an instrument repair specialist for professional cleaning and repair.
If the intent is disinfection, ensure that this is conducted with an EPA registered disinfectant on List N that is effective against the virus that causes COVID-19 while following the disinfectant manufacturer's instructions for appropriate dilutions, storage, shelf-live, and contact times.
For adult student musicians, parents, and music educators who are concerned about damage to the instrument from a disinfectant, you could consider 2 options:
1. The use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect instrument surfaces. An alcohol-based disinfectant may be less likely to damage the instrument, but again, you should check with the instrument manufacturer or a repair specialist.
2. An instrument hold time of 7 days or more should be sufficient for virus inactivation based on recent laboratory studies. It is also feasible to combine both options, allowing for an extended hold time followed by cleaning and disinfection.
In all cases, please follow proper hand hygiene procedures (washing with soap and water for 20 seconds) after disinfecting instruments.
Below is a list of additional resources:
Disinfectants recommended by the EPA
Talking to Teens
Recommended cleaning guidelines from the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (NAPBIRT).
COVID-19 Response in Choral Activities
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