Oligodynamic effect - amazing info about the cleanliness of horns

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by papacker, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. papacker

    papacker New Friend

    May 21, 2012
    I stumbled on this property of many metals the other day and found it very interesting especially since my wife and kids are always thelling me my horns are gross and germ ridden. I thought you might find it interesting as well.

    The oligodynamic effect (Greek: oligos = few, Greek: dynamis = force) was discovered in 1893 by the Swiss Karl Wilhelm von Nägeli as a toxic effect of metal ions on living cells, algae, molds, spores, fungi, viruses, prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms, even in relatively low concentrations. This antimicrobial effect is shown by ions of silver, copper, brass, gold, other metals.

    Many infections can be spread by doorknobs. Brass doorknobs disinfect themselves in about eight hours, while stainless steel and aluminum knobs never do. Unvarnished brass doorknobs therefore tend to be more sanitary than stainless or aluminum doorknobs. The effect is important in hospitals, and useful in any building.

    Silver is capable of rendering stored drinking water potable for several months. For this reason, water tanks on ships and airplanes are often "silvered".
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Don't let this read change your cleaning habits. A nice Evidence-based article published in the September 2010 Edition of Chest showed that atypical micobacteria (in the family with TB) and fungi grow readily from cultures taken from brass instruments. They proved that cleaning the horn every 3 months with a 91% isopropyl alcohol rinse will keep all these organisms in check.

    I don't doubt your reference either, but there is a differenct between brass being in an external environment, over brass in an internal environment that are exposed to oral microbes as opposed to skin microbes. Horns need to be cleaned and if you want to control microbes, rinsed with isopropyl alcohol.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  3. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Reviving this thread started by papacker due to recent observations and my thought that the oligodynamic effect of silver may be under appreciated. Two of my trumpets are silver plated, including inner slide surfaces. I clean my instruments regularly. I have noticed that during cleaning more gunk comes out of my lacquered instruments with un-plated inner slide surfaces than comes out of my plated instruments. Have others made similar observations? And if so, is this common knowledge among trumpeters?


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