Care and Maintenance of an Oboe
Maintenance using swabs
Remove swabs from the bottom
The narrowest part of the upper portion of an oboe has a pipe bore that is much narrower than that of any other woodwind. Swabs designed for the upper portion are made with this in mind, but, if they are removed from the instrument through the top, they may become stuck and unable to be removed. Thread in the swab from as far down as possible and then take some of the extra swab fabric and pull the swab out from a downward direction.
Currently, Yamaha includes with its oboes long swabs that can be run through the oboe while the upper and lower portions are connected. When using this swab, as well, do not pull the swab out of the instrument from the top, but, instead, remove it by returning the swab back to the bottom portion.
Wash your swabs when they get dirty
Dirt gets clogged between the fibers of the fabric used in cleaning swabs. This dirt can be removed through washing, giving the swab back its absorbency. Professional microfiber cleaning swabs have excellent absorbency, which can be reclaimed after washing to a greater extent than with ordinary cleaning swabs.
Swabs should be replaced if they are still dirty after a washing.
Dry large feathers used as swabs well
If large feathers are stored while still damp, they will become fetid, so dry them well. You may gently soak up water using a handkerchief. Once the bristles come out, the feather will not work for cleaning, so it should be exchanged.