Which instrument is the dirtiest in the band? A study has shown that it’s the clarinet that tends to harbour the most bacteria and fungi.

As the school year winds up and students at primary schools all over the country are playing their Christmas concerts and returning their rented concert band instruments, a study published by the Academy of General Dentistry in the USA has been doing the rounds online. The study, which appeared in the March/April 2011 issue of the peer-reviewed General Dentistry, found used woodwind instruments to be heavily contaminated with bacteria and fungi related to minor to serious infectious and allergic diseases.

Clarinet, Dirtiest Instrument, Bacteria The clarinet was found to harbour the most bacteria in a 2011 study published in  General Dentistry.

“Many children participate in their school’s band ensemble and often the instruments they play are on loan,” said Dr R. Thomas Glass, lead author of the study. “Most of these instruments have been played by other students, and without the proper sanitation, bacteria and fungi can thrive for weeks and even months after the last use.”

The researchers examined 13 instruments of a high school band, six of which...

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