beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > House fire on Christmas eve
House fire on Christmas eve
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147 posts
Dec 25, 2017
8:17 AM
Suffered this last night. Two rooms upstairs burnt out and just in a terrible state. My harps were all lying in the room next to the room where the fire started and they got a lot of crap from the smoke on them. I cleaned them and i don't know if they're ok to use or not. Luckily it was only 3 that i had out their cases the rest were all in cases though i think that smoke could have got into anything. Don't know what to do about this. Luckily we escaped with our lives but i feel broken with the damage to the house.
274 posts
Dec 25, 2017
11:04 AM
Smoke is often toxic but clean them in ultrasonic with a little soap and water if you have one or use a mix of alcohol and water, 50:50, but don't soak for more than a minute or so. If they're wood combs, they may be more of a problem if they're not absolutely sealed. Toxins could get into the wood and be impossible to remove. If in doubt, replace combs. Reed plates and covers are able to be cleaned.
275 posts
Dec 25, 2017
11:08 AM
I had a vent fan catch fire in a bathroom at the end of October in an office space. It was put out immediately with a fire extinguisher. The fire and health inspector made us clean everything in building. It's now the end of December and they're not quite finished! All disposable items had to be tossed, all because of the toxicity of the smoke.
148 posts
Dec 25, 2017
11:48 AM
A SP 20 a Manji and a seydel session steel. I put the plates and the combs in the sink with hot water soap and used a scrubbing brush. Trouble is even after scrubbing the cover plates on smelling them i still feel i can smell a trace of the soot. There wasn't a mass covering just a very fine thin layer. The manji comb is that synthetic? Can it be soaked in water.?

Do you think i'll need to toss all my harps out? I don't have any ultrasonic what's that?
276 posts
Dec 25, 2017
2:00 PM
The manji comb is a sealed composite material with wood incorporated for tone. You should be ok soaking the comb. Try making a solution of a cup of warm water, a little dish soap and about 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. wipe down the cover plates and reed plates with this solution then rinse thoroughly. That might get rid of the smell. Of course when you play them next it might taste like a salad :)
5141 posts
Dec 25, 2017
9:29 PM
Commiserations on the house fire B&H. That’s a total bummer. Rotten time of year to be struggling with housing too. I hope it’s all sorted for you very soon.
150 posts
Dec 26, 2017
2:30 AM
Thanks Bee. Kind of just don't know which way to turn. All the upstairs rooms are a no go area. One of the bedrooms was a den where i played harp and practiced so as to not irritate others too much now i don't have anywhere to do it. I thought about practicing sitting in the car but man it is cold here!

As regards the harps most were in cases though i smelt inside of a Manji case and i thought i could smell that crap. I just used hot water and soap to clean is that enough or do you think i need to use isopropyl alcohol or similar?
5143 posts
Dec 26, 2017
2:58 AM
Yeah I dunno. I usually start with soap and water. I remember once I got some harps which had been disinfected but not rinsed clean of the disinfectant, which had strong smell. I couldn’t get the smell off with just soap. I did eventually get it off with alcohol.
I have a chromatic which I think was fumigated with frankincense. I have not yet managed to remove the smell from that one.
Glass Harp Full
180 posts
Dec 26, 2017
4:25 AM
Very sorry to hear that. Hope things are starting to look up.
2426 posts
Dec 26, 2017
4:35 AM
Really sorry to hear about the house Bike. That's a rough deal, especially on Christmas. Glad everyone is ok. Hope everything goes alright with the repairs.

As far as your harps... a quick Google search of "fire and smoke cleaner" brings up alot of degreasers marketed for just that. Not sure if you could clean tyne degreaser off well enough to put the harps back in your mouth or not, but .... if nothing else works... its worth a shot.

Good Luck.
2432 posts
Dec 27, 2017
12:51 PM
Very sorry to hear about this.

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