Owners of new and old music boxes should take care when cleaning to ensure its long life. Quality music boxes that become antiques have traditionally been valued by collectors and auction houses. When purchasing a new quality music box, be sure to follow the advice in this article on how to play it and take care of it. Doing so will ensure a family heirloom can be passed on for generations, for years and decades to come.
Music boxes can look as if they are sturdily made and can handle some abuse. However the truth of the matter is that they are delicate musical instruments that require careful handling and operation. Ensuring proper operation will help keep the delicate musical teeth and other parts in good condition. One of the first things to know is that it should always be carried horizontally or upright. Never store or carry a music box vertically or upside down. The second part of operation that is important is to allow its song to come to a complete stop before closing the lid or moving the music box. If the song is not done you can wind it some more and let it play until the song finishes. Playing a music box while in motion can cause more damage if the mechanism happens to come loose in motion. Lastly, never wind a music box when it is already playing.
Antique or older music boxes can be worth significant value if they are kept in good condition. One of the major issues with music boxes is being improperly stored. If you want your music box to last a lifetime keep it in a dry place and away from humidity. Most music boxes are made from wood in the musical mechanisms are made of metal, keeping moisture away from would and metal can prevent rot and rust. If you do find rot, dirt or rust on your music box that is not easily removed through simple dusting with a dry nonabrasive cloth it may be time to employ a professional restoration company. Restoration of music boxes takes considerable skill and knowledge. Ensure that any company or service that you hire to restore and antique music box has experience not only with music boxes but with your specific brand.
Keeping It Clean
Besides operating your music box properly there are certain steps in order to clean it safely that will not ruin the wood or metal components of the music box. To clean your music box, simply take a clean cotton cloth and dampen with distilled water and rub in a circular motion the entire music box itself. This should remove most dust or dirt safely without affecting the polish of the wooden box itself. Before attempting to clean the mechanical instruments vacuum the inside of the box with the computer vacuum without touching any of the components. This will remove any extraneous dust or debris safely and effectively. Lastly, moisten a cotton swab with pure vinegar and wipe down the middle components of the musical instrument. Afterwards moisten a cotton swab with distilled water to remove any vinegar residue. This will effectively and safely clean your music box without ruining most wooden finishes or causing further rust or damage to the metal and mechanical elements.
The music box, whether it is a new and modern design with the enjoyment of children in mind or whether it is a traditional antique piece, can provide hours of listening pleasure. Keeping these treasures clean and operating properly generally consist of using common sense advice and tips as listed above. The general cleaning tips can be used on other family heirlooms and valuables to ensure their longevity as well.
Written by Boris Muchnik of Music Box Attic.