Some handpan players like to use oil as part of the care routine while others prefer to avoid it. If you want to use oil in your maintenance then knowing what it does and what it is for is handy.
What is the best Oil for Handpans? – The best oil for handpans is a fresh and dedicated product called Phoenix Oil. Created by handpan players for handpan players, you can be assured of a quality product with a proven track record.
Don’t take my word for it. Read on for more information on Phoenix and how other handpan oil products compare.
Read This First
Many players will swear by a particular oil or cleaning product, others will suggest no products be used at all. Results will often depend on the instrument itself, so where possible please contact the original maker of your instrument and ask their advice.
Handpan Players prefer Phoenix Oil
I undertook a couple of polls on social media, specifically Facebook, and a couple of handpan enthusiast groups asking what their preferred product was.
Overwhelmingly Phoenix Oil came out top for use on the best handpans
A second poll in another group confirmed the results and preference for Phoenix above others from real handpan players
What types of Handpan Oil are there?
There are three products that I will look at in greater detail to give a balanced view of why Phoenix Oil is my recommended product.
- Phoenix Handpan Oil
- Meinl Wax
Some guides will suggest Balistol and WD40 as alternatives, but they are both much cheaper and strong-smelling, So far as I am concerned not recommended.
Phoenix Handpan Oil
Created by Benny Bettane, a multi-instrumentalist from Australia, now based in Italy. He has collaborated with spiritual teachers from around the world with his handpan playing skills. When not happy with the quality of handpan care products he set out to create one himself. Phoenix Handpan Oil is the result and my recommended product.
Why is Phoenix Oil for Handpans so Good?
It is a natural product that is not also good for your handpan, but also provides avoidance of contact with harmful chemicals. It smells great too with tones of lemongrass left behind.
You can hear Benny’s music on his website as well as more information about the man himself
Benefits of Using Phoenix Oil on Your Handpan
There are a number of benefits of using a natural oil like Phoenix on your handpan as part of your care regime.
Research and development were aimed specifically at producing oil that would be perfect and as caring as can be for metal instruments. In particular a handpan.
Protection of any instrument, but especially your precious and not to mention expensive handpan, should be paramount in your care routine. Specifically designed with a handpan in mind, Phoenix Handpan Oil with help protect and maintain.
Quality of Sound
You should know that the tuning and sound of your handpan is a delicate thing. Using a care product that will zero negative effect, protect and prolong the sound quality of your instrument should be a strong consideration.
Thanks to the carefully designed formula, when used correctly Phoenix Oil will leave no residue. Cleaning and removing all dirt and dust from your handpan, it will sound as clear, crisp and just as it did before cleaning.
We know chemical detergents can be detrimental to our skin, and unless you play with gloves [why?], you will be in constant contact with the product. Thankfully Phoenix oil combats this in two ways
As mentioned above, no residue of the product is left on the instrument, meaning less chance of the oil coming into contact with the skin as you play.
Secondly, thanks to the oil’s natural formula, there are no harmful ingredients either. The oil is perfectly safe to use, with a lemony fragrance, it is kind on the nose too.
What is Phoenix Oil Made of?
Well, the super-secret formula is not about to be revealed, but what I can say is it is a very gentle oil designed to take care of your handpan. With no aggressive detergents or chemicals, there are also no acidic elements that could eat into the steel.
It is perfectly safe on your skin and made with 99.5% vegetal material. It is great to be able to purchase a non-hazardous cleaning product from such an ethical instrument.
Lemongrass is one of the ingredients in the secret formula and will escape as a pleasing aroma. Not harsh, oily or sharp on the nose.
How to Use Oil on your Handpan
- Wipe your handpan with a microfibre cloth or alcohol** paper.
- Ensure it is completely dry
- Use a few drops, or 5ml of oil directly on the handpan
- Gently massage your handpan with the oil using a dry cloth
- Do not use for one hour
PRO TIP – Before using any alcohol product on your handpan, contact the manafacturer, as some instruments will react badly. If in any doubt, slip step 1 and simply clean thoroughly with a cloth before applying oil.
After cleaning ensure your handpan is is a dry spot and in the shade.
These are my favorite microfibre cloths. A pack of 6 will last for ages.
It is best to leave your handpan to absorb the oil for at least one hour after applying
It only takes a few minutes to undertake the cleaning method, and thanks to the waiting time, it is best to clean your handpan after use, for some time before you plan to play.
What Other Handpan Cleaning Product Options Are There?
Some prominent players swear by simply water and a cloth.
Many players do not use any products at all in their cleaning routine, preferring a microfibre cloth, water, and a thorough drying process.
Drying is of course extremely important, and if done correctly will provide no problems whatsoever without the use of oils, or other cleaning products.
Even a handpan that has been fully submerged in water, and those that have been filmed sat in rain, once dried thoroughly and stored correctly will not be at risk of rusting.
The nitriding process does increase rust protection but does not eliminate the possibility. Do not take for granted that anti-rust protection nitriding will protect your handpan against it without additional care.
Also ensure that your handpan is stored dry, and never in a damp bag. Use moisture collecting packs as an additional safeguard if you have to store an instrument in a bag for an extended length of time.
Meinl wax is developed to help with the prevention of rust on your handpan. Applied when you begin to feel the surface of the instrument is becoming dry, it moisturizes the steel.
It will also restore an element of shine that deteriorates over time as the instrument dries out.
I have to be honest and say I have never used this product before and of all the players I know, neither have they. So I can not directly endorse the product. However, feel free to investigate the product further for more information.
Froglube for Handpans
So the famous Froglube! – Many players use this product but I have seen as many suggest to never go near it. Problems arising from using frog lube are almost certainly user created issues rather than the product.
The wipes are almost certainly a better option in terms of the application being limited to that included in a single wipe as opposed to over-application of the raw product. You can see the current price of a packet of froglube wipes here.
Again, the manufacturer will be able to provide more information on how well it works with their specific instrument. certainly, there are some horror stories of how this product has been used on the inside of handpans in the past and a build-up has been found to be the cause of detuning.
Final Word on Handpan Cleaning Products
All products placed on the surface of a handpan will have a detrimental effect on the sustain of your tone fields, so whenever using a product to clean your handpan, keep this in mind and seek advice from the maker of yours.