How to Clean Djembe Drum: Care and Maintenance Tips

Not many people know how to clean the djembe drum, even if they are professional musicians. The djembe is a rare instrument that is not that easy to find on the market. To prolong its life, you have to know how to keep it in shape. If you know how to clean drum heads, you might find the caring procedure slightly similar. With the proper attention to its condition, you will receive a tuned instrument that can last for years, pure sound, and a great total appearance. Taking care of its basic needs, you will save lots of money and will be able to master your skills in playing this traditional African instrument like a professional.

Guide to Djembe Drum Cleaning


Follow this helpful guide to learn how to clean drums. Read how to take care of the skin and the wooden parts of the instrument. Make sure you take good care of the drum before playing it.

How to clean a djembe African drum?

Buying an African djembe drum might be a challenge on its own. You have to know how to pick it and where to find it. Once you succeed in this task, you have to learn how to play it. Meanwhile, learning this type of drum, read the basics of its maintenance.


You will be amazed to find out that the djembe goatskin cover does not require much care in case you play it regularly. Even a couple of times per month is enough. The secret is in the oils on your hands. While you are playing, the goatskin cover absorbs oils. They keep it conditioned and moisturized. However, in this case, you need to moisturize your hands any time you feel the skin is getting dry. Shea butter is the perfect remedy for both hands and the djembe. Apply a small amount of the product on your hands before playing the leather drum head.

If you have not played djembe for several months, apply the shea butter or any other moisturizer on your hands and rub it into the goatskin to keep it hydrated. Never use any drum sticks on this skin since it is too sensitive for them. Don’t forget to keep the drum in a specific case to protect it from cracking or splitting. Learn whether the skin was dehydrated by liming. In this case, you have to moisturize it regularly.



Djembe drum heads usually have an oil finish. It can be Danish oil finish, coconut, palm, or teak. I recommend you to pick only those drums that have a finish on them. The cheap versions will not last long. Yet, once the wood begins to look dry or splintery, you have to rub the oil inside. Make sure that your drum does not have the black or glossy lacquer finish, like the djembes you order from Asian online stores. If there is something like that, the oil will not be able to soak inside. Always keep the drum in the bag or case to protect it from sun and moisture. Since the wood can be infested by bugs, always check for the tiny holes in it.

FAQ About Cleaning Djembe

If you still have questions left, read this section. I hope my answers will help you as well. Those of you who have more to add to my recommendations can do it in the comments below.

How do you sanitize drums?

The djembe drum has an incredibly sensitive skin cover. It does not stand any sanitizers and can be easily ripped apart with them. In case you want to clean it, do it with the oil. Try coconut oil. It will remove the grease from your own hands and moisturize the skin. Never play the drum with dirty hands. Wipe the wood finish with a slightly wet towel and immediately dry it if you need to remove some hard stains.

How do you clean a drum head?

To keep the drum head in the best condition, you can learn how to play djembe properly and use any type of oil. The most popular choice is olive oil or shea butter since they are the least expensive and can be bought at any store. Never use chemicals on your djembe drum. Put the drum in the case right after you finish playing it. With proper care, your drum can handle up to 10 years. Pay attention to whether there are no sawdust or small holes in the wood to avoid bug infestation.

Basic Rules for Djembe Protection

Djembe is widely used for reducing stress and improving your health. Many drummers believe that there is no point in taking care of their musical instrument as long as it serves them properly.

However, such an attitude significantly limits the life of these drums. Djembe is one of the rarest and demanding types of drums. You need to learn how to take care of the goatskin at its head and moisturize the wood. With proper treatment, this drum can live for up to 10 years. If you have any other recommendations to add, you are welcome to do this in the comments. Do you play djembe? Which tips from my list do you use? Which oils do you prefer to apply, if any?

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply