Conga drums are relatively strong and firm. These usually need a lot of care, though. Conga heads are often constructed with hide from cows or water buffalo, which can be quite strong and thick. It is a very enjoyable instrument to play. However, after a while, your conga drum will tend to be really dirty and dusty. Cleaning a drum made of fiberglass or plastic is quite different from cleaning a conga drum, given the differences in construction and material. However, doing maintenance on a conga drum is quite easy as long as you know the right procedures.
Here are some home tips to keep your conga drum clean.
- You will need a microfiber towel to do an initial dusting. You should get rid of all the dust in the conga drum. Make sure that the microfiber towel is dry.
- Use furniture polish on the wooden part of your drum. Apply it in a circular motion make use a microfiber towel different from the one you used previously because you don't want to put dust on your conga drums.
- Make a mixture of two cups of warm water (do not use hot water) with one eights teaspoon saddle soap. Stir the mixture well.
- Lightly dab a microfiber towel into this mixture, and scrub the drum's leather hide in a circular motion.
- Set aside and let the drum to dry in the air a few hours. Make sure to not tap or use the conga drum while it is wet because it can cause damage to your drum.
- Wipe drum's shell using a chamois cloth to get rid of fingerprints that may have accumulated through use. The cloth will also help keep the surface shiny. For even extra shine, you can use products meant for polishing wood or metal on the conga shell and metal parts.
- Take note that the conga drum heads are made of raw hide; these usually do not require oil or any preservatives. Beginners often mistakenly think that the drum heads should be maintained with oil.
- It's not the conga head that require oil. Rather, what should be oiled are the player's hands. You should, therefore, not apply oil directly. Rather, you should use any residual or excess oil from your hands by rubbing your hands through the head's surface. You can apply lanolin on your hands if you intend to treat your conga drum heads like this.
- After playing, loosen the head of your conga drum through the drum key. Turn each lug about 180 degrees clockwise. Keep doing this on all the lugs, moving all around the drum. This will help extend your conga head's service life.
In case you have old congas that haven't been maintained for a long time and you want to restore them, you can apply products like Scrubbing Bubbles by Dow, which is actually meant as a bathroom cleaner. This can be used for the shell. You can also use automotive chrome cleaner for the metal parts, like the lugs. These products can help restore your conga drum to a pristine condition.