Teaching Article – By – Dominick J Zangla
The reason that most shofars smell bad is that when they are clean at the factory they cannot remove all residues from the inside. This residue is sinew and flesh that is clinging in crevices and the smell is it decaying.
1. The simplest method is to brush out whatever residue can be seen (and smelled!) in the shofar. Pour enough hydrogen peroxide to fill half the horn with the mouthpiece plugged. Swirl it back and forth until the residue is bubbled out (like disinfecting a wound). Pour out the liquid and repeat.
Eventually no more residues will come out. At this point, swab out the horn with a rag tied to a piece of wire, like coat hanger.
2. Another method of cleaning was demonstrated on a video by Dick Reuben.
Step 1. Buy a “nerf” ball (soft and pliable), an ear plug (the squeeze and insert type available at most drug stores), some fish tank gravel (not sand and not very big) and some alcohol.
Step 2. Plug the mouthpiece with the earplug. Pour in enough gravel that it can be shaken easily. Plug the bell end with the nerf ball.
Step 3. Play the “maraca” (shake it hard!) for about 15 minutes.
Step 4. Pull out the nerf ball and empty out the gravel. Pour about a cup of alcohol in and replace the ball. Shake for about a minute.
Step 5. Pull out the ball. Pour out the alcohol. Remove the earplug. Let it dry.
The alcohol should dry quickly. It should eliminate the smell and disinfect the horn.
DO NOT let any liquid stay in too long. If necessary use a mild bleach solution but realize it will take a few days for the chlorine smell to dissipate. You could also use witch hazel with spearmint but use it sparingly. Stubborn smells can also be eliminated with odor neutralizers.
When the horn is clean, anoint the bell end with some anointing oil that has frankincense and myrrh. Put some up the mouthpiece channel with a trumpet valve brush (purchased at a music store). It will be the soft bones of the neck part of the horn that will begin to stink again as you blow moisture back into it as you sound the horn. The myrrh will seal the bone and stop the odor. Remember, myrrh is what they anointed dead bodies with! It doesn’t hurt to ask YHVH to bless the horn and your efforts to glorify Him at the same time.
3. A great method that has worked well is to use "Oxi-clean" or a similar product
Fill the horn half full of hot, but not boiling water. (Use some boiling water and create a volcano!) Put in the scoop of product and then
shake the horn with both ends plugged or capped (corks or balloons with rubber bands, etc.) or a while. Fill it all the way with water and let
sit for an hour.
When you pour out the water you will notice all sorts of discolored junk pouring out. Take a cloth on a wire hanger and swab the inside out
of all loosened material. Rinse with boiling water and let dry. You may have to repeat the process.
4. Finally, if you have access to an ozone producing machine, you can put the horn with the bell up against the outlet and let it deodorize overnight. Some commercial models will do it in an hour. Any other questions can be referred to my e-mail listed on our website.
May YHVH bless your obedience to His Torah!