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How to take care of your handpan?

How to care for a handpan, handpan care, handpan cleaning, handpan protect, handpan, hang drum

The care of the handpan, also called hang drum, is the reason why ZenaPan has chosen to manufacture stainless steel handpans. We'll explain why.

Taking care of a nitrided handpan is difficult.

You can read plenty of advice on the internet about "how to care for your handpan". The problem is that with nitrided steel, it all depends on the shop where your instrument saw the light of day.

Why is that? Because the conditions for nitriding are not set by international standards. This means that each workshop uses its own nitriding process. The heat and the time the instrument is exposed to nitrogen vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, making it more porous or less porous and less resistant to rust.

Therefore, giving general advice on how to care for a nitrided handpan can lead to disaster. Some oils are unsuitable for your instrument, while for others they are so good that they can change the sound quality of your handpan.

Before you apply anything to your nitrated steel handpan, you should contact the manufacturer so they can tell you what products you can use to care for this beautiful instrument.

How do you care for a stainless steel handpan?

A stainless steel handpan is much easier to maintain as it is far less prone to rusting. The fact that it has not undergone a thermochemical nitriding process also prevents it from becoming more or less porous.

For maintenance you will need:

  • A soft cloth,
  • A scratchy sponge (like the one you use for washing dishes),
  • A microfiber cloth or chamois,
  • Alcohol,
  • A protective oil.


Step 1: Use the soft cloth.

First, wipe your instrument with a soft cloth to remove grease and moisture traces left by your hands.

This step prepares your instrument to receive the protective oil, which should only be applied if your instrument does not yet show signs of rust. If it does not, proceed directly to step 4.

Step 2: Use a scraping sponge.

If your handpan only has small rust marks, it's not always a good idea to go for the big remedies right away.

The first solution you should prefer is to use the green side of the sponge you use for rinsing, the famous scraping side.

Those who know stainless steel balls, often used for pots whose bottom is burnt, should never use them on your instrument. They would damage it permanently.

To properly use the scraping side of the sponge, make small, circular motions without applying too much force. The secret is to be delicate. If the rust is too deep, you can proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Use alcohol

It goes without saying that the alcohol to use is a household 70° or 90° alcohol. To apply it, soak a soft cloth with alcohol and then apply it to both sides of the handpan, also paying attention to the seam of the two metal domes.

Alcohol is used because it is less corrosive than water, removes surface ions better, and removes rust that has already formed.

Step 4: Apply the protective oil.

The purpose of the protective oil is to protect the metal of the handpan by forming a film between the air and the metal that prevents the redox process.

Rust is caused by the combination of iron, oxygen and water. Removing any of these compounds will prevent the steel from oxidizing.

However, each handpan requires an oil recommended by the manufacturer to combine with the specifics of the steel and the manufacturing process used.

You can apply the oil with a soft cloth and then leave it for a few minutes.

Step 5: Remove the excess with a microfiber cloth or chamois.

The final step in caring for your Handpan is to remove the excess oil. There are two techniques available to you for this:

  • Use a microfiber cloth,
  • Use a chamois.

In both cases, you can use these cloths to catch the excess oil. The chamois has the advantage of making your instrument shine much more than a simple microfiber cloth.

Tip: For even more shine, you can use used stockings that you just use to rub the surface of your instrument. This will give it an incredible shine.


When you order your handpan from ZenaPan, you will receive a special cloth to clean your instrument.