How to take care of your steel RAV drum

You finally got your much-anticipated RAV drum. You enjoy playing it and after every session you put it in its case. Everything is going fine until one day you open the case… and see your entire drum covered in rust! Now your beautiful musical instrument that used to be a soothing blue has sprouted horrible ginger spots all around!

Don’t worry, it was just a bad dream. Your RAV was designed to be durable and resistant to rust. Like a desert rose, it requires only a little TLC to flourish. Check out what to do to ensure the longevity of your RAV Drum.

How to protect steel from rust

The RAV is highly resistant to external factors and damage. It is made of a special steel alloy that makes the RAV’s sound so unique. Each RAV Vast drum is additionally covered with a special coating to protect it from corrosion. The only threat is rust that can appear due to improper use or storage conditions.

The greatest enemy of any steel is moisture. There are a few recommendations to avoid having rust in a steel pan and let your RAV live a long life. Start by looking through the email you got when you purchased the RAV drum, and you’ll find some short rust tips and tricks to protect your drum. 

Humidity’s rising and the barometer’s getting low

Make sure to minimize contact of the steel drum with water and avoid leaving it in places with high humidity (storing the RAV in a bathroom or on a balcony is definitely not a good idea).

Have you seen those amazing pics of steel tongue drum musicians playing while seated near a lake or seashore? If you are one of those who like to meditate while playing the handpan near the water, take care of your drum and always wipe it down after the session. It’s not a big deal if water gets on the drum (if you get caught in the rain for example) as it won’t melt like the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz. Just make sure you remove the dampness right after.  

When buying the drum, you may have also bought a case that makes it easy to carry the drum. The greatest mistake of many newbies is to store the instrument in the case all the time. The condensed moisture is sealed in the closed case and little by little it makes your RAV drum get covered in rust. To avoid that, use the case only to transport your RAV. Store it in a dry place where moisture or other threats like children or pets can’t occasionally harm it.

 The very magical tool to protect a tongue drum from rust is an ordinary cloth. Rub the drum gently with a clean dry cloth after every playing session. A good tip for you – store the cloth near your RAV drum so you always wipe it off right away.  

Essential oils

Do we use lip balms and hand creams to protect our skin? The main component of these remedies are oils that protect our skin from an aggressive environment. Oils are moisture-resistant, so they do not let water condense and penetrate inside the matter and can protect metal from rust.

 If your RAV drum is not covered with protective paint  (elder versions of the RAV Vasts, golden RAV Vasts, and all the RAV Pans), wipe it with a dry cloth to remove dust and dirt. Then take a small amount of oil or professional lubricant and cover the entire surface after your playing session. Remove the residual oil with a microfiber cloth. The best oils to prevent rust are Froglube CLP, Phoenix Handpan oil or you can use average culinary coconut oil. The oil treatment will help to prevent rust.

Be careful with unknown oils and lubricants as some of them can harm the protective coating. Test it on a tiny surface on the bottom part of the drum to be sure it works properly before covering the whole RAV.


The painted RAVs are resistant to moisture and rust so they require little care. Use a slightly wet cloth to remove dust (don’t panic, the painted RAV’s are water-resistant). The painted RAV’s do not require applying any oils or lubricants unless you are going to store your instrument for a long period of time without using it (like for 2-3 weeks). In this case, apply some very slight amount of non-organic based oils. Avoid applying a lot as it may become sticky. Never use culinary oils with painted RAVs.

You can check out all the recommendations of taking care of your instrument in the RAV’s certificate.



Hand in hand

Tongue drums are mainly played with the hands. It goes without saying, your hands should always be clean when playing. Cosmetics, aggressive washers, your own sweat, and salt can really harm the metal coat of your RAV.

The best thing will be to make it a habit – wash your hands with neutral soap before the session. Keep a watchful eye if the RAV is being played by children. Explain to them that the RAV drum is a valuable instrument they should take care of. Eating salty chips and playing right after can never be permitted.

If you wear rings or any other metal items, we highly recommend you take them off when playing as you can occasionally damage the coating. It won’t change the sound immediately, but it will provide an opportunity for moisture to get deeper into the metal and provoke corrosion. 

Rust on your RAV Vast

If the rust appeared on your drum for some reason, there’s no need to panic. Apply some alcohol on a clean cloth and wipe the rust. Apply on the ginger spot only avoiding the areas that weren’t affected by rust. Apply some lubricant after as usual.  

Don’t skip on maintenance

It’s always easier to prevent than to repair, so take safety measures to protect your drum and extend its life. Keep an eye on your RAV and act immediately if you see ginger spots on the surface of the drum. These easy tips really work wonders with your drum.