You got yourself a singing bowl, but now you wonder how to take care of singing bowls.
I remember some time back when I brought my singing bowls to a holistic practitioners meeting and one of the other practitioners ‘kindly’ suggested “I should polish my bowls to bring back their original shine.”
When I asked what was wrong with my bowls she said, “they look a little tarnished.”
My new young friend —a massage therapist— was under the assumption that singing bowls where solid brass and should be cared for as such — to remove the tarnish.
Little did she know that a singing bowls need very little care.
To help you to take the guess work out on how to care for your bowls I have decided to share with you information I have collected over time.
Care of Singing Bowls
“You Are The Steward Of Your Singing Bowl!”
—Margit Willems Whitaker
Singing bowls are among the few objects that are both, decorative and useful, but don’t require a lot of special care. And, when properly handled, they can last you a life-time—as long as you treat them with respect.
Sure, they may look a little tarnished and even stained over time, but this is part of their allure—the quality of being powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating to both young and old.
The discoloring of the patina is also what gives the bowls the antiqued look over time.
I do have to stress ‘over time’, because even a new singing bowl can look antiqued within a few months and then is sold as an antique bowl to fetch a higher price in the singing bowl market. It’s all in the technique.
General Care of Singing Bowls
Before I proceed, I do want to mention, the general guidelines discussed below are intended for the different types of metal singing bowls, including Tibetan, Himalayan, and Therapy singing bowls.
Because they are made out of metal, people often assume the bowls are, well, less fragile than crystal singing bowls.
To a certain degree this is true—the metal bowl may not break into many pieces, but they can get damaged in other ways.
At this point you may wonder, “What are the potential damages?” And, “How can I prevent them from happening?”
Preventative Care of Singing Bowl
To prevent possible damage to your singing bowl, avoid…
- Dropping the bowl.
- Manipulating the bowl with harsh objects i.e., sand paper.
- Removing tiny metal pieces that are visible in the bowl.
- Exposing the bowl to extreme heat i.e., stove, open fire.
- Handling the bowls in a way that causes friction to the bowl.
- Cleaning the bowls with harsh chemicals i.e., scouring powder.Cleaning
Regular Care of Singing Bowl
Singing bowls, just like any other object that is exposed to air and possibly environmental pollution, aren’t immune to dust or grime.
Fortunately, the bowls are, to a degree, self-cleaning and otherwise easy to keep clean.
Step 1. Tabbing: If you use your bowl on a regular basis, like daily, dust doesn’t really get a chance to settle. Hence, they are to a certain degree self-cleaning.
Step 2. Dusting: If you only use the bowls occasionally, dust them down–especially inside the bowl to remove dust that may have collected there. Tip: I use a dry microfiber cleaning clothes for regular dusting, and a slightly damp one (not wet) for deep dusting (if it leaves streaks, it’s too wet).
Step 3. Wash n’ Rinse: Even singing bowls need an occasional dip into sudsy water to wash away residue from lotions, potions, and even sweat. All you need is a mild dish washing liquid and plenty of warm water. Proceed the same way as doing dishes–wash n’ rinse. If you do wash the bowls, please make sure you dry them down complete as soon as possible otherwise they will develop water spots–mild corrosion. Tip: I usually follow a wash, rinse, and dry pattern when washing my bowls.
That’s it for the regular care of singing bowls.
Next, I will cover the occasional care of singing bowls.
Occasional Care of Singing Bowl
A frequent question I get asked is, “What do I mean by occasional?” The frequency of how often to do an occasional cleaning depends on two things.
One, do you want your bowl to look shiny and new, or do you want to let the natural patina of the bowl come through. Here, you are the judge.
Two, does the bowl come into contact with salt, chlorine, or bath water. Another category would be colored water—for making water mandalas. If yes, I highly recommend washing the bowls thoroughly with soup and water (see wash n’ rinse), as well as rubbing the bowl down with a little olive oil after each use. You may even decide to use one of the methods listed below after each use.
In Nepal the bowls are cleaned with a mixture of rice straw ash and water and after wards rubbed down with mustard oil to prevent corrosion.
For most of us this is highly unpractical.
Method One—Preferred Method
A more practical way is to use a salt and vinegar solution. All you need is some regular, cheap vinegar and table salt.
- Mix one cup white vinegar with 4-5 Tablespoons of table salt to make the salt and vinegar solution.
- Apply the mixture to the bowl(s)
- Let the mixture complete its galvanizing process on the bowl (about 3-5 min. Note: some sources say 10-15 min. I let you be the judge about how long you want to leave the solution on the bowl.)
- Rinse the bowl well with clean water (I like to use distilled water) until the salt and vinegar solution is completely removed. (Note: double check that no salt is left in and on the bowl. The salt will scratch the patina when rubbing the bowl dry.)
- Dry the bowl with a soft cloth (an old towel will do). When complete dry, rub a small amount of bees wax or olive oil on the bowls for protection. (Note: please use only small amounts of oil at a time and make sure the wax or oil is complete absorbed by the bowls. Excessive amounts can later cause stains on your clothes as you handle the bowls.)
If you prefer a shiny bowl, you can also use a commercial prefer a shiny bowl, you can also use a commercial If you prefer a shiny bowl, you can also use a commercial liquid brass or silver polish you would use for electroplated dinnerware.
Caution: the bowls will be brighter but there is also more risk of leaving scratches behind.
Nepal Import, a division of Peter Hess® Singing Bowls, sells a special cleaning stone on the European market. In the US, the availability of the stone varies among it’s distributors. Alternately, you can order the stone on the Nepal-Importe.de site.
In this short article I covered how to prevent damage to your singing bowl and how to clean your bowl both, on a regular basis—to keep the bowl grime free, and an occasional basis—to maintain the desired patina of the bowl.
If you have specific questions, please, feel free to send me an email.
Care of singing bowls is an excerpt from Singing Bowls Self-Care Workbook v2, 2010.