We recently experimented with Ballistol rust preventative and cleaner after it was recommended from a friend. We found it was an excellent rust preventative and decided to begin offering it as well as Froglube to our customers. Each product has strengths and weakness relative to the other. The following is a review of each product.
We have been carrying and using Froglube for 3 years. It is a great product! The mint smell and completely biodegradable, environmentally friendly and most importantly, skin safe liquid is one of the best rust preventatives for handpans that we have found on the market. We do not only sale it to our customers. We have also used it on Saraz shells in our shaping shop and on finished Saraz for years. It is a bit more expensive than Ballistol, however, Froglube is popular for a reason. Most importantly, it has the less effect on the sound of handpans than Ballistol. While it does very slightly muffle most handpans, it does not muffle them nearly as much as ballistol. We do not recommend the Froglube Liquid as a cleaner, however it is a great product for rust prevention and the mint smell is delightful! After discovering that a fellow handpan owner was severely allergic to mint and therefore froglube, we are happy to now also offer an alternative.
Like froglube, Ballistol is also completely biodegradable, environmental friendly, and skin safe. It was developed in 1904 for the German Imperial Army for cleaning and maintaining metallic parts, wood and leather. It is now used on a wide array of products including everything from shavers to firearms and fishing gear. It can be used to lubricate hinges, doors, tools, fans, zippers, and car parts. It can be used on anything made of wood, plastic, rubber or leather (not including suede). We experimented with it on a Saraz.
We noticed that unlike Froglube, Ballistol cleans the steel really well and it appears to last slightly longer on the surface. It is also cheaper than Froglube and smells different. It’s oil like aromoa does not have a toxic or horrible smell, however it is not as appealing as the mint aroma of Froglube. With either product, the smell disappears after 1-2 days.
It is very important to not use too much Ballistol as it can muffle a handpan significantly. A little bit goes a very long way! One wipe is worth 3-5 applications. 2-3 drops is enough to use on a handpan along with a paper towel or microfiber cloth to rub it in. If too much is used and the instrument becomes muffled, we recommend cleaning off the excess Ballistol with rubbing alcohol. After discovering how easy it is to use too much Ballistol and therefore significantly muffle the instrument, we do not recommend it for use on the Saraz. However, for other brands of instruments that are too bright or too blary for the player’s taste, Ballistol can be used to tame the sound of the instrument.
Using a rust preventative on handpans is very important for the longevity of the instrument! Environmental influences such as heat and humidity as well as the acidity of skin oils and sweat will eventually rust any handpan if it is not oiled. A Ballistol or froglube wipe can be used for multiple applications while a 4 oz bottle of either rust preventative is enough to last a VERY long time. We no longer carry Ballistol however it can be found very easily from many online retailers.