We've had many inquiries about properly sanitizing stage weapons etc. recently. Obviously, during the COVID-19 pandemic, sanitizing practically everything we use day to day (especially anything that is used by more than one person) has become a new standard. This can understandably be confusing when dealing with the different materials involved in stage weaponry. So, we wanted to address these issues, the best we can, and put together a guideline when it comes to the different parts / materials.
The short answer: We recommend the use of Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) 70%+ wipes for sanitizing metal parts of stage weapons. Allow to quickly dry (evaporate) and then immediately apply a coating of light weight oil (3-in-1, gun oil, mineral oil, etc.) to all steel parts. For aluminum, wipe with a clean cloth after drying.
The long answer: We recommend 70%+ Isopropyl Alcohol wipes for all metal parts because they do not contain the moisture retaining chemicals (Propylene Glycol & Glycerin) found in common hand sanitizer and evaporate quickly. Even though a coating of oil should always be applied to steel parts after sanitizing, the moisture retaining properties of some sanitizers could trap moisture between the steel and oil barrier causing rust.
We do not recommend the use of non-alcohol sanitizers containing Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (quats) like Benzalkonium Chloride. These are salt derived disinfectants that may cause pitting in metals.
We do not recommend the use of common household disinfecting wipes for many reasons, but mainly since the surface should remain wet for an extended period to be effective.
DO NOT USE BLEACH FOR ANY PURPOSE IN SANITIZING STAGE WEAPONS
Metals: 70%+ Isopropyl Alcohol wipes for all metal surfaces. Allow to quickly dry (evaporate). Immediately apply a coating of light weight oil (3-in-1, gun oil, mineral oil, etc.) to all steel surfaces. We use Marvel Mystery Oil. Wipe down all aluminum surfaces with a clean cloth. Wax may be used in place of oil, though it needs time to set before use and will be harder to sanitize often.
Blackened Steel: We've tested our blackened steel and did not find any discoloration from the use of Isopropyl Alcohol wipes for sanitizing purposes.
Leathers: We would recommend the use of a leather conditioner to clean and disinfect. We do not recommend the use of any solvents like alcohol on leather. Alcohol will deteriorate organic materials over time and can also dissolve the adhesives in leather grips. In our research, we've found that a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and distilled water can also be used to clean and sanitize leather while properly mixed. Though, we have not personally tested this solution and therefore can not specifically recommend it.
Leather Grips - A leather conditioning wipe or spray (Auto, Furniture, etc.) should work fine to sanitize any leather grip without discoloring. Always test an inconspicuous area first.
Leather Gloves - We currently recommend the use of disposable gloves instead of leather or other materials in settings that need to be regularly sanitized. If leather gloves are used, a specific leather conditioner like saddle soap should be used to clean and sanitize leather gloves and left to dry. Gloves should be cleaned both inside and outside to properly sanitize and hung dry avoiding heat. Always test an inconspicuous area first for discoloration.
Wire: 70%+ Isopropyl Alcohol wipes may be gently used to sanitize wire wraps. We've tested every material we use in wire wraps (Colored Aluminum, Brass, Copper, Colored Copper, Steel, Stainless Steel) and found no adverse affects or discoloration. We do recommend caution when using alcohol wipes on wire wraps as alcohol will dissolve the adhesives in the grip. Though, if used lightly there shouldn't be any issues as the wipes evaporate quickly and our wire wraps are mostly held through tension.
Wire on Leather: Some grips have a wire wrap around the leather. We would not recommend any alcohol sanitizer on these since it will harm the leather. With our research, we feel that a leather conditioning wipe or spray will be fine for leather grips with wire wraps. Just be sure that everything is properly dried afterwards.
Paracord: 70%+ Isopropyl Alcohol may be used to sanitize paracord wraps on items like our aluminum knives. We have found no deterioration or discoloration in testing our paracord material. Though, it's always a good idea to test an inconspicuous area first.
Rubber: We would recommend a non alcohol based cleaner to sanitize rubber parts like our Single Sword grips. Most household cleaners as well as a soap and water solution should be fine. Even infrequent use of alcohol on rubber can cause discoloration. Prolonged use can begin to cause the rubber to break down.
Wood: We would recommend the use of a wood cleaner to clean and disinfect any wood parts like quarterstaffs or knife grips. Much like leather, alcohol based cleaners can cause discoloration, deteriorate wood over time, and dissolve any adhesives. We've found the 50/50 white vinegar and distilled water solution to be recommended for wood surfaces as well. Though, once again, we haven't personally tested it so we cannot specifically endorse it. Please use your best judgement.