How to Clean a Referee Whistle

Referee blowing whistle and pointing

Regularly washing your referee whistle will keep it in working order and prevent the transfer of harmful bacteria. Over time, dried saliva can build up on the inside of your whistle, altering how air flows through your whistle and therefore the sound it makes. How you clean your referee whistle depends on whether your whistle is made of metal or plastic.

Cleaning Your Whistle

A metal whistle can be cleaned by dropping it into a pan of boiling water and a teaspoon of baking soda for less than 60 seconds. However, if your whistle is made of plastic, boiling it can cause damage. Instead, soak the whistle in a bowl of antiseptic mouthwash for 30 to 60 minutes, then rinse the whistle with cool water and let it dry thoroughly. Both metal and plastic whistles also can be cleaned by soaking them in a combination of lukewarm water and baking soda. If your whistle has a pea, cleaning it with water and baking soda right before you’re scheduled to use it will allow the whistle to produce a better sound, since the pea will be moist and clean. Once your metal or plastic whistle is clean, store it in the freezer when you’re not using it to help prevent bacteria buildup.