Why Soak A Reed?
Reeds play better when wet. A reed that has been soaked for a minute or two before playing will have more flexibility than a reed straight out of the box. Dry reeds are more likely to crack. A reed plays best when it is wet and pliant.
Reeds are made of organic material, they are made of cane. Newly purchased cane reeds are made weeks or months before they actually get played. There are many techniques when it comes to soaking your reeds. Most players will use their saliva to moisten the reed. Basically, they will place it in their mouth to get it wet. Some players opt to use water. Water is more corrosive than saliva so it can take a longer time to moisten the cane; however, it is safer because it lessens the chance of food particles damaging the reed. After using the reed, it is suggested that you rinse it and store it carefully, in a case or reed guard, to protect it and allow it to dry flat. Some reed cases come with humidity control packs that help extend the life of your reed.
Soaking time will depend on the reed’s age and humidity level. The older it is, the longer time you should soak it. If you haven’t used your reed in a while you may soak it for a minute or two. It is also advised to never store your reeds too wet because they may warp in shape and can develop mold.