How To Clean Your Trumpet

Proper trumpet maintenance is key to maintaining your sound, and it protects the investment that you or your parents have made in your trumpet. If you follow the below steps, you can keep your trumpet working smoothly.

Step 1:

Get all your tools ready:

  • A couple towels (old ones will do nicely)
  • Dishwashing liquid, such as Dawn or Joy
  • Your cleaning kit with mouthpiece brush and flexible snake
  • Valve oil and slide grease

Step 2:

Use the bathtub. It’s nice and big, and it will make it hard to drop stuff on the floor. Gather all your tools from above and have them in the bathroom with you. Fill the tub with lukewarm water, about 3 inches deep. Not too hot or the lacquer or silver plating will start to come off, and not too cold or it won’t clean as well.

Step 3:

Pull apart all the slides, take out the valves and put all the pieces including the trumpet itself into the tub. Start washing. Put the dishwashing liquid on the brushes. Use the mouthpiece brush on the mouthpiece. Use the snake inside all the tubing of the slides, the main leadpipe of the trumpet and all the little nooks and crannies.

Step 4:

Rinse. Rinse. Rinse. Turn the faucet back on and rinse out all the soap. Then put all the pieces onto one of the towels to dry. Use the other towel to dry the parts off even better and begin putting it all back together. Use the slide grease on the slides and the valve oil on the valves. Remember that the valves have numbers on them; 1, 2 and 3. Don’t forget to put them back in proper order. If there is not air blowing through, the valve is in backwards or in the wrong casing. Also, there are felts on the valves, so try not to get them too soaked by rinsing, but if it is does get wet, that’s okay.

Step 5:

All done! If your trumpet is silver, polish it up right about now. That will keep the tarnish (black stuff) off the silver plating.

Complete cleaning like this should be done about twice a year. There is also acid bath cleaning, only to be done at a instrument repair shop by professionals. This is for really dirty instruments or every 5-8 years or so.

Continue to oil your valves every few days or more if you are playing several hours a day. Grease your slides every few weeks. Keep your trumpet in excellent working order and it will play better for you.