How to Clean Your Trumpet

William Cramer by William Cramer | Last Updated: June 17, 2020

Your Trumpet is a precious object that you love it more than any household product at your home.

Absolutely, as a music lover, you take care of your musical instrument like a pet owner look after his or her child as well.

During your playing, you should clean your trumpet on a regular basis. However, how can you clean your trumpet?

Is it difficult to wipe down? How often should you clean your trumpet?

Things you Need to Prepare for Beginning the Cleaning Process 

  • A sink, a bathtub, or a laundry tub with lukewarm water
  • Dish soap or hand dish-washing soap (please note that the dishwasher detergent is not required because it can damage the plating)
  • Snake charmer or a snake brush (without a snake brush, you cannot clean each small piece of your trumpet)
  • Valve casing brush
  • Lubricants
  • Mouthpiece brush
  • Valve oil
  • Slide grease
  • Polish (optional)
  • A rag, a towel larger or any kind of something is bigger than the surface area of the trumpet

How to Clean the Trumpet? It is Easy than You May Thought!

Step 1: Collect your Materials First

To clean your trumpet, you need to prepare a big bin, bucket or even a bathtub to put you trumpet in this place.

Along with a large surface to cover your trumpet, you should get two towels to lay the horn on, a washcloth, and a polishing cloth to stay dry the horn without scraping the finish.

Some dish soap and brushes consisting of a snake brush and a pipe cleaner which will be helped you clean your trumpet.

After that, you need to use valve oil and a slide grease to add oil to your trumpet exactly when you assemble it.

Step 1: Collect your Materials First

What’s more, you enable to find the oil and grease a music shop or an instrument store easily.

If you are not sure what kind of grease and oil to purchase, then you should ask one of the workers or an experienced guitarist what things they would utilize for their musical instrument.

Purchasing kits online which are created to clean trumpets and brass instruments is a good idea that you can choose from.

If you do not take a polishing cloth, you could try a microfiber cloth or an old cotton T-shirt instead.

In case you use a shirt, be sure it is the one that has been washed regularly and it does not contain any text on it.

Then, you should avoid scraping your instrument at any time. Do not use a towel to dry off your instrument on a regular basis.

Step 2: Take Apart your Trumpet

Before dissembling all parts of your trumpet, you should hold your valves when putting it back in.

To clean your trumpet, you should take apart it because you can pay attention to all areas of your instrument.

Dissemble all pieces of the instrument, but remember to set your twist unfasten the springs and felt pads which are available in the valves.

You will not want to clean these as they get damaged if wet. Be careful not to diminish all pieces as you disassemble your trumpet.

Once taken part these pieces, you need to remember their positions to be sure you get the right fit for them.

If your valves get wet, it will affect the shape and hamper the performance of the valves. In case the springs get wet, it can make the deterioration.

Sometimes, if you add oil in the wrong position of your valves, they can get stuff the sound when you are playing.

Getting rid of these parts and the slides should not require more effort.

Thus, if you are feeling that they are difficult to disassemble them, then you could guess that they may be stuck.

In this situation, you should not force them out because this can damage your trumpet at all.

Contact to a professional to ask for help in order not to damage the instrument.

Step 2: Take Apart your Trumpet

Step 3: Fill up Lukewarm Water to a Bathtub or Something Like That

Let your bathtub has a halfway with warm water. Then, you should add a few drops of dish soap into the tub.

Do not forget to drain the pipe in the bathtub to prevent the leaking water outside the tub.

Please note that the hot water can damage the finish of your trumpet, so always fill up the lukewarm water and check it by touching.

Though cold water will not damage your trumpet, it will not make the most effective soaking in your trumpet.

In case you do not have a tube, you can select a large bucket instead.

You need to ensure that bucket is long and deep enough so that you are able to put your trumpet flat in the water.

Step 4: Put a Towel Down in The Tub

I am pretty sure that you do not want your trumpet dent on the tough surface when you place your trumpet in the bathtub.

To prevent this happens, you need to put a towel down in order to make some padding and avoid the scratch when cleaning the trumpet.

Do not take small towels because it cannot cover the entire trumpet. Instead, select long towels and take it at the bottom of the tub.

Then, you ought to spread it out, so it also covers the bottom of the tub fully.

Step 5: Take your Trumpet Parts Down to Immerse

You should stop the water flow when you see the tub is halfway full. Then, you need to take its parts down into the water on the towel.

If you clean your valves, it could reduce the felt. After that, you set them out to avoid the bumping against each other in the water.

Let your instrument in the soaked surface about 20 minutes or more so that the dish soap cleans them efficiently.

Experienced guitarists agree that the mouthpiece should be in the hot water to wash them better.

Step 5: Take your Trumpet Parts Down to Immerse

Step 6: Clean The Trumpet Out

After your trumpet has been immersed, you can sometimes to clean it out by using a snake brush and pipe cleaners to move out all the debris of your slides.

Also, you should put the brush through the valve casings a few times and spend the time to clean out the area closes to the mouthpiece.

Thanks to this area, it takes lots of build-up elements and bacteria. Therefore, you will want to clean it smoothly.

Step 7: Clean The Outside Trumpet with a Washcloth

When you leave your trumpet out of the soaking water, you should begin with the exterior cleaning.

Then, you use a washcloth and dip it in the tub with the soaking wet condition.

Thereafter, you rub the outside trumpet with the washcloth gently.

Go ahead with the dirt and dust around the instrument. Be sure to brush the trumpet harshly because this can make bad marks.

Step 8: Go with Each Piece of The Trumpet

After you have cleaned and scrubbed all parts of the trumpet, do not forget to unplug the drain in the tub.

Because the water begins to remove, you should turn the faucet back on and wash out all pieces of warm water.

Moreover, you should take a towel down on the floor around the tube. After rising each piece, you need to place it on the towel.

Related: How to Play a Trumpet Properly?

Step 9. Dry Each Piece by Using a Polish Cloth

To evade scuff marks on the surface of the trumpet, do not miss out the polishing step.

How to polish each piece on your trumpet? Use a cloth which will not abrade the instrument and start to dry it.

Take the polish cloth and clean your trumpet, as well as reducing the excess water.

Then, you set the trumpet back down on the towel and wait for the drying process on the air.

Step 10: Assemble Pieces Together and Oil the Trumpet

After the trumpet has dried, you need to assemble each piece together.

Do not worry about the wet mouthpiece because most brass instruments like the trumpet are used to a little moisture.

Remember to grease the instrument and oil the valves as well.

Furthermore, you should not take the oil and grease on it because this may create build-up components and diminish the performance of your trumpet.

Use just enough that the slides and valves can be assembled together.

Please keep in mind that when you put the valve back to the casting, you should not rotate it because it enables to cause excessive wear.

Insert it into its casting slowly till you hear a sound like a click.

Read more: How To Hold The Trumpet In A Perfect Way

How to Clean the Trumpet Daily and Weekly

  • Disassemble valves one at a certain time and add 2 or 3 drops of valve oil. Then, you should turn the valve on in a circular motion when lowering it back into the casting. This will open the oil out and helps the valve guide to break the guide groove. Thereafter, you can add extra an amount of oil every 2 or 3 days or as indeed.
  • Rinse out the mouthpiece with liquid dish soap firstly. Next, you need to get the mouthpiece brush back and forth through the endpoints. Remember to wash this with clean water.
  • Rub the dirt and streak the trumpet with a polishing cloth. At this time, you can give additional attention to the area where your hands keep the instrument to get rid of skin oils and sweat as well.

How to Clean your Instrument Monthly

  • Put your instrument on a towel and remove both the valves and slides at the same time. If valves and slides are stuck, then you should not try to get them out. Instead, you need to ask for help from an experienced repairman.
  • Select a large bathtub, bucket, or a sink as well and fill up the warm water over the valves and slides. Never add hot water to wash your instrument. It is really important not to leave your trumpet soaking in the water.
  • With small containers, you should mix these up in the liquid soap and water at once. Then, pick a snake brush end into the soap and run it through each side. Rinse the instrument again with warm water again. Next, you need to set the slides vertical for the excess water to be used up. Thereafter, you should leave all slides for a time to completely dry out.
  • Clean each valve in the soap area by using the mouthpiece brush and run through all valve holes to wipe down any particles that can be embedded. And remember to rinse with warm water and dry them out with a soft cotton cloth.
  • The bell also needed to be cleaned as well with warm water. Dip the snake brush into the soap surface. Adjust the snake slow down to the bell till it has the first valve casing. Gently push the snake brush for the first valve casing and the second as well.
  • Dip the snake brush again into the soap solution; work it back and forth on each slide of the tube casing.
  • Use a large valve brush and run it into the soap solution. Then, you need to run it back in all valve casings. The bell also should be run in lukewarm water while valves and slid casings flush out the soap.
  • Turn the trumpet around many times to draw off all the water. Then, you need to use a cotton cloth and insert it into the end of the valve rod. Cover the cloth around the metal to protect the interior valve casing from the contact with the metal. Later, you need to remove any oil remainder and grease as well.

How to Clean your Instrument Monthly

How to Resemble your Trumpet Precisely

  • Because all valves are numbered, you can begin with the first valve. Then, you add 2 drops of oil and adjust the valve when you put it lower into the casing. Repeat with other valves.
  • Use a light film of tuning slide grease around each slide of tubes. Remove any excess grease and insert them into the exact casing.
  • With the outside of the instrument, do not miss out this area to be cleaned as well. Use with a polishing cloth and start the cleaning process. Then, you should vacuum the interior of the case to remove lint and dirt.
  • Use a wet drag and clean the outer case. Also, vinyl cleaning polishes can clean and make the outside of your case shine again.

Read more: Top 15 Greatest Trumpet Players of All Time

How to Grease your Instrument

  • Keep your trumpet precisely like it would when playing it, but you should hold it at a 45-degree angle downward.
  • Unfasten the top cap and lift the valve only halfway out of the casing. Do not take it off totally.
  • Add about 5 drops of valve oil on the valve surface.
  • Shake out the oil around by rotating the valve up and down in casing.
  • Get the valve in the casing.
  • Adjust the valve till you hear a click which shows that the valve guide has fallen in the exact space. This places the valve with all the ports when necessary.

Please carry in mind that the valve guide is a small plastic piece placed under the valve spring. This must crack a little notch in the casing.

When it does, the valve will be aligned completely. You will know how the valve guide is in the correct place as you will hear a click sound and the valve will not rotate. 

The Reason you Should Grease the Valves 

If you do not grease the slides in the valves on a regular basis, you will fuse the tubes together and you will have to pay extra prices to repair as well as add the acid bath to stabilize them again!

This is also the major cause you get stuck slides. Your trumpet dries out and all that remains are your bucks.

You will not enable to cut down these bucks with any soap, water or any cleaning kit. It should be separated by acid at a quality repair shop.

How to Lubricate the Valves 

You need to know that there are two main types of slides on your trumpet. In general, guitarists call them slow slides and fast slides.

Slow sides are tailored to slowly move and go fast to fine tune your instrument when playing.

You also should activate them by using your finger, so they must be free to do it easily and smoothly while you play a song.

Thus, you lubricate anything in the valve which is meant to slightly move and grease anything which is meant to quickly move.

In case you grease anything which is meant to move fast, you will reduce the speed on it.

In fact, grease is thick like molasses and decrease the speed of everything on the instrument.

Valve oil is also thin and it has the evenness of liquid. Therefore, it increases the speed so fast.

Things to Evade while Having a Trumpet 

  • Do not eat, drink or chew gum while you are playing your trumpet. These things can leave particles and affect the playing qualities at all. You should wash your mouth with fresh water before playing. In other words, you need to make sure that your mouth is clean enough before and while playing.
  • Do not get your mouthpiece into the receiver with your hand. Gently adjust the mouthpiece and it will precisely seal. If the mouthpiece becomes stuck, then you should not try to get rid of it with pliers. Ask for help in this situation! An experienced repairman or other qualified persons will have a mouthpiece puller to treat this issue. This will take the mouthpiece off without having damage to the mouthpiece or the instrument as well.
  • In case you need to stop for a break or finish your playing session, you should get your trumpet back into the case. Never lay the instrument down in the unprotected surface.
  • Do not get your trumpet soaking in the bathtub. Lengthened soaking will damage the lacquer finish.
  • You should not carry a book, papers, music or other big objects in the case if your case has a right compartment.

Things to evade while having a trumpet

Extra Tips When Cleaning The Trumpet

  • Do not use cold water. Instead, select warm water only. Hot water can damage all pieces of your trumpet.
  • Avoid take apart the water keys or any trigger having a spring as some special parts are needed to put them back together. It is not easy to get them back in the right places without using the exact equipment.
  • Choose a sliver polish to get rid of grime and tarnish from silver-plated trumpets.
  • Do not use polish for a brass or the silver trumpet with a lacquer finish because the polish ought to decrease the quality of the finish.

Final Words 

In a nutshell, it is not difficult to clean your trumpet. Once you have already known the ways, just begin with each step and continue to wash it for other times.

Caring and maintenance are both extremely important to build the durability of an instrument like the trumpet.

Do not forget to prepare the tools and other necessary points before starting because you cannot undertake this task well without the cleaning kit.

William Cramer, the founder of Fire Inside Music, started to learn music in 2012 with a piano. He has continued to level-up his playing skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other beginners. He launched Fire Inside Music in 2017 to make playing music more approachable for everyone looking to master a musical instrument.