How to Bathe a Trumpet

Things You'll Need

Polishing cloth
Cotton towels
Valve Oil
Slide Grease
Trumpet Snake
Cleaning Rod
Mouthpiece Brush

Cleaning kits are not necessary to clean your trumpet. Commercial kits can be abrasive and actually harm the lacquer or finish of your trumpet. The best option is to bathe your trumpet using a light dish-washing liquid. With the right materials and tools, it is possible to clean your trumpet thoroughly and avoid costly repairs and refinishing that may be required because of harsh chemicals and cleaning kits. Cleaning your trumpet properly will save you money and reduce overall maintenance.

Step 1

Fill a sink or bathtub with warm water and apply a small amount of dish soap to the water. One to two tablespoons is enough for two to three gallons of water.

Step 2

Remove the valves. This must be completed first to prevent buildup of pressure when removing slides. Rest the valves on a soft cloth.

Step 3

Disassemble the trumpet by removing the valve slides, tuning slides and bottom valve caps. Place these parts in the warm, soapy water for five minutes to let them soak.

Step 4

Remove each slide from the water and use your trumpet snake to clean the inside of each slide. When finished, rinse the valves with clean, cool water and dry the outside with a cloth. You should place the slides in a position so that water drains out of the slides while they dry.

Step 5

Place the body of the trumpet in the water and let it soak for eight minutes. When you remove the trumpet, use the snake to clean the instrument by pushing it through the trumpet bell and each of the open tubes. Rinse and then dry the horn with a cloth.

Step 6

Wrap a cloth through the loop of the cleaning rod. Use this to clean the trumpet valve casings. Be very careful, scratches in a valve casing can cause valves to stick and require professional valve buffing.

Step 7

Dry all of the remaining pieces. Oil the valves liberally with valve oil, and place the valves back into their casings. The valves have numbers on the valve stems that indicate where each valve belongs.

Step 8

Apply a small amount of slide grease to each slide and insert the slides into the trumpet body. You will need to spread the slide grease by using your fingers to distribute it equally along each slide.

Step 9

Insert the mouthpiece brush into the end of the mouthpiece to remove any debris and buildup. Clean the mouthpiece with a soft cloth and some warm water.

Step 10

Polish the trumpet with a polishing cloth appropriate for your instrument. A silver plated instrument requires a silver polishing cloth, brass requires a brass polishing cloth.


Do not soak the valves in water. They may rust.


Do not use a screwdriver if you have trouble removing valve caps. Try applying valve oil to the sides and inside of the trumpet to loosen the caps.


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