How to Care for a B-Flat Tuba

The B-flat tuba is a massive instrument that literally must be bathed in the bathtub to thoroughly clean the instrument. Using a mild household dishwashing liquid and specific cleaning tools, keeping your B-flat tuba pristine is a process that involves a small amount of daily and monthly maintenance. Keeping your tuba clean ensures that you remove buildup before it has a chance to change the sound and behavior of your instrument.

Step 1

Fill a bathtub with warm water and add about 4 tbsp. dishwashing liquid.

Step 2

Remove the valves, caps and springs and place them on a soft cloth in the order you removed them. Place the first valve on the left, the second valve in the middle and the third valve on the right.

Step 3

Remove all of the slides on the tuba and place them in the water. Carefully push the snake through the inside of the slide to remove any debris. Let the slides sit for two minutes.

Step 4

Remove the slides, dry them off with a soft towel and apply a small amount of slide grease to the portion of the slide that is inserted into the tuba. Set the slides aside on a towel.

Step 5

Place the tuba into the bathtub and let it soak for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the tuba and rinse the outside and inside with warm water.

Step 6

Empty any remaining water by turning the tuba. Start with the bell facing downward and then turn clockwise several times to allow all of the water to evacuate the instrument. Use a cloth to dry the outside of the tuba and the inside of the bell.

Step 7

Brush the inside of the valves carefully with a valve brush. This process requires care, as any scratches may damage the valve casing.

Step 8

Insert the slides back into the appropriate tubing. Add additional slide grease if necessary.

Step 9

Place the valve caps and springs back into the casing and then insert the valves. Apply valve oil liberally to the valves and replace them inside their valve casings. Press the valves up and down several times to disperse the oil.

Step 10

Soak the mouthpiece for five minutes in the water and use a mouthpiece brush to clean the inside of the mouthpiece. Insert the brush through the end of the mouthpiece to clean the inside of the mouthpiece bore.


Use a mouthpiece brush daily to clean the inside of your mouthpiece after every practice session, rehearsal or performance.

Use a brass-polishing cloth to keep the exterior of your instrument shining.


The valves should be removed first to relieve pressure inside the instrument before removing the slides.


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