How to clean a brass instrument

By | April 5, 2021


Gather your supplies and brass instruments. Connect the bathtub if you clean your brass instrument in the bathtub.


Disassemble your instrument. Remove all slides, valves and pistons. Replace the valves and pistons.


Mix a small amount of soap and water with warm (not hot) water. Hot water can damage the paint on the instrument, so avoid getting the water too hot.


Using the toothbrush, cleaning hose and washcloth thoroughly, wash all parts of the brass instrument. Take in the whole tube with the snake. Use a toothbrush to clean the nozzle and smaller surfaces.


Soak the valves and flasks in a small, shallow bowl of warm soapy water so that they are only covered to the top of the flask. Do not get the blanket wet as it may mold.


Rinse the brass instrument to remove all soap and dry it completely. Gently rinse the valves and pistons and dry them with a towel.


Use the valve cover brush to clean the valve cover and pistons.


Wipe all parts of the brass instrument. Apply a small amount of lubricating oil to slide and a large amount of oil to the valves. Apply a little extra oil on all red spots (known as dezinicification) and blue or green spots (an indication of corrosion). Refit the instrument.

Tips and warnings

  • Never use metal brushes or snakes; It may damage the instrument. Never place a brass instrument in the dishwasher or any other mechanical cleaning appliance.
  • Brass instruments, including trumpets, grains, trombones, French horns and tubes, need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them in good musical condition. Sweating and saliva can cause redness and corrosion inside and outside the instrument. While some musicians prefer to send out their instruments for professional scouring, it is easy and much cheaper to clean your instrument at home with basic household cleaners and tools.