cleaning agent...better choice?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    I've used dawn liquid soap in mild water for years when cleaning my trumpet. I'm wondering if there's a cleaning agent free of coloring, and less likely to leave a film. Rowuck once pointed out how important rinsing is, "when you think you've done enough rinsing, rinse some more". I'll continue to rinse thoroughly, and allow the horn to dry thoroughly, but I still would like to have a pure product to work with. Any suggestions?

  2. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah
    There are a bunch of threads on this already. Put in chemical cleaning and a few variations and it will open up before your very eyes. But be sure not to believe all the advice. A weak, "wrong" solution will do less damage than a strong, "wrong" solution.
  3. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 25, 2008
    I personally wouldn't mess with chemicals, unless one: you know what your doing, and two: unless you really need to do it.

    When I went to the local repair shop the guy there told me to use plain and simple dish soap! It cuts through and cleans great, he said!
  4. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    CLR is something that you can use. How much is a question that not everybody agrees. Some say 1 portion CLR to 10 water while other say 1/15. Use the latest - better safe than sorry. Soak not more than 15-20min then rinse thoroughly.
  5. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    I was hoping for something less risky. I guess i'll stick with the Dawn and rinse the hell out of it. Thanks............. crow
  6. krauseheim

    krauseheim New Friend

    Mar 5, 2006
    Shoreview, Minnesota
    In about five minutes, I'll be submerging my old an' ugly Gretsch Pathfinder into a laundry tub full of water, with some Dawn dishwashing soap. And maybe a squirt of household degreaser too. And... aw what the heck, a little vinegar. Tasty cocktail o' cleaners.

    The horn's got something in it from a previous owner (I've only had the thing a few months, and love it), that, when I oil the valves, turns into a greasy, dark yellow mess that drips out of the bottoms of the valves. Ruined a tie and a shirt. Dang. I suspect the previous owner had an interesting concoction of his own for oiling the valves, perhaps from the world of food preparation, or perhaps the world of automotive lubricants. Whatever it was, I hope to banish it from the bowels of this incredibly ugly by amazingly nice-sounding old trumpet of mine that I bought on eBay for $15 and play daily while my $1400 Getzen collects dust as punishment for not making me sound like Maurice, Wynton and/or Doc. Bad Getzen! Go lay by your dish!
  7. Rushtucky

    Rushtucky Pianissimo User

    Sep 15, 2008
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Good old plain Palmolve dishsoap is the standby. There are may "cocktails". The CLR solution should only be done by someone knowing what they are doing. The standard mix is 1 part CLR to 15 parts water and soak for only 15 minutes. I usually do this once a year. Every six months I will utilize a vinegar solution. To get the valve casings clean during my bi-monthly cleaning, I will use Liquid Green. This cuts all of the "gunk" and residue. I then rise throughly.

    At the end of my year end "tune-up" of my trumpet, I will use Magic Valve (very lightly) to make my valves like new.

    Daily maintanaince is the way to go. After each practice swab out the lead pipe with a swab cloth or a brush from HWP (these are great!), and clean the residue out of the valve caps.
  8. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA
    Hi Crow,

    When doctors prescribe medicine, they usually start with the lowest dose of prescribed medicine and work up - not hit people with the heaviest dose.

    Cleaning a horn on a regular basis with dishwashing soap is probably the best. Vinegar is usually fine, too. Leave the heavy cleaning for the techs.

    I find the dishwashing soap with degreasers (when necessary) more than adequate for brass instruments when they are cleaned regularly. Vinegar is a nice touch when desired. I rinse, rinse, rinse ' til the soap residue is gone! I use antibiotic dishwashing soap (in the aroma I choose) as I'm not fond of the smell of vinegar. I use the same antibiotic dishwashing soap for my sleep apnea mask and hose for the same I don't want to smell vinegar all night. Regular dishwashing soap works fine.

    Best wishes,

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  9. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I used to work as the repairman in the repairshop of a local music store, and being right out of repair school and getting requests for chemical cleaning of instrument my boss suggested that I buy them and offer the service. So I did, and it wasn't until an old college friend who had gotten a PhD in chemistry visited (he is a trombonist) and told me that I couldn't dispose of the chemicals without going through a hazardous materials disposal agency that I really thought about what they were. I knew they were poisonous, and they did a really great and fast job of cleaning the junk out and brigthening up the unlacquered parts of the instruments, but I had never really thought about the environmental aspect of the stuff.

    So when I quit working at that store and opened my own repair shop in my basement, with a newborn baby who would eventually be an inquisitive toddler wandering around, I have never bought nor used such chemicals.

    I do just what your local repair shop does -- clean the horns thoroughly with soap and water, rinse extensively to be sure no soapy residue is left, and in 24 years of running my own repair shop I've never had a complaint.

    Soaking the instrument for a while is helpful, using brushes large enough to make good solid contact with the tubing is important, and then getting the owners to clean their horns regularly on their own solves the problem.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Modern dishwashing liquids ARE VERY powerful formulas designed to cut through grease and remove food particles with minimum effort - EXACTLY what we are trying to do. If it is good enough for our wives and dishes, the horn is OK too! In addition they are reasonably non-toxic. I recommend to rinse to make sure all of that cutting power does not destroy the effects of newly applied valve oil and slide grease.

    I use a german brand with "citrus cutting power". The horn has a nice lemony smell for a while afterwards too.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010

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