Cleaning trumpet?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Gxman, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Hey guys,

    My trumpet teacher doesn't really believe in cleaning a trumpet with soaps etc as they are 'harsh chemicals'. He uses water only, brushes etc... then uses valve oil to go over the valves, wipe them down (cotton bud etc) then re-oil.

    Thing is for me... after a while now... I'm tasting valve oil in my mouth (from the smell).

    How can I get rid of this?

    Is there something wrong with using soaps down the valves and trumpet etc?

    What if you had a $20,000 Raja Monette... would you stick soap through that?

    Just wanting to know if there is a "safest" (best) way to clean a horn where nothing will eat into the brass etc over time. So the most productive/safe way to clean it is desirable.

  2. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Well, mild detergent like dishwashing fluid (not the stuff for the dishwasher, but for hand washing dishes) should not leave any side effects - I have been using this method ever since I started playing, and no hooter has yet showed any negative after-effects... if you thoroughly rinse all the parts (except for valve felts, of course!!). Once I forgot to rinse and left washing-up liquid on the 3rd valve slide - went in a treat, but went out a treat as well, as soon as I first blew into the hooter! There was a loud clang when the slide hit the tiled floor, and some days later a loud ka-ching when I had the dent fixed...
  3. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    I'd suggest that you respectfully allow him not to clean HIS trumpet, but to equally respectfully make sure your Little Brass Friend (LBF) absolutely sparkles. Hand dish-washing liquid will do minimum damage especially if it is well rinsed. Leaving the liquid on the surface is not recommended and I even individually rinse each item of cutlery and crockery in fresh clean water after hand washing the dishes, just as I do with my trumpets. Some advice is well intentioned but may be helpful, other advice - less helpful.
  4. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Getzen recommends use of luke-warm water only (no detergent) in the Care and Maintenance Manual that came with my 2013 900 Eterna Classic.

  5. Gendreauj

    Gendreauj Piano User

    Aug 26, 2013
    Hi Gxman,

    First, I clean my valve block using dishwashing detergent and a brush. Then I rinse off the soap and then use alcohol on the everything on the trumpet. Have been using either ultrapure or hetmans on the valves and slides. Tried Blue juice valve oil, but I didn't like the smell. Any newly purchased cornet, I get cleaned immediately. Once a year I have the horns chemically cleaned. Which is about half the cost of ultrasonic cleaning and I think it works as well.

    Bach CR 300 cornet 1978
    Conn 17 A Director cornet 1963
    Denis Wick 2B cornet mp
    Denis Wick 3B cornet mps
    Frank Holton 2B cornet mp
  6. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    When I did wash my trumpet with Soap...

    This is how I did it...

    Disassembled the entire trumpet. Sat it on a cloth, so I can get each part 1 by 1 to clean.


    I used general soft-soap hand wash... press the nozzle down so the soap came out into the tuning slide.
    Put the snake through and move it in and out a few times so that it soaps up through it.
    Then turn on water and rinse it out.
    Flick most of the water out... leave on clean cloth.

    Grab the 1st slide, do the same.

    Then 2nd slide, do the same. 3rd slide do the same.

    Then I would soap the bottom caps up, rinse them out 1 by 1 and place in order as they came off (it seems the playability of the trumpet changes as you change the valve caps, one particular order is the least resistant to play).

    Then I would squeeze out some soap into the lead pipe of the trumpet, run the snake through, rinse it out. Then do the same inside the valve casing, rinse it out.

    Flick the trumpet dry (without wrecking it), rest it on the cloth.

    After a bit when the trumpets decently dry, I would then do the valves.

    Then I would get the valves, one by one I would squeeze out some soap on each, go through all the holes with the snake thing, then rinse it off under the tap, flick dry, add valve oil to it and put it back inside the valve casing. I do not rest these on the cloth as those very hard/faint hairs may attach themselves to it. So once cleaned, dried, valve oil, straight back in the horn. That's why I do these last as the horn needs cleaning before they go in.

    Once all in, then I use Hetman tuning slide grease medium/light on the slides etc, then i put them on and done.

    This process takes me over an hour to do though, and a fair few squeezes of soap gets used up as well as water rinsing everything piece by piece as it gets cleaned. So I find this very tedious and time consuming.

    On other hand, as that getzen manual says... that is how my teacher suggested. He never said that it is right or wrong, just his personal thing. He will just run a cotton bud over the valves, clean up the mess with that then use fresh valve oil over the valves, wipe down (cleaned by the oil itself) and then re-oil and put back in. He also wipes off old tuning slide grease, and re-adds fresh one. Uses lukewarm water through the trumpet and uses the snake through it etc, just no soap.

    So basically warm water cleans the horn and casing (with the snakes/valve casing brush), then valve oil in conjunction with wiping old stuff off is used to clean the valves off (he said valve oil acts as a cleaner as well as lubricator) and same thing with the tuning slide grease, just wipe old stuff off, and add new stuff... logic is, why use soap to get old stuff off, to make it squeeky clean just to dirty it again by adding grease to it... so just wipe off, add new, all you really need to do.

    I see logic in both ways.

    I just *cough cough* hate the flavor of valve oil coming through the horn into my mouth, that stuff is horrible.
  7. Tjnaples

    Tjnaples Piano User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Hi! Monette had instructions for their horns, you can find the links to videos they have on cleaning their horns in my Monette P3-STC thread. In short using lemon dish detergent like Ajax is instructed for brushing out the valve casings, piston holes, and using the snake for tubing. Soap holds dirt in suspension, a good thing. Once a month it gets a bath in the soap as well. I am to never wipe down the Pistons, valve oil and the valve oil nossel are the only thing to ever touch it. To stop mineral deposits oiling before and after playing is recommended.

    Hope this helps from someone that has a Monette.

  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
  9. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    You're supposed to clean the damn thing?
  10. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2014

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