Cleaning valves

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Blind Bruce, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

    Apr 17, 2009
    Winnipeg Canada
    Hi all, I have read conflicting ways to clean the valves. So far, I have immersed only the lower part of the valves in the detergent solution, leaving the stem and felts dry. Is that necessary or will geting the felts wet not harm them?:huh:
  2. rbdeli

    rbdeli Mezzo Piano User

    May 8, 2009
    I'm curious to the answers on this.

    I've always dissassembled mine and washed them in a non-scented mild detergent, rubbing them with soft cloth.

    is there a solvent or better cleaning agent that can be used?
  3. rbdeli

    rbdeli Mezzo Piano User

    May 8, 2009
    While we're on the topic, what's the preferred choice of valve oil brands on the board?

    Blue juice seems to be a popular one, but I never did care for it. I've always used Al Cass. I know some don't like it, but it works best for me.
  4. walldaja

    walldaja Pianissimo User

    Feb 25, 2008
    Kokomo, IN
    I've always been told not to get the felts wet as it could affect your alignment as they may become compressed.

    I've tried lots of things over the years but found wadding compound works quite good at removing serious corrosion (scientific term is "black euck") that my saliva manages to induce on the valves (monel only). As for oil, on my new horns I use Space Filler Ultimate II for "tight" valves (Jupiter, B&S, & Sonare trumpets). I use Al Cass on my flugal horn and cornets.

    Then there is my friend who never cleans his horn / valves and never seems to have any issues with either--go figure.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    it is only important to get the grunge off. Discoloration is not a big deal. As long as we can get those contaminants off without abrasive methods, it is fine. More important is getting the valves and casing bone dry BEFORE reoiling. Why? Oil floats on top of water/moisture. That limits its protective properties - resulting in increased wear.

    Any oil can do a decent job if applied correctly. Petroleum based products like Al Cass last less than a day due to evaporation. What is left after the petroleum part is gone is paraffin and the aerosols out of our breath plus the moisture in the horn.
    Synthetics can last up to a week, but regular oiling "flushes" contaminants out of the valve assembly.

    There is a period in the life of a valve where little maintenance seems to still be OK. The wear is enough that nothing binds regardless of the sludge present. The wear accelerates very rapidly when basic maintenance is ignored. The problems will come - following Murphys law. That means failure is imminent when you least need it.
  6. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Hi Bruce,
    Interestingly, I have never washed any valves in any instuments like that.

    I dismantle, and wipe clean. I use a clean lint-free cloth to get into all the holes. I pull-through clean the casings, then re-assemble. A few drops of valve oil in the casing, then drop the valve in and coat with a few more drops. Some vaseline on the caps (just a touch), the always soft/light test before putting away; to check all aligned and no blockage.

    Somewhere in my past, I had 2 bad experiences, water getting into the valves after a clean and slowing them up, and 2nd was pulling the horn out to play with valves not in correctly - almost blew a hernia on the spot.

  7. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 25, 2008
  8. samdaman

    samdaman Pianissimo User

    Jun 15, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    1) Don't get the felts wet! It's like getting your socks wet. You may not see the socks, but they play an important part in making everything comfortable.

    2) Dishwashing detergent is good. If you ever have any green or orange build-up (almost like algae) on your valves, use a diluted solution of white vinegar. Soak your valves in it for a little bit and then take a paper towel soaked in the solution and use some elbow grease to wipe the rest off. You and your valves will thank me later.

    3) My personal preference in valve oils are Ultra-Pure, Bells Super Lube, and the Yamaha stuff that's supplied with horns. I also have a PFTE (Teflon) additive that keeps my valves running smooth for 100,000 miles :-)

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