Leadpipe cleaning - SUPER nasty in there - how do YOU clean it?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Osren, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Osren

    Osren Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 17, 2010
    Mesa, Az
    Lately I've been indulging my N+1 addiction and I would LOVE to know how you guys handle it when you get a trumpet and the lead pipe is just nasty dirty. How DO you get all that crud out?

    I found a my local "DO IT BEST" hardware store a perkalator brush (for those giant coffee pots... nice nylon bristles and a plastic cap on the end. It easily makes it 1/2 way down my lead pipes. I'm attempting to use that... and it helps some, but I won't settle for how much is left in that leadpipe.

    Is there anything I can spray down the lead pipe to loose all that stuff?

    Or is the secret finding the right tools to get it clean?

    What is the magic formula here.....

  2. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    A timely soak in soapy warm water (Dawn works good) with a good brush scrubbing should be a good start. If you feel the issue is calcium deposits then you can try a homemaker chem clean. There are some recipes in some of the other posts to explain how to try such at home.
  3. mush-mouth

    mush-mouth Pianissimo User

    Aug 3, 2009
    I had this problem with my original old horn. In my case it turns out whatever was in there crusting the thing up was susceptible to plain old household white vinegar (standard 5% dilution stuff), so I stuck a little plug in the mouthpiece receiver, filled up the leadpipe with the vinegar, and let it soak for a half-hour or so. After that I used the trumpet snake brush to scrub out whatever was left.

    There is still some pitting in the metal and whatnot, but most of the detritus came out and at least it's not a biohazard anymore.
  4. robrtx

    robrtx Mezzo Forte User

    May 26, 2012
    If dishwashing soap and water don't work with a brush, I have used white vinegar. Plug the tuning slide end of the pipe, fill with white vinegar, and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Drain vinegar and flush with water, soapy brush/snake, rinse clean. I run a reeves lead pipe swab down it to dry it out, then run a gun cleaning patch coated with valve oil up and down using a gun cleaning rod.

    Leadpipe bore is then usually blindingly shiny when looking down and shining a pen light in other end.

    Some may disapprove of vinegar but I have yet to notice any ill effects and I believe it to be less harsh than a lot of chem cleaners used.

    Anyway, that's what I do..........
  5. robrtx

    robrtx Mezzo Forte User

    May 26, 2012
    Oh, and to keep from getting the nasties down there, I try to water flush, dry with swab and re-oil after each playing.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a $100 - $200 dollar leadpipe replacement.........:-)
  6. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'd never do that. Knowing I had to do that would keep me from practicing at all. :dontknow:
  7. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    You might try an appropriately sized copper bristle gun cleaning brush. Be careful where the taper narrows; you might have to switch to a smaller size brush. Always keep twisting the brush in the same direction; otherwise, you could have a jam to undo. Restraint is the key. Unfortunately, if the leadpipe is really nasty, you might find that it's pitted inside from all those years of neglect/abuse, and there's not much to do but live with it or replace it. Also, it's hard to imagine this damage being limited to just the leadpipe.
  8. robrtx

    robrtx Mezzo Forte User

    May 26, 2012
    Point taken, but........

    Really not that much effort; pull the tuning slide, bring horn to kitchen sink and squirt some water into receiver, then run the reeves swab through to dry, then the oiled patch.

    3-5 minutes tops......
  9. gchun

    gchun Piano User

    Dec 10, 2003
    I use a cleaner made by Alisyn, the same company that make the synthetic valve oil. I've also used a degreaser found in machine shops (LPS or LDC or something like that), then a good soaking in warm water with Dawn dishwashing liquid. Brush out. If that doesn't do the trick, I'll send it to a repair shop for a professional cleaning.
  10. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    I send some Herco spitballs down it every now and then... Has never gotten to the point that much of anything accumulates. Not perfect and I'm sure the spitballs don't get everything, but they do a pretty good job. I'm also good about flossing before I play.

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