Sticky and bad valves after vinegar bath

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetplayerdk, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. FaithfulPastor

    FaithfulPastor New Friend

    Jul 19, 2007
    The best cleaning agent for your valves is LACQUER THINNER. (Not paint thinner, lacquer thinner).

    Dip the valve into the thinnner but don't immerse the pad or you'll be truly sorry. Let it stay in there for a couple of minutes and then rince it like crazy. Oil it up and you're good to go.

    BTW, lacquer thinner really stinks, so be prepared for the stench. And don't get it on the finish of your horn.
  2. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Do this outside. Lacquer thinner is a VOC (volatile organic compound), unless you acquire a special low-emissions variety. I think it is unnecessarily caustic and risky for use around trumpets. Unless you have a highly unusual kind of crud on your valves, simple warm water with a few drops of dish soap should suffice. Dry with a lint-free cloth, such as an old silk necktie.
  3. FaithfulPastor

    FaithfulPastor New Friend

    Jul 19, 2007
    Veery715 makes a good point about the vapors, but I would gently diagree with the idea that it must be used outside. Good ventilation is more than helpful, but using it outside is a bit much in my opinion.

    As for the harshness of lacquer thinner, it will not harm the valve one bit. It does a great job of removing any crud from inside the valve as in addition to the outside.

    I fought a sticky valve problem for a long time and was ready to replace the horn. A friend recommended the lacquer thinner cleaning (also I used a rag with lacquer thinner on it and pulled it thru the valve casing). It solved the sticky valve problem on the first use.

    I give my trumpets a bath twice a year (it's quite the ordeal in the bath tub with dish soap), and the valves get the lacquer thinner treatment and I've had no negative experiences at all. None from vapors, damage to metal or finish.

    Had it not been for the thinner, I am not sure how much money I would have spent on the sticky valve problem... I may have ended up buying a new horn. So I am really happy with the Home Depot $4.99 cure all in a can.

    Maybe my experience is different than the norm and Veery is correct in the vast majority of usages. The solution he posted above may work for many, many people. However, it did not work for me, thus I took more a aggressive approach.

    Faithfully Yours,
  4. trumpetplayerdk

    trumpetplayerdk New Friend

    Jan 7, 2008
    thanks for all your help. I tried to polish my casings in Brazzo(brass polish) and it has helped a lot for now. So i guess the problem was the casing.
  5. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
  6. Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hey a couple thoughts here. First, be careful with the baking soda -- it is abrasive. I would make sure it is totally dissolved in the water, and I would NOT rub the horn while it is in the baking soda.

    Also when you use vinegar, get the cheap white stuff from the store. Acetic acid. Not white wine vinegar, not balsamic or anything like that. Then you shouldn't have that 'slime' the other person was talking about. To make the desired vinegar solution you need to pay attention to the percent of vinegar in your bottle. I think it is usually 5% by volume. Which means it is 95% water.

    Also, it seems like Brasso actually can take the lacquer off, if I remember right. Are you sure you want to use this? Maybe on valves only, I guess.

    I used to clean my trumpet valves with the valve oil. Just a little on a rag, and rub the valve with it. Any black stuff would come off. I don't know if that was the way to do it, but I was young and stupid. :)
  7. trumpetplayerdk

    trumpetplayerdk New Friend

    Jan 7, 2008
    Yearh, i guess my mix between vinegar and water was a lot too strong maybe 50/50 :S
    My trumpet is without lacquer anyway but thanks.
  8. rolling360

    rolling360 New Friend

    Dec 3, 2007
    I use a higher then labeled CLR bath to clean my horns. I soak them for a few hours or even overnite and they come out extremely clean. It hasnt hurt my silver, gold or lacquer horns one bit. What it will do is turn a raw brass horn with dark patina into a light pinkish color.

    As to the lacquer thinner. As stated above, be very cautious. Use chemical gloves. It is medically proven that wiping your hands with lacquer thinner traces can be found in your liver within 5 to 15 seconds from contact.
  9. Domino

    Domino Pianissimo User

    Sep 18, 2010
    Norway, 69 deg N
    Old thread, I know. But why start a new one? I'm going to try the vinegar thing, but was wondering about the strength of the vinegar. The bottle I have bought is 35 %. How much should I dilute it?
  10. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

    Oct 3, 2008
    Cary NC
    Dilute 35% Acetic acid is extremely corrosive even for our stomaches ( stomach acid is HCL with a Ph of 2 approximately ). I would guess the bottle of vinegar is 35% of a 5% acetic acid solution. Concentrated acetic acid can eat through stainless steel and tantalum as well. I use white table vinegar to clean out my horn and rinse..rinse...rinse.

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