Water Cleaning damages laquer?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TonyM, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. TonyM

    TonyM New Friend

    Jan 23, 2008
    My Grandson's trumpet teacher says NOT to put the trumpet in
    water, because it will "wear off the laquer."

    We cleaned it about a month ago by:

    Buying a cleaning kit from music store.

    Removing all the slides, valves and valve caps.

    Filling the kitchen sink with 6" of lukewarm water and
    a few drops of dish soap

    Putting the trumpet componets - except for the valves
    in the sink. Letting it sit for about 15 minutes while we
    cleaned the valves and caps by hand with a brush and
    some of the soap in the sink.

    After 15 minutes, removed trumpet compents, ran clear
    warm water thru horn and slides until soad removed and
    then ran a snake through all the components.

    Wiped off part of exterior compents with a soft cloth.

    "Polished" a bit with polishing cloth from cleaning kit.

    So, is the trumpet teacher right or is the process as
    described above OK?

  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I wish most students would do as good of a job as you! You cleaned that horn the way I clean my horns - without loss of laquer - ever.
    The only thing that I would add is to let the horn air dry overnight before reassembling. If there is any moisture on the valve or in the valve casing, the oil wil "float" on top of that and not properly lubricate.
    Laquer is specifically there to protect the horn against external forces like moisture and oxidation. If the laquer has been damaged, water will only get under the stuff that is flaking off anyway.
    Keep up the good work!
  3. Brassmonkey

    Brassmonkey Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2007
    As far as I know nothing you have done should have any effect on the laquer of the instrument. More damaging would be to NOT clean off the exterior after playing it. The uric acid in the perspiration of the hands does more damage than anything else. I've had 2 laquered horns in my life and both looked 30 years old after the first 2 years I owned them due to the high acid content of my perspiration. I didn't know that as a kid and those horns might have lasted a bit longer had I been more diligent about cleaning them off after playing each day. I have owned silver horns for the past 30+ years and though I still wear the finish out after a time it lasts far longer.

    You can rarely go wrong by keeping the horn clean.
  4. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I have known people who intentionally took the laquer off their horns by running it through a commercial dishwasher, but NEVER by the cleaning method you used! That's the same way I've cleaned my horns for 25 yrs, and I've never had any laquer loss at all. You would have more problems by not cleaning at all, and letting your leadpipe rot fom the inside out!
  5. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Just as a side note, is he playing an olds like you have listed? I have seen a lot of Olds with laquer peeling off them - I had an Ambassador I used for H.S. pep band that was peeling so badly I used to sit and peel off big strips during the games! I think that's due to the laquer that Olds used, and keeping it out of the water won't save it, either. Get it relaquered if it's a problem, or just leave it as is - it'll be fine.
  6. Fluffy615

    Fluffy615 Piano User

    Nov 30, 2006
    New Jersey
    That sounds like the right plan to me. I use dish washing liquid with warm water and a snake. Toothpaste on the mouthpiece brush is a good way to clean the mouthpiece. And you can use hot water there. The rule that I learned was no hot water on the lacqured instruments. I have a silver horn and hot water has never damaged it. Keep up the good habit.
  7. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    As long as the water's cool enough to put your hands in, it shouldn't do any damage. Really hot water can take off some lacquer, depending on the quality. Different brands can be more or less durable.

    One way to make cleaning easier over the long term is to clean out the mouthpiece (with water and a brush) every few days and the leadpipe and tuning slide (with a snake) weekly or more. That way much less junk will be able to accumulate in the valves and slides and those will that much easier to clean when the time comes. I started doing this about three years ago when I had a couple horns alligned by Reeves and the piston ports are still shiny!
  8. uapiper

    uapiper Pianissimo User

    Apr 13, 2007
    Hamilton, Canada
    I cleaned my Bach tr-300 with a hot soak for about twenty minutes and unintentionally delaquered it. I didn't mind though but I guess use caution and not hot water and there should be no problems.
  9. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA

    Some people don't like to take baths for fear they will ruin their skin or cause them illness. Some people believe one or two baths a year are extreme. Do you want to be in the same room with them?

    It will not hurt your brass instrument to give it a bath in tepid or lukewarm water. There is more advice for cleaning horns than not cleaning them. They play better when they are clean and the acidic perspiration is washed off on a regular basis.

    Of course, if you like red rot, don't wash your horn.

    Best wishes,

  10. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 13, 2007
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
    Hot/Boiling water will remove the lacquer. I know, because I did it intentionally.
    I believe there is not big danger if the water is warm/cool.

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