Trumpet DiscussionDiscuss Mysterious Tarnish Attack in the General forums; Originally Posted by SteveRicks
Aluminum foil method is easy. Remove valves (don't put them in), disassemble horn. Wrap parts in ...
Aluminum foil method is easy. Remove valves (don't put them in), disassemble horn. Wrap parts in aluminum foil (just a 10 second quick wrap, nothing fancy). Submerge in very very hot water (the hotter the better). Add a cup of baking soda and/or table salt. Wait for 40 minutes. Unwrap and rinse. Done.
It sounds simple enough. I suppose finding a vessel large enough to contain the horn and its parts would be the biggest challenge. I'll look into it. Probably a decent YouTube video out there somewhere.
The tarnishing agent is hydrogen sulphide rather than sulphur dioxide.
Only very small amounts are involved. My guess would be that your case has got a little damp sometime, and allowed some microbes called SRBs to start a little colony somewhere. Might be an idea to give your case a thorough airing.
That makes sense. The horn is very snugly ensconced all around in that Bach case, and the tarnish involved, essentially, the whole instrument. I think the case was indeed the culprit.
Wood smoke and ash contain sulfur compounds. I notice my silver-plated horns out on stands tarnish faster in the winter, when we and most of our neighbors use wood stoves for heat. I also remember more tarnish during nearby summer wildfires.
You can buy strips of paper that absorb sulfur compounds -- they're commonly put in drawers with the fine silverware: