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Caring for Your Brass Instrument

School is out and summer is here! This is a great time of year to give your brass instrument a cleaning. This can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, giving a brass instrument a bath is quite simple!

To start with, you will want to acquire the following tools to clean your instrument with: instrument snake, valve brush, towels/rags, slide grease, valve oil, and polishing cloth.

Look below for steps to clean your brass instrument! Here is a YouTube video that you can follow along with as well.

  1. Disassemble your brass instrument. This includes removing ALL slides, valves, and valve caps.
  2. Fill a basin such as a bathtub or sink with lukewarm water and a small amount of dish soap – about a 1/4 of a cup.
    • WARNING: do NOT use hot water as this will ruin the outer finish on your instrument
  3. Set the instrument and the detached slide parts in the bath and let them soak for approximately 20 – 30 minutes. Place a towel or rag under the parts to keep them from getting scratched.
  4. Using an instrument snake and a valve brush, clean the inside tubing of the instrument.
  5. Rinse the inside of the instrument with lukewarm water.
  6. Using a cloth, pat dry the disassembled parts of the instrument.
  7. Take the slide grease and apply a small layer to reattach the slides into their proper places. Apply piston oil to the valves and reassemble them, being careful to make sure they are in the correct alignment and positions.
  8. With the polishing cloth, wipe down the outside finish to bring it to a shine.
  9. EXTRA STEP: If you want to clean your mouthpiece as well, you will run the mouthpiece under warm water and using a mouthpiece brush, run the brush through the stem end of the mouthpiece.

And that is it! Less than 10 steps that can save you a cleaning fee. Happy cleaning!

-The team at The String and Horn Shop-

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