How to Сlean a Trumpet? All You Need to Know

With so many fun things about being a musician, you can easily forget to do that boring part also known as cleaning your trumpet. Proper maintenance of your instrument will extend its life and give you the best sound possible. If you don’t clean your trumpet regularly you are endangering yourself and risking your instrument damages. Cleaning trumpet is not hard, it just takes a little practice. In this article, we will answer questions like how often should you clean your trumpet, which supplies to use, and what is the best way to do it?

How Often Should You Clean Your Trumpet?

Let’s solve this puzzle once and for all. Although you should clean your trumpet as often as possible, at least after each time you play, still there are different cleaning processes with different cleaning times. There’s weekly, monthly, and cleaning once a year. Keep in mind that those are separate cleaning processes. Let’s dive in and see the importance of each one.

Weekly cleaning

After you play or at least once a week, clean the outside of your trumpet. For exterior cleaning of your instrument, use a piece of cloth. A cleaning kit usually comes with an instrument containing a cloth piece.

It’s also a good idea to clean your lead pipe on a weekly basis. For this, it’s best to use a snake brush from your kit.

Monthly cleaning

Monthly cleaning is a more detailed cleaning that implies taking your instrument apart and cleaning parts separately. To answer one of the most common questions when it comes to cleaning trumpets, you can put them in the water, except the whole valves. And that’s what will you do for this cleaning process. All tools you need to do this are dish soap, warm water, and the brushes provided in the cleaning kit but you can also order those brushes online. In this video, you can find a visual tutorial on how to do it.

First, remove valves and be careful to handle them gently and not to drop them. Do not separate the valves. After that remove slides. No force is needed to separate valves and slides so if you feel like they won’t move, you need to take them to the professional. Do not remove the water keys or triggers, you might find it hard to get them back in place. When cleaning valves, avoid metal points because that can damage the ports.

Clean all parts with warm water and dish sope. Don’t let water be hot since that can damage the parts. Instead, use warm water. Soak them for a few minutes. Make sure that you clean everything nicely and rinse the soap off once you’re done. Use mouthwash brush to clean mouth part. Now it’s time to reassemble the trumpet. Before doing that make sure that you Lubricate the slides and valves. You can grease the second valve slide and the main tuning slide. Do NOT grease the third valve slide because that can make it slower.

An additional step you can do is polish the exterior. First, you need to remove the tarnish and then polish it with a polish made for the material that your trumpet is made of. Make sure that none of the polish ends up on the mouthpiece. If you want to polish that part too, you need to wash it well afterward. For silver-plated trumpets use silver polish for tarnish removal. When trumpet has a lacquer finish don’t use polish if you don’t want the finish removed.

Yearly cleaning

Yearly cleaning should be done by a professional. This also includes a full check-up of your instrument. A professional cleaning will prevent reddish corrosion from appearing on your trumpet. Professionals do chemical cleaning and dezincification. This is a good chance to have your trumpet examined for possible issues so you can fix them in time and avoid further complications.

There is not too much and too frequent cleaning of your instrument but be careful when removing parts. Don’t force any movements and make sure that you handle pistons and valve casings very carefully. If any parts are stuck take them to a professional to handle.

List of the supplies you need for cleaning trumpet:

  • Trumpet Maintenance Kit which includes:
    • Mouthpiece brush
    • Valve oil and Valve casing brush
    • Slide grease
    • Polishing cloth
    • Flexible “snake” brush
  • Dish soap of any brand but try medium strong
  • Large container that can fit your trumpet pieces
  • Clean rags with soft texture
  • Rubber gloves
  • Polish

Not cleaning trumpet regularly

If you don’t clean your trumpet regularly there’s plenty that can go down the road. First, you can really endanger your health. When not cleaned properly and often, mold and bacteria will build up in the trumpet and you will inhale them. This can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis which is a respiratory disease that musicians often have. You may feel heavy breathing, cough, and fever, and if you do visit a doctor. After recovery from this disease, people start cleaning their instruments and avoid future problems. Washing your teeth before playing helps to reduce the number of bacteria that is transferred from your mouth to the pipe of the instrument.

Oil from your hands makes the instrument tarnish and shortens its life. Cleaning inside of the trumpet is necessary for the reasons regarding your health that we mentioned previously. When cleaned often, your instrument can serve generations.


Hopefully, after reading this article you will take cleaning your instrument seriously. It’s fun to play and practice but you need to think about maintaining your trumpet. Having in mind all consequences of not cleaning trumpets properly and regularly. To make this process easier make sure that you schedule monthly cleaning as well as the once-a-year professional cleaning. Try to make weekly cleaning a habit. You can start by setting your alarm to remind you to do it. It will become routine in time and your trumpet will thank you. Keep the main tool for your art nurtured as it helps you nurture your soul.


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