How to Cleaning a Trumpet the Right Way!

Posted in Trumpets | Last Updated on June 3, 2019

featured image of the article how to clean a trumpet

All trumpet players should know how to clean and maintain their trumpet to get the best tone and intonation. It wouldn’t only affect the tone and intonation, it would also affect the sanitation of the trumpet. Let’s face it, no one wants to put their mouth on an unsanitary object.

Cleaning a trumpet is a relatively quick and easy thing to do. This is also a good time to check and see if anything in your instrument is broken and needs replaced. This process should be done about every three or six months.

A trumpet which is not cleaned on a regular basis could eventual lead to damage to the instrument. This can be very expensive and inconvenient to get fix. So, let’s talk about how to clean and maintain your trumpet.

Let’s talk about the supplies you will need to clean and maintain your trumpet.

You will need:

  1. Small cleaning snake/pipe cleaner.
  2. Mouthpiece brush
  3. Valve basing brush
  4. Valve oil
  5. Slide greases
  6. Microfiber cloth
  7. Dish soap
  8. Wash Cloth
  9. Towels

Note: There are trumpet care and cleaning kits that can be purchased that includes all these cleaning items. Some popular companies that make these are: Ravel, Monster Oil and Yamaha. These are all relatively inexpensive and are sold for about twenty dollars each.

Once you have purchased these items, the first thing you should do is to

Take your trumpet apart:


You should remove the trumpet’s valves from the trumpet. There are three of them. Make sure to put them where they can’t be knocked down or damaged in any way. Place them in a way so you can put them back in the correct order. Most trumpet valves hove numbers on them at the top of the valve, indicating which valve goes where, but not all trumpets do.


Remove the slides. There are also three of those. A small, medium, and large. The medium slide (or first slide, on the left in the picture) is the one closest to you while you are holding the trumpet in playing position.

The small slide (or second slide, In the middle in the picture) is the one in the middle, and the large slide (or third slide, on the right in the picture) is the one farthest away from your body. There is also the tuning slide, which is the largest slide on your trumpet.

Step 3:

Now, you can remove the mouthpiece.  Put it somewhere it can’t be bumped into. Now your trumpet is fully disassembled and is ready for cleaning.

Note: It should be relatively easy to take the valves out and slides out. If they don’t come out easily, don’t force it. Do not use pliers or other tools to take them out. This could break the instrument. So, unless you have the proper equipment and experience, you should take it to a professional.

Clean the valves:


Rinse off the bottom of the valves with running water. Make sure the water is warm and not hot. Hot water could damage the trumpet, so make sure you are using warm water only. Also, make sure not to get the top of the valves wet. This will ruin the felt pads, making it harder, or even impossible to reassemble the valves onto the trumpet.


Use the cleaning snake to clean the ports of the valves.


Wash the ports with soap and warm water. Again, make sure the water is not hot.


Put the valves on a towel to dry. Do not try to dry it yourself. You could run the risk of getting the felt pad wet, which as I stated above, can ruin it.


Empty the spit valves. Lean forward and let the water spill out from the trumpet, when it stops coming out, blow into the trumpet and shake it to get any excess liquid out.

Clean the slides


Fill a sink or bathtub with warm water. As stated above, make sure not to use hot water, as it could be damaging to the instrument.


Put the slides into the sink or bathtub and leave them there for about one or two minutes. After that, replace the slides with the trumpet. This can be left in for five or ten minutes.


Add a few drops of dish soap in the water.


When you take the slides out, use a snake to clean the inside. Do so on each of the slides, including the tuning slide.


Use the snakes to clean the trumpet, now. Clean the tubing of the trumpet where the slides go. Don’t force it if you feel resistance, or the snake could get stuck.


Use the snake on the mouthpiece. Again, do not force it if you feel resistance or it could get stuck.


Now, dip a wash cloth into warm and soapy water and clean off the body of the trumpet. Do the same with the exterior of the slides. Make sure to rub it gently with the wash cloth to avoid getting scratches on your instrument.


Use a towel to pat down and dry the outside of the slides and place them on a different towel and wait for the insides to dry.

Now it is time to reassemble the trumpet


Use valve oil on each valve one at a time before you put them on.


Make sure to place the valves in the correct valve port. Check the numbers on the top of the valve if you are not sure. If there isn’t a number, then make sure to have kept it organized prior to the cleaning process. If they do not go on in the correct spot, you will not be able to blow air through the horn and it will not make noise.


Put some slide grease on each of the slides before you put them back into the trumpet. Don’t, however put slide grease on the smallest slide.


Make sure to put the slides into their correct spot. The medium sized slide should go to the closest spot to your body when you are holding it in playing position. The smallest slide should go in the middle of the trumpet, and the large slide should go the farthest from your body when in playing position.

The tuning slide is the largest slide and should go in the largest spot.


Now, put your mouthpiece back onto the trumpet. Now, your trumpet is cleaned and is all ready to go. Clean up the area you used and make sure there are no slimes or other liquid in your sink or bath tub. Now, you are ready to get back to practicing!

Note: It is going to take a while for the trumpet to dry. It could take up to twenty-four hours until it is completely dry. Do not reassemble the trumpet until it is completely dry.

You can now continue your musical journey of playing the trumpet. Now, you will sound and look better than ever before. Make sure to do this cleaning process every three or six months so you can continue to look as sharp and sound as good as you possibly can so nothing can stand in the way of you and your dreams.