How To Clean A Trumpet

how to clean a trumpet

Every trumpeter should know how to clean a trumpet. It is not a very difficult task. Although you may need a good half an hour or more for every cleaning session during your first few attempts, over time you would be able to clean your trumpet in some quick fifteen or twenty odd minutes.

How to Clean a Trumpet

Cleaning a trumpet is pretty simple. You give it a bath - literally! The video below steps you through the process of how to clean a trumpet.

Trumpet Cleaning Supplies

There are only a few supplies you need to clean a trumpet, including:

  • A small tub or sink
  • A flexible cleaning brush (aka a cleaning snake)
  • Valve casing brush
  • Mouthpiece brush
  • Valve oil
  • Slide grease
  • Dish soap
  • Polishing cloth

Trumpet cleaning kits contain all that you need and are readily available on The kit Yamaha sells comes highly recommended and is available here. If you elect to put your own kit together be sure to get a good quality valve oil and slide grease such as Hetman 2 - Piston Lubricant and Hetman Tuning Slide Oil Light. A good set of valve casing brushes such as the H.W. Brass Saver Trumpet Cleaning Brushes is also highly recommended.

Trumpet Cleaning In 3 Easy Steps

how to clean a trumpetYou do not need mechanical tools or anything fancy to learn how to clean a trumpet. Here's how to do it.

Step 1 - Dissemble Trumpet

  • Remove the valves and put somewhere safe where kids or pets cannot reach or knock them over. Be careful to not drop them either. Lastly, do NOT take the valves apart - that's a recipe for disaster.
  • Remove the slides. Start with the first slide and go onto the second and the third, eventually removing the main tuning slide.
  • Remember, it doesn’t take much effort to remove the valves and slides. If one is stuck don't force it! Instead, seeking professional help may be wiser.

Step 2 - Clean Tubing & Slides

  • Take a little dish soap and mix it with warm water in the tub or sink. The water should be sufficiently deep to immerse the horn.
  • Before you get to the horn, take the slides, put them in the soap water and let them soak for a couple of minutes. Use the snake cable and clean the insides of the slides. Once done, rinse the slides and dry them, put them on a towel and move to the horn.
  • Immerse the entire trumpet into the water. After the soaking, run the snake through all of the tubing but don’t force it through any of the tight bends.
  • Run the valve casing brush through the valve casings a few times.
  • Rinse the horn and allow it to dry.

Step 3 - Clean Valves

  • Do NOT immerse the valves completely in water as the felt pads will get wet and may lose their shock absorbing ability. If the valve felts do get wet or are compressed you can learn how to change them here.
  • Clean the ports of the valves with one end of the cleaning snake and then rinse valves with soap and water.
  • Be careful to not damage the inside of the valve ports with the metal end of the brush.

Put Trumpet Back Together

Before reassembling your trumpet, oil the valves and 1st and 3rd valve slides, and grease the main tuning slide and second valve slide. Do NOT grease the third valve slide, it will move too slowly. Oil is all you need.

A Few Extra Trumpet Cleaning Tips

  • Use only lukewarm water, hot water can damage the finish of a trumpet.
  • Do not remove the water keys (spit valves) or any triggers. These have a little spring that require a special tool to get them back on. Trust me, it's no fun getting these suckers back on if you don't have that tool!
  • Use silver polish to remove tarnish from silver-plated trumpets.
  • Never use silver or brass polish on a trumpet with a lacquer finish - the polish can remove it!

Now you know how to clean a trumpet!