Clean Your Brass Instrument From Home





Introduction: Clean Your Brass Instrument From Home

This Instructable is mainley for young musicians who's parents don't want to have to drop off thier brass instrument to the shop every week to be cleaned. Truth be told you probably have all the supplies at home to clean it youself! This instructable is'nt just for young musicians though so definently use this little trick!

Step 1: Supplies

The first thing you must do is get all your supplies together: Your disgusting Instrument, your bathtub, your soap, cleaning kit, oils and lubricants, and your warm water (not too hot not too cold). Remember this can be done with any kind of BRASS instrument, please don't do this with a woodwind please! Be sure your soap dos'nt have any BLEACH in it!

Step 2: Disassemble Your Horn

After you have your supplies disassemble your horn. Be sure all fabric is removed from your instrument, it could grow mold!

Step 3: Cleaning the Horn

After the horn has been disassembled you can now put it in the tub. Also keeping in mind that you don't have any fabric on the horn! Be sure to get all the small parts of the horn, especially near the valves!

After cleaning let the tub drain out and rinse the horn!

Step 4: Drying the Horn

After cleaning you will obviously dry the instrument. For those who have an air compressor near by you can blow dry the instrument for streak free shine:). WARNING: IF YOU HAVE AN OILER ON YOUR AIR HOSE TAKE IT OFF THE HOSE!!! Do'nt use more than 80 pounds of pressure on your horn! If you need to move the instrument disassembled may I suggest putting it in your case for safe transportation. If you don't have an air compressor :( you can towel dry and it works just as well :)!

After drying take a polishing cloth and polish any little streaks.

Step 5: Greasing and Final Polish

After you have completed all the past steps, be sure to lube your instrument again. Be sure to get all tuning sildes and valves. Slowly reassemble. Clean excess lube off with a towel, not your polishing rag!

Step 6: Tuning

Once you are done you should tune your instrument if you can. You can buy a tuner at you local Music Shop.

Step 7: Final Product

Once you have completed all the above steps you result should be a nice shiny, clean horn! (If you don't get the same results you may consider bringing you instrument to the music shop to have them put it back together!)



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    Can I suggest you don't use any form of washing up liquid. Most washing up liquids use salt as a thickener, you don't need to be a genius to work out warm water, salt and metal are not a good mix. a great recently developed product for b sharp brass is the Virtuoso Brass Instrument Cleaning Kit which is the only dedicated cleaning kit.

    Can u clean a silver plated intrument with this method

    You put valve oil in the bottom!! There are holes there especcially for this purpose!!

    2 replies

    Yes, putting oil in the bottom is very ineffective. Take a look at the bottom of the actual valve and there's just a small hole in the middle. There's not really much space for the oil to evenly disperse. Take out the valve and apply oil directly to the valve ;)

    If you've been playing a brass instrument for a while then you know it's more efficient to take the valves out and put oil onthem

    just curious as to why the detergent must be without bleach?

    does it matter if i don't have a valve casing brush? would a toothbrush and some persistence do? i also have a snake brush that i could use for the inside of the casings (on the main body, not the valves)


    2 replies

    Bleach is an oxideant. It will make the metal tarnish or carrode.

    I actually play the trumpet, and the bleach would probally damage the brass. You can get a full trumpet kit- in different instruments- at There is also a Lunsford's music store in Knoxville, TN, which is where I got my kit. NOTE: Kit does NOT contain spit rag. You will have to supply a rag for this purpose only. They need to be washed- I will post a instructable on how to clean them.

    wunderfall this worked great, I recently got a 1910 conn trombone that is all brass and they apparently used graphite on the slides, got most if not all the crud off of it, next thing is giving it a good spit shine any suggestions?

    I came to this site with a mind of cleaning a sousaphone thats in pretty bad shape there is mold growing on it and some sliver has came off with use. I have goten mine to be the cleanest in my section but it is still pretty gross do you have any suggestions for the bigger instruments?

    Could this method be used to clean cymbals?

    Brass for life, heck yeah!

    Brass for life!!!!!!!!!

    What about french horns? They have strings on them, and my teacher said we probably shouldn't give them baths. Probably the same reason you take off the felt stuff...

    1 reply

    If the string is nylon, you should be fine, since it's really just plastic. If you have plant-fiber string you may not want to.

    A couple things I've found from cleaning my euphonium: 1) Put a towel down in the bottom of the bathtub so that you soften the surface a little. Accidental dings/scratches are no fun. 2) Don't leave the horn in the tub while you drain it. Often, the grime and oil from the inside of the horn will float to the top and creat a film on the surface of the water. As it drains slowly, the film can be deposited on your horn, making extra work for the rinse. I have a detachable sprayer on my shower so I just run that over the horn as I pull it out of the water. 3) I've found that brushing parts while they are submerged works best to wash away as much as possible. This is especially true for snaking out the actual instrument tubing. Also, it helps to let the horn soak for 45-60 minutes before you brush anything. 4) For silver instruments, make sure you don't polish the horn too often. Polishing takes off a thin layer of the silver and can eventually wear through, especially where you hold the horn. When you do polish it, make sure you use no-grit jewelers polish to avoid scratches. I've heard you can use lemon pledge on laquered instruments, but have never done so and cannot speak from experience.

     Yes. You don't want water that's too hot because it might damage the lacquer. Although you don't want cold water because it's the heat along with the soap that get rid of the odors, mold, or other that may be present in you horn. I use Joy when I clean my horn. I would recommend  that you choose a soap with a scent you wont mind smelling for a few days. I suppose you could use an odorless soap but personally I don't mind the smell of Lemons so I use Original Joy. be sure to pick a product without bleach though. This instructable is from a while back. I now also own a Silver plated Yamaha Xeno. When I put it back together I use the Yamaha Silver Treated polishing cloth. Be sure to dry your horn off first. If you have a lacquered instrument a basic polishing cloth works just fine, there's no point to getting a silver polishing cloth if you don't have a silver instrument. Oh, I also now use "Blue Juice"  Valve Oil and "Schilke Slide Grease with Lanolin", its the best slide grease i've ever used. The last time I greased my slides was about 5 months ago and they still slide like the day I applied the grease. I also find if you put a few drops of valve oil on the slides it works a little better. Hope this helps!

    yeah it helps quite a bit thank you very much