Trombone Cleaning Tips

Trombone cleaning is often the last thing you want to deal with after finishing a playing session. It is so tempting to just put the instrument back in its case and forget about it until the next time you play, but this will make the cleaning more difficult and can even damage your instrument. These daily, weekly, and monthly trombone cleaning tips will cut down on the built up residue inside your trombone and will make maintenance much quicker.

Trombone cleaning tip #1: Clean the mouthpiece before playing

Clean your trombone’s mouthpiece each day before you play the instrument. This not only makes it easier to clean later, but it will also make your trombone sound better. Dried up saliva or pieces of debris in the mouthpiece can distort the tone you are trying to play. For best results, you should use a brush specifically designed for cleaning musical instrument mouthpieces, but a soft toothbrush will also work in a pinch. Thoroughly rinse out the trombone’s mouthpiece with warm water and allow it to fully dry before placing it back in the instrument.

Trombone cleaning tip #2: Clean the slide after each session

After each playing session, use a trombone cleaning rod and a soft cloth to clean out the slide. Many trombones come with the cleaning rod included in the purchase price. If you do not have one, your local music store should be able to help you find the right one for your instrument. You may also be able to find a trombone cleaning rod on Ebay or at an online music shop. Using a trombone cleaning rod on a daily basis will prevent dust and dirt from building up and will make your ongoing trombone maintenance much easier.

Trombone cleaning tip #3: Weekly maintenance

Completely flush out the trombone’s slide with warm water every week to remove any built up saliva. Saliva can corrode the metal on the inside of your trombone and cause damage that may not be visible for months or years. The damage will distort the tones played by your trombone and can even wear holes clear through the instrument’s tubing.

Trombone cleaning tip #4: Monthly maintenance

If you are a frequent trombone player, you should give your instrument a complete cleaning at least monthly. Submerge the entire trombone in warm soapy water and let it soak for several minutes. Be sure not to use water that is too hot as this will melt off the finish of the instrument. A trombone cleaning snake can be used to clear out the instrument’s innards after it has had a chance to soak. Thoroughly scrub all portions of the trombone’s tubing and mouthpiece. The outer slide should be cleaned separately from the inner slide, then all pieces of the instrument can be rinsed in cool water. Pat dry the outside of the trombone with a soft cloth or paper towel and let the remaining pieces air dry. Do not reassemble the trombone until you are sure the insides are completely dry.

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