Trombone care and maintenance
Cleaning Instructions updated March 2020
We recommend washing your hands before and after playing or cleaning your instrument
The mouthpiece may be cleaned using dish detergent in warm (not hot!) water and a mouthpiece brush to remove deposits. Occasionally, you may also choose to use a multi-surface spray-on cleaner that contains bleach to disinfect after cleaning. Allow the product to remain on the mouthpiece for the amount of time required for sanitization as per the bottle instructions. Following disinfection, be sure to rinse with luke warm water, wash with dish detergent, then rinse again with fresh water and allow to let air dry.
Your child should NEVER share their mouthpiece with anyone without disinfecting before and after.
The brass used to make musical instruments such as trumpets and trombones is an alloy of 60 to 70% copper and zinc. It has been known for centuries that copper can literally blow apart viruses like the novel coronavirus with a biocidal action called the oligodynamic effect. While the clear lacquer coating applied to the exterior of most musical instruments to inhibit tarnish interferes with this natural disinfection process, the uncoated interior bore, once clean and dry, is a highly toxic environment for bacteria and viruses. Therefore, our recommendations focus on cleaning and surface disinfection.
While playing, the inside of your trombone collects condensation from warm moist air blown into it. This moisture should be removed during and after each use by opening the water key(s) and evacuating the moisture.
You may use a lint free cloth to clean the outside of your instrument. Occasionally, you can also choose to use a disinfecting wipe or cloth that has been lightly sprayed with disinfecting spray. To prevent damage, NEVER spray directly on the instrument. CAUTION: Avoid use of any caustic or abrasive products, or undiluted alcohol or undiluted bleach.
After cleaning your instrument, wash your cleaning cloth/swab with warm soapy water, rinse and let air dry.
Every month or so, your instrument can be disassembled and cleaned to remove the dirt and deposits that can collect inside. Instructions for monthly cleaning:
- On a large towel near a bathtub or sink completely disassemble the instrument.
- Soak all the parts in warm (not hot), mild soapy water using dish detergent.
- Run a cleaning snake brush through all the tubes.
- Rinse all of the parts in clean lukewarm water, drain and dry with a lint free towel or let air-dry.
- Grease the tuning slide and insert into slide tube, wiping away any excess grease.
- Add a few drops of oil to the hand slide assembly and engage slide lock.
We recommend your instrument be thoroughly cleaned, lubricated and adjusted annually by a qualified repair technician. Early summer is a great time to do this. Annual maintenance will keep your instrument in optimal playing condition for years to come.
All the tools you need to clean your instrument can be found in the EASYCARE Care Kit.
To assemble your trombone, attach the slide section to the bell and hand-tighten the threaded collar. Then insert the mouthpiece into the receiver until it stops. If this is difficult do not twist or tap it into place. The mouthpiece should be removed each time you play by gently pulling it straight out. If it becomes stuck do not try to force or twist it off or use tools of any kind. The brass used in your instrument is very soft and excessive force can cause the instrument to bend and break. Your local music store and many music teachers have a special tool to safely remove a stuck mouthpiece.
When not using your instrument, keep it in its case to help protect it and prevent possible damage. Never store lesson books or other large items in the case as this could cause damage. Do not expose your instrument to extremes in temperature or store in direct sunlight or near heat sources. Avoid getting it wet.
Oklahoma State Department of Health: https://www.ok.gov/health2/documents/Infection%20Control_Keeping%20Your%20Musical%20Instruments%20Clean%20and%20Safe.2014.pdf
National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians: https://napbirt.org/page/InstrumentCleanliness