Keeping your instrument clean is a very important part of being a musician. Dirt and grime can build up on any instrument, affecting the sound of your music. Because it is such a long instrument, cleaning a trombone can be a challenge. But keeping a trombone clean is crucial, especially in the slide area. Build up in the slide can make it hard to play. Here are some steps to clean your trombone.
The first step to take in cleaning a trombone is to fill your tub with lukewarm water. Do not use hot water, as it will damage the finish of your instrument. Fill the tub to about seven inches, and add a cup of mild liquid soap.
Do not use harsh soap as it can damage the finish on your trombone. Place a layer of thick towels on the bottom of the tub. They will absorb some of the water, but this is an essential step to cleaning a trombone as it will protect the instrument from the hard surface of the bathtub.
The next step is to place the trombone into the water to soak. This is an important step in cleaning a trombone, because this soaking will loosen up the debris inside the instrument. If you want, you can take the instrument apart during this soaking. It is imperative that the water reaches all the parts of the instrument. Allow the instrument to soak for at least four hours. You can leave it over night if you prefer.
After the instrument is done soaking, take all of the tubing outside. Take your garden hose and put a sprayer attachment on it. Wrap a towel around the sprayer to make it soft, and put it into the bell of the trombone. Spray a strong stream of water into the instrument to flush out the debris. Some dirt will remain lodged in the trombone, so to finish cleaning it, take a snake brush and loosen the dirt, then flush the instrument again.
The next step in cleaning a trombone is crucial. You must rinse, dry, and oil all parts. Do not leave water in the instrument, as it can induce mold or rust. After drying and oiling your instrument, reassemble it. This intense level cleaning should be done once a year. Not only will it increase the life of your instrument, but it will also remove bacteria from the instrument, which will make you healthier.
Just as learning your scales or practicing is mandatory, so is the care of your instrument.