Being a busy brass musician – touring the world, playing in bands, or simply playing for pleasure in your spare time – it can often be all too easy to forget the smaller and sometimes mundane elements of owning an instrument – like keeping it clean.
Although it may be one of the less exciting aspects of owning your own brass instrument, cleaning is undoubtedly crucial, not only to the look and feel of your beloved instrument, but also to its smooth operation and consequent sound quality.
Bearing this in mind, here, we’ll give you some handy hints & tips around how to clean your Euphonium…
How to clean your Euphonium: the inside
- Always use a snake brush: your Euphonium’s best friend, a snake brush will allow you the ability and flexibility to clean all through the pipes of your Euphonium; getting to those difficult to reach areas, and clearing out all the dirt and gunge that inevitably builds up over time.
- Love the space between your mouthpiece and the main tuning slide: naturally, this area accumulates the most dirt and grime – if you don’t always manage to clean every part of your Euphonium on a regular basis, our advice to you would be to at least clean this small part once a month.
- Clean your valves once a week: if your valves get too dirty, they will stop working efficiently, which will leave you with a Euphonium you’ll be unable to enjoy. We would suggest you take each of the valves out, clean and oil them once a week.
- Flush it out with hot, soapy water: once you’ve cleaned your valves and used your snake brush to reach those difficult spaces between your mouthpiece and your main tuning slide, you should use simply use hot, soapy water to flush the instrument out; a little washing up liquid contains all the antibacterial goodness you’ll need for this job.
- Flush it with the valves in: initially, you should flush out your Euphonium with hot, soapy water, keeping the valves and slides in, and – once you’ve done this – take them out to clean individually.
- Turn it around above your bath: to avoid getting soapy water, dirt and grime all over your kitchen floor, your carpet or yourself, whilst you’re flushing your Euphonium out, we would recommend you do this over your bath or sink, to catch the water that comes out. This is also advisable once the instrument has dried, just in case there’s any water left hanging around in there.
- Leave it overnight: let it dry out properly by leaving it overnight. Although the temptation will be there to start playing it again straight away, once you’ve cleaned it and wiped it over to get rid of any excess moisture, leave it to dry out naturally overnight.
How to clean your Euphonium: the outside
Cleaning the outside of your Euphonium is different depending on the finish; whether your Euphonium is silver-plated or lacquered brass.
- For silver Euphoniums: we recommend you use the silver cloth supplied upon delivery of your Wessex Euphonium; lightly wiping your Euphonium over to remove finger and watermarks, whenever you’re preparing to put it away after playing. We would also suggest you avoid using metal polish, unless the silver has become particularly dirty and tarnished over time.
- For lacquer Euphoniums: the best things to use on a lacquer finish is simply some furniture polish and a duster.
How to clean your Euphonium: after cleaning
After cleaning, the best thing to do with your Euphonium is to grease it and oil it; keeping the valves and slides from becoming stiff or sticky.
For the slides, we advise you use lanolin. Although this may seem strange, being a hair product, lanolin is fantastic for keeping your slides lovely and smooth…
Then, you must oil your valves – just a few drops will do. For this very job, we supply a small bottle of oil with every Wessex brass instrument we deliver.
However, other oils we would recommend for the job are:
- Denis Wick oil
- Yamaha synthetic fine oil
Final thoughts on how to clean your Euphonium
Although it may seem complicate and mundane, cleaning your Euphonium on a regular basis will contribute to the long and happy lifespan of your brass instrument; ensuring it works well and plays beautifully, year upon year.