To improve the playability and lifespan of your trumpet, you should regularly use valve oil.
For any trumpet player, you have to press and release valves when making notes quickly. Because of this, valves need to be well-lubricated to play properly.
Here are some quick answers to all of your questions about valve oil:
Here’s Everything You Should Know About Trumpet Valve Oil:
Valve oil plays a very important role in keeping your trumpet running smoothly. You should apply oil to your valves at least 2-3 times a week. This will allow them to continue to move freely and smoothly. Aim to apply a thin coating of valve oil to each valve to ensure ideal lubrication.
Table of Contents
Where Do You Put Valve Oil in a Trumpet?
It can be a confusing process when oiling your valves for the first time.
Thankfully, you can always ask your music teacher, watch an instructional video, or follow the steps listed below.
Throughout this process, tilt your trumpet down at a 45-degree angle. It should be the same angle that you would use if you were playing.
First, unscrew your valve cap, which is the ring that connects to the trumpet. After this, the valve should come out easily. You should be able to see all the internal parts of the valve.
Please don’t pull the valve out completely, and don’t rotate it. Once you’ve lifted the valve mostly out of the trumpet, drop 2 to 4 drops of oil around the valve.
Aim to get a thin layer of oil around the valve. You don’t want to apply too much or too little oil.
It’s best to start with the third valve, the valve furthest away from you. After you oil the valve, place it back in and blow gentle air through your trumpet. If you can’t hear airflow, you’ll need to take out the valve, clean it, and try again.
Then repeat this process for the other two valves. If applied correctly, the valves should move very quickly and smoothly.
To see a great how-to video on using valve oil, check out this video from MusicNomad Equipment Care!
How Often Should I Oil the Valves On My Trumpet?
Unfortunately, you can’t just oil your valves one time.
Valve oil needs to be used consistently to ensure your valves continue to work properly.
After you apply valve oil, the movement of the valves and the moisture in your trumpet will eventually cause the valve oil to evaporate. Without oil, your valves won’t move as smoothly, harming your ability to play.
Ideally, it would be best if you oiled your valves every time you play. However, you can stick to a routine of oiling valves 3 times a week.
If you have a brand-new trumpet, you should oil the valves every day. This will keep them moving smoothly, lengthening the trumpet’s lifespan.
For used trumpets, you can oil the valves every couple of days.
Should I Apply Oil On Parts Other Than the Valves?
It’s best only to use valve oil on your trumpet valves. For other parts of the instrument, use products designed for those parts.
You shouldn’t use valve oil to grease your slides. Valve oil is meant to allow free movement while you are playing your trumpet.
Your slides should be able to move but not be loose enough while playing. For slides, you should use slide grease and tuning slide oil.
How Much Oil Should I Apply On the Valves?
Applying 2 to 4 drops of oil to each valve will make sure they continue to move freely.
You will be able to tell if you’ve applied too many or too few drops of valve oil.
Too much valve oil will cause the valves to be too slow and sticky. Keep in mind that you can always remove the valves, clean off the oil, and try again.
Too little valve oil makes the valves creaky. They should be well-lubricated, so if this happens, take out the valves and add a couple more drops.
Can You Use Valve Oil On Trumpet Slides?
For your slides, it’s better to use slide grease or tuning slide oil instead of valve oil.
Valve oil is a thinner lubricant that was specially made for quick, easy movement of the valves.
When playing the trumpet, you’ll want all the parts to move, but the valves should be able to move more easily than the slides. The slides need a thicker lubricant, like slide grease.
This way, they won’t move while you are playing.
What Can I Use as an Alternative to Valve Oil?
Using valve oil is the best way to lubricate your valves. Silicone or oil lubricants ultimately cause damage to your horn.
Because valve oil is a water-based oil, it won’t harm your trumpet.
It’s not a great idea to use alternative oils to lubricate your valves.
What is the Most Used Trumpet Valve Oil Brands?
If you are confused by the many different brands of trumpet oil, look no further.
Here are the best-reviewed trumpet valve oil brands which have the best results and great reputations:
Blue Juice Valve Oil:
Blue Juice valve oil is one of the most popular valve oils for trumpet players. It is a medium-viscosity oil that is formulated to fight corrosion.
With Blue Juice, you can immediately improve your valve speed and reduce friction. You won’t have to use a lot of this product, so one bottle can last a long time.
However, it may leave blue stains on the felt and can leave an unwanted coating.
MusicNomad Valve Oil:
The MusicNomad valve oil is made from a non-toxic formula that is fully biodegradable.
Many reviewers mention that they can go long periods without having to reapply for new oil.
Another great aspect of this oil is that it is affordable, odorless, and has a narrow nozzle for easy application.
Monster Premium Synthetic Valve Oil:
The best part of using Monster Premium valve oil is that the brand offers a money-back guarantee.
You can easily try out this oil, returning it if it doesn’t suit your needs.
This valve oil was designed for professional players. It is a very light synthetic oil with an anti-corrosive formula. It will clean out any buildup and allow your valves to move smoothly.
You may notice that this oil has more odor than other oils. It can also leave felt stains and can be expensive.
Ultra-Pure Oils UPO-Valve Professional Valve Oil:
Ultra-Pure Oils makes a great valve oil that is non-toxic and long-lasting.
It is a synthetic valve oil with a mid-range viscosity. You’ll also notice that it is odorless and won’t cause buildup or stains.
Reviewers claim that their valves loosen up very quickly after using this valve oil. It causes minimal residue and is packaged in a refillable bottle.
The one thing to keep in mind is that this valve oil doesn’t mix well with other oils. Make sure to clean your horn before use.
Yamaha Regular Synthetic Valve Oil:
This valve oil by Yamaha is a mid-range viscosity oil.
You can use it for all-around use, even in many different temperatures. Each bottle of valve oil is 60 mL and secured with a child-proof cap.
Many reviewers mention that this oil lasts a long time. They can sometimes go weeks at a time before needing to re-oil their valves. It also doesn’t stain and is odorless.
What is the Best Non-Toxic Trumpet Valve Oil?
Either Ultra-Pure professional valve oil or MusicNomad valve oil would be great choices for non-toxic formulas.
Ultra-Pure valve oil is a synthetic oil that is odorless. Specifically made with a non-toxic formula, you don’t have to worry about any harmful ingredients.
Similarly, MusicNomad was made to be biodegradable. Its non-toxic formula is odorless and won’t damage you or the environment.
Does Trumpet Valve Oil Go Bad Over Time?
There’s no specific expiration date for valve oil.
However, you probably shouldn’t be using valve oil that is many years old.
If there are leaks or cracks in the bottle, it could affect the oil’s performance. The solution could also begin to break down. Generally, a bottle of valve oil will deteriorate after 2-3 years.
Trumpet players will generally use about one bottle of valve oil a year.
Valve oil is usually inexpensive, so there’s no reason to buy it in bulk for future use.
You can buy new valve oil when you run out. This avoids the problem of valve oil expiration dates.
How to Clean a Trumpet With Valve Oil?
It would be best if you regularly cleaned your trumpet to remove any old valve oil and debris.
You can deep clean the instrument by bathing it once every month or two.
For this, remove all your slides and valves. Lay down a towel in a bathtub and fill the tub with lukewarm water, adding a few drops of dish soap. Submerge all of the trumpet parts except for the valves.
The valves can be cleaned by placing them in a glass of soapy water. You’ll want to keep the top of the valves dry because of the felt.
Use a tuning snake throughout the leadpipe, body, and slides. Scrub the valve casings with a valve casing brush. This will remove any valve oil buildup.
You can gently clean your valves with soapy water and a valve casing brush. Don’t scrub too hard, or you will scratch its surface. Make sure to keep the tops of the valves dry.
After the instrument is fully cleaned and dried, it’s time to lubricate the valves and slides. Use tuning slide oil or slide grease on the valves. Drop a thin layer of oil around the valves when placing them back into the horn.
Make sure to reapply valve oil every couple of days. This will stop any debris from harming your valves and will keep your horn functioning smoothly.
Can You Make Your Own Valve Oil for a Trumpet?
Although some trumpet players make and use their own valve oil, it’s probably not the best idea.
Valve oil is specially made for valves and isn’t a very expensive product.
Some players make valve oil from sewing machine oil, but this is not advised. Sewing machine oil is made for oiling plastic parts, whereas valve oil is made for metal.
If you don’t have any valve oil available, you can use some alternatives. You can use hair clipper oil, cork grease, or essential oil. WD-40 might also work for unsticking a valve.
However, it would be best if you didn’t use these for extended periods. Any alternative oil could negatively affect how your instrument functions.
Can I Use Trumpet Valve Oil on French Horns and Trombone Slides?
You shouldn’t use trumpet valve oil on trombone slides.
Trombone and trumpet oil have different consistencies, so they are not interchangeable.
Trumpet valve oil is thinner than trombone slide oil. Trombones need a slightly heavier and thicker oil for greasing their slides.
You could use valve oil on a french horn. Because it is a water-based lubricant, it won’t cause any damage.
It’s important to use valve oil to keep your trumpet functioning well regularly.
Applying valve oil about 2-3 times a week is a great method to prevent future damage.
Valve oil is inexpensive, so there’s no need to find alternative oils. You can use a water-based lubricant in a pinch, but we wouldn’t recommend using these for long-term use.
As a beginner trumpet player, it can be challenging to remember how often valves need to be re-oiled or fully cleaned, but if you develop good cleaning habits now, you can keep your trumpet functioning well for years to come.