For trumpet players, you have to clean your mouthpiece frequently.
For weekly cleaning, use warm water and dish soap. For more extensive disinfecting, you can boil your mouthpiece.
Let’s dive into how to boil your trumpet mouthpiece:
Here’s How You Boil a Trumpet Mouthpiece:
Mouthpieces are the only part of the trumpet that can be cleaned with boiling water. It would be best if you boiled your mouthpiece for a few minutes, repeating this process about two times a year. To keep your mouthpiece germ-free, also boil it after a bout of cold/flu.
Follow These Steps:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Place your mouthpiece in the water.
- Let it sit in the boiling water for a few minutes. Even 30 seconds can be very effective.
- Remove your mouthpiece using tongs.
- Set the mouthpiece aside to cool down and dry.
Be sure not to boil your mouthpiece for too long. Although you can leave it in boiling water for up to 10 minutes, it can start to damage the metal.
This process should be done about twice a year. It would be best to clean your mouthpiece with warm water, dish soap, and a mouthpiece brush about once a week. You can do light, daily cleaning with just water.
Can You Boil a Trumpet Mouthpiece For Too Long?
Mouthpieces are made out of tough materials that won’t be damaged by hot water. However, you probably shouldn’t leave your mouthpiece in boiling water for too long.
You can generally boil your mouthpiece for up to 10 minutes. This is more than enough time to sterilize the bacteria in the mouthpiece fully.
30 seconds is the minimum amount of time to leave a mouthpiece in boiling water. Bacteria die at 155 degrees, so you don’t have to boil the mouthpiece for too long. A mouthpiece will usually become sterilized within 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Extended exposure to heat and moisture can cause brass instruments to shrink or expand. Although it won’t harm your mouthpiece to boil it, you shouldn’t leave it for too long or boil it too frequently.
Usually, trumpet players boil a mouthpiece if it’s pre-owned. When buying a used instrument, you’ll want to get rid of any lingering bacteria. Boiling a mouthpiece will properly sterilize it so that you can comfortably practice with it.
The go-to cleaning method that most trumpet players use is soap and water. You often don’t need to boil a mouthpiece to clean it. You can use a mouthpiece brush, dish soap, and warm water to remove any buildup of germs.
This alternative method is a little safer and can be done more frequently. With a mouthpiece brush, you can make sure that every nook and cranny of your mouthpiece is clean.
Can All Trumpet Mouthpieces Be Boiled?
Fortunately, the finish of a mouthpiece doesn’t affect its ability to be boiled.
Most mouthpieces are either silver-plated or gold-plated. Silver-plated mouthpieces are far more common.
Both silver and gold-plated mouthpieces can be boiled. Make sure to follow the steps detailed above and never boil it for longer than 10 minutes.
Boiling a mouthpiece is a great way to disinfect it, but it won’t get rid of any tarnish. Trumpet mouthpieces can oxidize easily, often making them appear dirty. Unfortunately, boiling a mouthpiece won’t make it look shiny and new again.
Tarnish is when your mouthpiece finish oxidizes. Although it isn’t bacteria, you may want to get rid of it. After your monthly deep cleaning, you can use a silver polishing cloth to buff out any tarnish. Then thoroughly rinse and dry.
Are There Other Ways to Disinfect a Trumpet Mouthpiece?
You don’t have to boil a mouthpiece to give it a proper cleaning. There are easier ways to prolong the use of your mouthpiece and kill germs and bacteria.
A mouthpiece brush and dish soap can effectively clean your mouthpiece. You can also use a Sterisol sterilizing spray and a silver polishing cloth.
For this process, here are all the steps:
- Add some household dish soap to an empty cup.
- Fill the cup with warm water.
- Place your mouthpiece in this cleaning solution.
- Leave the mouthpiece to soak for a while. The dirtier the mouthpiece is, the longer it’ll need to stay in the mixture to disinfect. You can even leave the mouthpiece to soak overnight.
- Use a mouthpiece brush to remove any grime on the inside of the mouthpiece.
- Rinse the mouthpiece, getting rid of any soap.
- Dry off your mouthpiece using a paper towel or cloth.
- Allow it to air dry.
- Coat the mouthpiece in Sterisol sterilizing spray. Let it sit for at least one minute before wiping it away.
- Use a silver-treated polish cloth to remove any tarnish.
- Rinse the mouthpiece again and let it dry.
To see these steps in action, check out this video by the Paul Effman Music Store:
If you haven’t cleaned your mouthpiece in a while, you may need some elbow grease. First, try to remove any dirt by using a mouthpiece brush under running water.
Then take a paper towel and rub the mouthpiece to remove any grime. Use a mouthpiece spray and then rub with a paper towel again.
After this process, if you still see more residual dirt, repeat the same process. You can do this as many times as you need to. You may need to soak the mouthpiece if you aren’t making any progress.
As soon as the mouthpiece is clean, rub it with a silver polishing cloth. You’ll see the cloth slowly becoming darker as it wipes away dirt.
How Often Should You Clean Your Mouthpiece?
It would be best if you cleaned your mouthpiece about once a week.
For this, use warm, soapy water and a mouthpiece brush.
Once a month, you can boil your mouthpiece. This is also the time to bathe your full instrument. Clean your trumpet with warm, soapy water in a bathtub, making sure to remove the slides first.
If you make sure to clean your mouthpiece and instrument regularly, you can avoid long-term issues. Because trumpets are wind instruments, they will develop germs and bacteria with frequent use.
When you clean your instrument, you can keep all the parts functioning well. This also prevents you from developing illnesses from the bacteria in your instrument.
Another thing to remember is never to share your mouthpiece with other players. This will put twice as many germs into your mouthpiece, making you clean it more often. You could be sharing a lot of bacteria when sharing mouthpieces.
You can also do a quick, daily cleaning of your mouthpiece. If you are playing every day, this can be a great way to prevent bacteria buildup.
After playing, spray clean water onto the mouthpiece and give it a quick scrub with a mouthpiece brush. Then dry it off with a paper towel or cloth. This can get rid of any quick residue that has developed while you were playing.
As a trumpet player, it’s important to know how to keep your instrument clean.
Unlike other instruments, wind instruments need regular deep cleaning to avoid bacteria buildup.
The mouthpiece is one of the dirtiest places on a trumpet. Because it makes contact with your face, you’ll want to make sure it is disinfected. This keeps you from developing illnesses or passing bacteria through the rest of your horn.
You can boil your mouthpiece twice a year to disinfect it. Boil water and place your mouthpiece in for about 30 seconds. You won’t want to do this too frequently because it could start to warp the mouthpiece.
There are alternative cleaning methods which you can do weekly.
You can use warm, soapy water to soak your mouthpiece. Using mouthpiece brushes is also effective as a cleaning method.
Proper Care and Maintenance of Brass Instruments