Taking care of your mouthpiece is the first step. Here are some very easy things you can do to make sure your mouthpiece lasts long and plays loud.
Preventative measures are the best way to keep your mouthpiece shiny and clean.
Here’s what to do:
1) Brush your teeth.
When? After meals and before playing.
Why? Most sediment in dirty instruments and mouthpieces comes from food particles left in the mouth after eating.
2) Spray mouthpiece and brush out any internal residue.
When? After practicing and rehearsal.
Why? Dry lips can leave skin particles that stick to the mouthpiece rims; dirty leadpipes can leave grime. Wipe off these areas any any residue in the mouthpiece cup.
Despite our best efforts at daily maintenance, mouthpieces tend to get gross or worn over time. A thorough mouthpiece cleaning about once a month will remove germs, gunk, and any other gross things that build up during normal use!
Time needed: 30 minutes
You will need:
Mouthpiece brush (trumpet/French horn or trombone/euphonium/tuba)
Mi-T Mist, FlavOmist, Sterisol, or other alcohol-based sterilizer
Clean cotton rag
Silver polish cloth (optional, but DO NOT use for gold plated or plastic mouthpieces)
Here’s what to do:
1. Add a drop of dish soap to the glass, then fill with enough warm water to cover the length of the mouthpiece. Make sure it’s not scalding hot as it could affect the finish of your mouthpiece.
2. Soak your mouthpiece for about 20 minutes in the soapy water to loosen buildup. If it is extremely dirty, allow to soak overnight.
3. Brush out from either end to fully remove buildup.
4. Rinse the mouthpiece under warm running water, dry with rag, then let air dry for about a minute.
5. Sterilize the mouthpiece with a couple of sprays, and allow to dry for another minute before wiping off the sterilizer.
6. If tarnished, use a silver polishing cloth to restore shine to shank and cup.
7. Repeat steps 4-5. Always rinse the mouthpiece after using a silver polishing cloth
That’s it! Following these instructions will help you keep your mouthpiece clean and fresh and working just right!
–Chuck W., Jersey City
Chuck W. teaches music theory, guitar, songwriting, bass guitar, trombone, trumpet and tuba lessons in Jersey City, NJ. His specialties include classical, jazz, pop, and rock styles. Learn more about Chuck, or search for a teacher near you!
Photo by Craig A. Rodway