Trombone Slide Care & Maintenance

Here at Edwards we use Trombotine on the slides and have found that it works best. Many people use Slide-O-Mix and that is okay if you clean the slide (with cleaning rod and cheesecloth) daily after each use. When left on the slide the Slide-O-Mix breaks down leaving a green residue that crystallizes and with time (and more applications) makes the slide feel like it has dents in the tubes even though there are none to be found.

Weekly Cleaning

  1. Get a lot of cheesecloth from your local Wal-Mart cloth dept.
  2. Get a good cleaning rod.
  3. Put the cloth on rod and make sure the end of the slide rod is covered so that you don’t dent the end crook when cleaning the outer slide.
  4. The cloth should be snug when running through outer tubes (snug enough to generate some heat with 30-50 strokes).
  5. Swab the outer slide until the outer tube is really warm. Switch the cleaning rod to the other tube and repeat swabbing. Put clean cheesecloth on the cleaning rod and re-swab the slide until the cloth is coming out clean.
  6. After cleaning the inside of the outer slide, wipe down the inner slide with a soft cotton cloth.
  7. Reapply Trombotine to the inner slide.
  8. Put the inner slide back into the outer slide and continue playing.

Yearly Cleaning

If you want to do a complete cleaning and have the time, continue on with these steps.

  1. After doing steps 1-5 above, find some Wrights Brass Cream.
  2. Apply some of the brass cream to the end of the cleaning rod cloth.
  3. Swab the outer slide with the cleaning rod.
  4. Swab until the outer tube heats up and the brass cream turns black on cloth.
  5. Reapply clean cloth on the slide rod and repeat this process to the other outer slide tube.
  6. Apply the clean cloth to the cleaning rod and moisten the cloth with distilled water (Tap water has fluoride and your local minerals that are not good for your slide long term, always use distilled water on your slide). The water on the cloth will help remove the leftover Wrights polish from the outer tubes. Swab away with the wet cloth on your cleaning rod until there is no more polish coming out.
  7. Rotate the cloth, or put a new cloth on. Moisten and swab the other slide tube until the cloth comes out clean.
  8. When you look into the outer tube it should be a lot shinier than it was before the polishing.
  9. After polishing, fill the outer slide with warm water and cover both tubes with your fingers. Shake the outer slide and then drain the slide watching to make sure the water coming out of the slide is clean.
  10. After this warm bath, swab the outer slide with a clean slide rod one last time with clean cheesecloth. When the rod comes out clean then the hardest part of the slide cleaning is done.

Cleaning the Inner Slide

  1. Make sure you have clean hands, wash if necessary.
  2. Use some isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and some soft cotton cloth to wipe down the outside of the inner slide.
  3. Wipe until the cloth comes clean.
  4. Apply Trombotine to the stockings (lightly) and work it into the entire length of the inner slide tube with your thumb and forefinger. If you can see white after rubbing it in then you have used too much Trombotine applied to the inner slide (remove some of the Trombotine).
  5. Put the outer slide back into the inner slide. You’ll be amazed at how much better the slide action is after these processes.

Maintenance Videos

Basic Slide Care

Christan demonstrates proper slide cleaning techniques

Slide Felts

Christan teaches us how to save a few bucks the next time we need our slide felts replaced

Trombone Spit Valve Spring & Cork Replacement

Christan and Ron save us a few more bucks by teaching us how to replace our spit valve hardware

Stuck Trombone Mouthpiece & Leadpipe Removal

Be careful when doing this!