How to Polish a Trumpet

A brass trumpet will start to tarnish slowly but consistently despite its corrosion resistance. Unless a consistent maintenance strategy is implemented, your beloved brass trumpet will start to lose its original shine. This is a result of the trumpet being exposed to moisture and air. Fortunately, there are strategies to keep your beautiful brass trumpet from tarnishing. Before it’s time for your next gig, you’ll want to learn how to polish a trumpet.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about some common DIY brass instrument cleaning myths. More to the point, we’ll present a very effective and safe trumpet polish called the Champion Polishing Cloth. This 90-year-old brass cleaner and polish is known as the musician’s best friend!

What Is Brass Made From

When they hear the term brass, most people first think of musical instruments like trumpets. This is because brass instruments are among the most popular types of brass pieces. Few people are aware of the continuing use of brass extrusion, bars, and tubing. This is a copper and zinc metal. Trace quantities such as phosphorus, arsenic, plume, manganese, aluminum, and silicone are often applied to improve their properties.

Brass’s corrosion resistance is due to its copper content, though zinc is also corrosion-resistant. When exposed to the elements, brass gradually develops a patina on its surface, which forms rust. A patina is a thin film of material that forms as a result of the interaction of copper molecules with oxygen molecules.

Some people like their brass pieces to look elegantly antiquated, while others prefer them to be polished at all times. Since the initial stage of patination is marked by the development of tarnish, those who oppose it should deal with it when it is still in the form of tarnish. Tarnish is much simpler to strip than a fully developed coat of patina.

Soon we’ll discuss why the Champion Polishing Cloth is your best solution for how to polish a trumpet.

What Causes Brass To Tarnish

Brass is fairly resistant to tarnish, which is why it is frequently used for the manufacturing of trumpets. With that said, it will slowly begin to tarnish over time.

Metals such as brass are susceptible to tarnish and corrosion when exposed to water. It’s easy to spot corrosion on brass because of the reddish or pink splotches that start to appear on the surface. Exposure to mercury and ammonia can also cause brass to corrode.

The oils in human skin frequently result in brass tarnish. This is particularly important to consider for trumpet players.

How To Clean a Brass Trumpet

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As previously stated, it is easier to remove the patina in its early stages. When it is just in the form of tarnish, cleaning your brass trumpet should not be difficult. There are two approaches: DIY methods or using a commercial brass cleaner and polish. Let’s take a look at some of the so-called DIY brass instrument cleaning recipes.

One popular DIY recipe that claims to be effective in cleaning brass trumpets requires the use of ingredients typically found in the home. This recipe states that with a mixture of vinegar and salt, you can remove tarnish from your brass trumpet. These ingredients will most likely remove tarnish, but you have to ask yourself if it’s a safe method. As a musician, you take pride in the appearance of your instrument. Undoubtedly, you want to keep it in the best possible condition. With that said, finding an effective yet safe cleaning method is a priority.

It’s important to understand that vinegar can be an effective tarnish remover. It’s effective due to its caustic nature and acidity. If not handled carefully and the vinegar is not completely removed after cleaning, it can cause long-term damage to your trumpet. Also, if your trumpet has a lacquered finish, the vinegar will most likely remove that finish.

The second ingredient in this DIY recipe involves the use of salt. Salt is corrosive and abrasive. Due to its abrasiveness, it will remove tarnish. If the salt is not 100% removed after cleaning, it will start to corrode the brass. This will not only cause tarnish but may cause pitting on the surface of your brass trumpet.

There are other DIY methods found on the Internet that use a variety of ingredients such as lemon juice, ketchup, soft drinks, baking soda, etc. All are effective cleaners, but in all honesty, they must be handled with extreme care. They’re simply not a safe solution for maintaining your brass trumpet.

Determine whether or not the object is lacquered

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Lacquer is a clear coating that is placed on the surface of brass to protect it and give it a satin sheen. Simply wiping your brass trumpet with a clean, dry cloth will reveal whether it’s lacquer-finished or not. If the surface immediately shines again, it has lacquer on it. That’s because lacquer, like a windshield laminate, is designed to maintain the gleaming appearance of brass. Lacquered brass only looks dull when it’s covered in dust and grime.

Carefully wash your brass trumpet

Wash your trumpet in advance with mild dish soap to remove excess dust and grime. It is important to completely dry your brass trumpet carefully after rinsing.

How to Polish a Trumpet with the Champion Polishing Cloth

As a musician, you need a proven trumpet polish that’s earned a reputation and has an established following amongst musicians. For over 90 years, the Champion Polishing Cloth has earned such a reputation in the musical community. It is a safe and effective brass trumpet polish that is made in the USA. Its exclusive formulation will effectively remove tarnish, clean, wax, and protect your brass trumpet. This product is ready for immediate use right out of its seal-tight packaging.

Important Note: Before using the Champion Polishing Cloth, it is important that your brass trumpet is completely free of water or moisture. The cloth must NEVER come in contact with water or moisture. Water and moisture will ruin the polishing cloth’s ability to clean and remove tarnish. NEVER wash the Champion Polishing Cloth.


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Step 1: To remove tarnish from your brass trumpet, focus on just a small portion of your trumpet at a time. Roll the Champion Polishing Cloth into a ball and massage the surface of your trumpet in a linear pattern, with the grain if possible.

Step 2: Take a clean, dry, soft cloth and begin to buff the area that’s been cleaned until a brilliant shine appears.

Step 3: Repeat the same procedure on the next section of your trumpet and continue until finished.

As you use the Champion Polishing Cloth to remove tarnish, the cloth will start to discolor and turn black. This discoloration of the cloth is simply an illustration of its effectiveness in removing tarnish from your musical instrument. This discoloration is normal. In fact, the more discolored the cloth becomes, the better it performs!

How long does the Champion Polishing Cloth last? A 9″ x 12″ polishing cloth will outlast one gallon of brass cleaner and polish! No matter how dark the polishing cloth becomes, continue using it until the fabric shreds and wears out. You’ll get countless months, if not years, of brass cleaning satisfaction from a tiny investment.

A nice feature of the Champion Polishing Cloth that any musician will appreciate is that it will not leave behind any unsightly sediment in the crevices of musical instruments. It cleans lacquered brass trumpets without harm.

The easiest way to minimize the formation of brass tarnish on your brass trumpet is to maintain a consistent cleaning schedule. Another helpful benefit of using the Champion Polishing Cloth is that its unique chemistry is able to penetrate into the pores of the brass metal and leave behind an invisible protective film that will stop tarnish in its tracks. Once cleaned and polished, your brass trumpet will maintain its beautiful luster for longer durations of time.

The Champion Polishing Cloth is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It is gentle on your hands and will not damage even the most delicate brass instrument finishes. The Champion Polishing Cloth will turn you into an expert in how to polish a trumpet!

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