Edgware Cares No. 8 : Switching Valve Oil

When changing valve oil, it is very important to clean the valves and valve casings in between. In this blog, we’re going to explain why this is so important, and how best to do this…

Why it’s important to clean your instrument before switching valve oils…

Firstly, there may be residues and stains from the original oil you’ve been using on your valves and inside your valve casings. Applying a new fresh valve oil over the top of these may cause issues, and stop your new valve oil from working as effectively. In particular, synthetic oils are known for loosening up old grime, which can actually cause valves to stick – the exact opposite of what you want a valve oil to do!

Edgware Regular Valve Oil
Edgware Regular Valve Oil

How to clean your instrument before switching vale oils…

The easiest, but the least cost-effective method would be to take your instrument to your local repairer for a deep clean. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do this yourself. Here are the steps we recommend for bathing your brass instrument:

  1. Take your instrument apart – removing valves, slides, valve caps, etc. (it might be helpful to label each part so you don’t have too much trouble putting it back together again afterwards!)
  2. Fill your bath with lukewarm water, and add your chosen cleaner (we’ll make a recommendation/shameless plug later)
  3. Place your instrument inside the bath, on top of a towel so it doesn’t get scratched
  4. Allow your instrument to soak for the suggested time given on the label of your chosen cleaner
  5. Use a snake and valve brush to scrub the inside of your instrument and remove any build-up
  6. You should then run water through the tubing until it runs clean
  7. Rinse your instrument to remove any dirty water, and then dry with a clean towel
  8. Make sure to rotate your instrument several times to make sure all of the water has come out
  9. Apply slide grease and valve oil when reassembling the parts
  10. Play test the instrument to make sure everything has been put back on the right place.

Of the musicians who do bathe their brass instrument, many use Fairy liquid, which isn’t actually very good for your instrument. We’ve developed a brass soak that has been uniquely formulated for all brass instruments. The formula attacks the bio-film build-up within pipes, de-greases valves and slides, and freshens with a clean citrus fragrance. This formula is safe for all forms of plating and lacquer finishes due to its neutral PH. It also features an anti-static agent which aids water repellence, making the next clean even easier!

Use soak before switching your valve oil
Brass Soak and Tuba in a Bath

So, there you have it – some top tips on how to valve oils. If you have any requests, feel free to let us know here or reach out to us on Instagram and Facebook!