How to Clean Corrosion From Brass Instruments

Written by robert raphael
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How to Clean Corrosion From Brass Instruments
You will be able to enjoy your brass instruments for years if you maintain them properly. (Trumpet 6 image by Chad Perry from

Corrosion on unplated parts of a brass instrument is not only common but also fairly inevitable. Every person's breath is very slightly alkaline naturally. The alkalinity of your breath on the metal over time can cause slight corrosion stains. These stains are easy to clean with basic household items. You can clean any brass instrument of corrosion in this way in very little time. Just make sure you use mild soaps and soft cloths to prevent abrasions on the instrument.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Toothpaste
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Soft cloth
  • Plain, mild detergent

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  1. 1

    Disassemble the instrument so you have the corroded parts fully exposed and accessible.

  2. 2

    Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the bristles of a soft toothbrush.

  3. 3

    Gently rub the damaged area with the paste until it comes away from the instrument. Add more toothpaste to the brush as you are cleaning if you use up what is already on it.

  4. 4

    Wipe off the cleaned area with a soft cloth and a plain, mild detergent.

  5. 5

    Let the parts dry and reassemble your instrument.

Tips and warnings

  • Clean your instrument at least once a month to prevent corrosion from forming at all.
  • Do not rub off the plating with the toothpaste, only the corroded brass.

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