How to Clean Your French Horn
Cleaning your horn regularly will keep it playing well and will be better for your health. French horn is one of the more difficult brass instruments to clean and there are some aspects that should be left to a technician. But, there are a few basics steps that you can do yourself to keep your horn in good condition between instrument services.
The equipment you will need for cleaning your French horn is a flexible snake brush, a mouthpiece brush, and some dish soap. You can buy everything you need in a kit, such as this one from Reka.
1. Lay a soft towel in your bath or large tub, and fill it with warm water and a small amount of dish soap. It is important to not use hot water, as this can damage the lacquer.
2. As you remove each part, clean off the old slide grease with some paper towel.
3. Place all of the slides and your mouthpiece in the soapy water and leave them to soak for about 10 minutes. We don’t recommend putting your whole instrument in the water as this can result in dirt getting into your valves, which will be difficult to remove. Leave this step for your instrument service.
4. Pour some water through the lead pipe of the horn and feed the snake brush through until it comes out the other end.
5. When everything is done soaking, you can run your snake brush through everything except for the mouthpiece and wash the soapy water off all of these parts. Only push the brush as far as you can without force.
6. Scrub out the mouthpiece with a mouthpiece brush. If you don’t have time for a full clean of your horn, it is good to at least clean your mouthpiece and leadpipe regularly, as this is where you will have the most build up. Especially, if you tend to eat between practice sessions.
7. Use a soft cloth to dry the parts of your French horn.
Enjoy your clean your French horn and happy practising!