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How to Lubricate Your Trombone Slide

Water is being sprayed onto the trombone slide with a small spray bottle.

How often should you lubricate your trombone slide?

You will need to spray the slide with water everyday, and applying cream or oil should be done about once per week. Your slide may become sluggish at any time though, so make sure you have a spray bottle and slide lubricant (or cream) in your case at all times.


Three tuning slide creams positioned next to each other. The three brands are Superslick, Bach, and Yamaha.

For oiling the main slide on a trombone you want to use slide oil or slide cream. A slide grease will be too thick and won’t allow you to move the slide quickly enough whilst playing. Yamaha, Bach, and Superslick make excellent trombone slide lubricants.

We recommend taking the outer slide off completely and putting it back in your case or another safe place to prevent it from falling off whilst you are lubricating the inner slide. 

The Process

Old slide lubricant is being removed from the trombone slide with paper towel.

1. Before applying lubricant to the slide, wipe a cleaning cloth along the outside of the inner slide to remove any dirt and oil that was previously applied. 

Two images side by side. On the left, slide lubricant is being applied to the bottom of the inner slide. On the right, the slide is being sprayed with water.

2. Apply your cream or oil to the end of the inner slide. You will also need to spray some water to moisten the rest of the slide. 

The bottom of the trombone slide is being shown with a circle around the water key.

3. Insert the inner slide back into the outer slide, making sure that the water key is facing the floor.

An arrow pointing in both directions indicates the trombone slide being moved in and out.

4. Slide the two sections back and forth to spread the lubricant.

Extra Tips

1. If your slide still isn’t moving the way it should, you may have used a bit too much lubricant, in which case you can just remove it with a cloth and start again.

2. Only apply the lubricant to the bottom of the inner slide and not the top. 

If you continue to have issues with moving your slide, we recommend contacting WindCraft Repair.

That’s everything you need to know about lubricating a trombone slide!

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