I’m sure that most of you clean your horns at least once a week. SURE YOU DO!! I have to admit that the hygiene routine on my instruments is not what it should be but one area you should address at least once a week is your mouthpiece.
Studies have been done to determine how much of a health risk is to neglect the cleanliness of a trombone mouthpiece and it was found that many trombone performers are now contracting respiratory infection because of unclean trombone mouthpieces. It is true that a trombone player is at a greater risk from infestation than a trumpet player for the simple reason that moving a trombone slide from 7th position to 1st position forces air not only through the bell but also back through the mouthpiece and into the face of the player. Fortunately the direction of the air on a trumpet is only in the direction; towards the bell. Even though we trumpet players are at less risk of germ transfers, it is always prudent to play on a clean instrument.
I have mentioned in other posts the importance of scrubbing the inside of your mouthpiece with a mouthpiece brush and even using toothpaste on such a brush. The added abrasive in toothpaste will cut any build-up on the inside and will renew the “new mouthpiece” feel to your air stream. I have also mentioned that you should “never” use this toothpaste application on the lead pipe for fear that the grit in the toothpaste could eventually make its’ way into the valve section and damage your valves. Well, I have changed my mind on that thought. If, after swabbing your lead pipe with the toothpaste mixture on a brush, and meticulously flushing such lead pipe with ample amounts of warm water, you should be fine and the super clean air passage will blow your mind.
Just remember, “Be sure that you have rinsed the lead pipe completely” before beginning you playing.