I used silicone spray to lubricate my trumpet's pistons. It's easier to spray the lubricant on the valves, but can silicone spray damage my trumpet? What about other general purpose lubricants?

I still have plenty of valve oil, but it takes a lot of time to spread inside the pistons.

  • 1
    I find that it takes most time to screw open and take out the pistons and tighten after finished, not the action of applying the oil. It is sufficient to apply drops of oil, and then slide and turn the pistons inside the tube to spread it evenly. No big deal.
    – awe
    Aug 23, 2013 at 10:24
  • You might want to avoid turning the pistons - if there is dirt in the valve there's a risk of creating horizontal scratches that might obstruct the vertical valve action. I have found that a few drops before and a few drops after playing and just pumping the valves a few times when back in place keeps the valve action in trim. (I have a feeling that I read such instructions in a Yamaha tuba manual, but I can't remember.) I haven't had any problems with any brass instrument since I started following this procedure. +1 for the screw open time being the time consumer. Aug 23, 2013 at 13:54
  • Silicone binds to itself, so I'd say there's a good chance of this gumming things up.
    – user28
    Aug 23, 2013 at 17:54
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    Well I cleaned my trumpet and relubricated it with valve oil. The silicone spray's effect didn't last long enough. Didn't notice any damage, but this doesn't mean it's safe to use in the long run.
    – Anthony
    Aug 23, 2013 at 18:15
  • The reason is that silicone sprays (in my experience) are junk that doesn't actually contain very much silicone oil. Whatever is in there must have a very low molecular weight because it evaporates over a few days.
    – Kaz
    Aug 24, 2013 at 0:47

4 Answers 4


I have never used silicone spray, nor do I know anyone who has ever used silicone spray. My thoughts would be: use at your own risk - especially if oiling your valves isn't its original function.

In terms of damage, there are only a couple things to consider: Whether or not it will gum up your valves, and / or whether or not it is corrosive. If you find that it does/is neither of those things, then it shouldn't be a concern.

But please don't take my word for it - consult an instrument repair technician.

^Side Thoughts^

It doesn't take more than a few seconds to oil a trumpet's valves - I am guessing you're saving approximately 8 milliseconds by spraying instead.

Besides, couldn't you just put your valve oil in a cheap spray bottle and use that instead?

I have rotary valves, which are a lot more maintenance than piston. Be good to your instrument, and your instrument will be good to you.

Hope that helps.


This is an old subject line I know but I think it's worth noting that pure silicone oil, which I would use, is nearly inert and a VERY effective lubricant. I wouldn't use a silicone spray because it has additives to thin it out enough to work as a spray and hwo knows what junk that may be? Cheers Leroy


I am 57 yrs old and a few years back my wife bought me a cheap trumpet made in China. From the start the valves never worked well and they got worse as I used it. I would have to oil it at least twice in a practice session to keep the valves from sticking. There were times I nearly threw the defective instrument across the room. The trumpet was too cheap to have fixed and too crappy to play. Then I decide to use silicon spray on it. Couldn't hurt? Long story short...it has been a month now and the valves have not stuck yet. Early on the spray does have a smell and who knows if it is a health risk, but for me it has worked great. Anyone with a good working trumpet I would stick with trumpet oil however.


Valve lubrication (and even more so, trombone slide lubrication) attracts many fads and opinions. The silicone spray won't do any harm. If it works, fine. I don't understand the 'easier'. It's such a tiny job either way. Though a little time spent on cleaning before lubricating might be productive.

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