I got a slide whistle for my birthday. I notice that it seems to stick a lot. When I try playing it, it is always hitting my teeth and I can't really practice.

This is my first non-percussion instrument. How do I lubricate my slide whistle?

  • Is it wooden or plastic? Dec 6, 2015 at 0:00
  • @ToddWilcox I'm pretty sure it's nickel-plated steel. Dec 6, 2015 at 0:07

1 Answer 1


In all my days (weeks?) of playing slide whistle, I've never needed to lubricate it. That said, my first inclination is some kind of mineral oil, which is safe on pretty much any type of instrument. In fact, since the slide whistle is operated very much like a trombone, I'd suggest looking at valve oil, which is mostly mineral oil.

My slide whistle has a serrated ring on the bottom. I've never disassembled it yet, but my understanding is that you loosen that portion and can remove the piston. Use a lint-free cloth (a gun cleaning kit would work nicely) and lightly lubricate the inner surface of the instrument, checking for anything that might be stopping the piston. Put a bit of lubricant on the piston and reassemble.

There is a review with similar information over at the Musician's Friend page for my instrument:

Tomterrific: ...A tiny, tiny bit of very light lube (like clarinet bore oil or similar [note: this is also mineral oil]) might be necessary to get the slide and piston working just right. Fortunately, the far end can screw off to do just that....


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