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The Best French Horn Cleaning Kit To Keep Your Horn Sterile is…

How do you clean French horns at home? If you're got a french horn cleaning kit, it's pretty simple...

Searching for the best French Horn cleaning kit?

Good! Because a hygienic horn is the foundation of any well-played piece of music. Let’s face it, mucky horns are far more than just a personal health risk. Consider that Brass instruments are powered by your breath and you soon realise that (if not cleaned properly) your horn could quickly become a giant germ-spreading cannon. Yuk! That’s if you don’t treat it to regular maintenance of course. Exactly why a French Horn cleaning kit should be an essential of every player’s toolbox.

Neglect to clean your horn and, well, the future doesn’t look good. Aside from exposing yourself (and others) to unnecessary bacteria, you also risk damaging the horn itself. Not something you want to happen, especially when the Best French Horns don’t come cheap. Fail to clean your horn and you could find that the Zinc and Copper which make up the Brass of your horn, could actually separate, leaving behind that garish green colour you tend to find on old bits of copper.

This is part of a process called dezincification. Something that as you can imagine, doesn’t do wonders for the aesthetics of your horn (unless you’re into that sort of thing). Neither does it aid your sound. So to help you maximise the lifespan of your horn, we’ve scoured the internet for the best French Horn cleaning kits that you can buy…. you can thank us later :)

After something specific about French Horn maintenance? Or just curious what we think is the best French Horn cleaning kit & why? Use the menu below to get all the answers you need in 1 click…

The best French Horn cleaning kits @ a glance…

9 of the best French Horn cleaning kits you can buy

While cleaning your French Horn is a ‘must’, how you go about cleaning it can differ quite substantially. That’s because there’s a whole host of ways in which to clean your French Horn. So many in fact, that we struggle to keep track. You can clean your horn using a brush, cloth, some for fluid, ultrasonic sound waves – the list goes on. And then of course, they don’t all set you back the same amount either.

In which case, we thought we’d conduct a rundown of ways in which to clean your French Horn. That way you can ensure you get the best French Horn cleaning kit for you & your beloved horn…

1: Monster French Horn Care and Cleaning Kit

2: Ultra-Pure Deluxe French Horn Care Kit

3: Ultra-Pure Original French Horn Cleaning Kit

4: Libretto French Horn Cleaning Kit

5: Hysagtek 4 Pieces French Horn Cleaning Kit

6: Yamaha French Horn Maintenance Kit

7: Bnineteenteam French Horn Brush

8: Cecilio Trumpet/ French Horn Care Kit

9: Giny French Horn Maintenance Brush

Which French horn cleaning kit is the best? Our editor’s choice

While we found all the cleaning kits listed above to be good options for cleaning your French Horn, when it comes to the best French Horn cleaning kit out there, we’d say it’s a toss up between the kits from Monster & Ultra-Pure. Here’s why…

In regards to the Monster cleaning kit, there’s virtually everything you need to keep your horn maintained to a professional standard – it’s little wonder it’s SO popular, especially with kids! Not only does it make the ‘laborious task’ of cleaning you horn, actually quite fun (we love the little Monster finger puppet), but it also contains a whole host of good quality products; branding & gimmicks aside, this is really solid kit!

For instance, we’d say the oil was very much on par with that of AlCas or Paxman. Plus the slide grease does a nice job too. Exactly why if we needed a FULL French Horn cleaning kit, this would be the way we’d sway…

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However, should you not need 1000 different types of grease/ lube for your French Horn, then we’d say you can’t go far wrong with the Original kit from Ultra-Pure. Aside from being a kit that lends itself to a reputable brand, it’s also nowhere near as pricey as you might think!

And yet it comes with all the essentials required to keep your horn in tip-top condition, from a rather soft polishing cloth to some really nice valve oil & a set of high-density brushes. All you really need, if you’re already stocked up on lubricants/ grease. Saying that though, if you will be needing some extra grease/ lubricant pretty shortly, then you could save yourself some time by upgrading to Ultra-Pure’s Deluxe Kit. #JustSaying

For frequent players, we’d always advise in investing in a new brush & cloth every year or so. That way you can be sure you’re not re-contaminating your instrument when cleaning (schoolboy error).

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Enjoy this review of the best French Horn cleaning kits and eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Instrument Care Advice + the lowdown on everything Brass Instruments. In the market for an instrument? We’ve also recently done a review of the Best French Horn Mutes which may be of interest.

Or, if you’ve still got as burning question about cleaning your French Horn, keep reading, and we’ll share with you even more advice on how to get the best out of your French Horn…

The lowdown on french horn cleaning kits

A french horn cleaning kit is an assortment of brushes, cloths, fluids etc. which help you keep your French Horn clean & in good working order.

In most cases, a horn cleaning kit will relatively easy to use and come with a set of instructions to guide you how best to use the included tools. And while some are cheaper than others, we wouldn’t advise you to scrimp. As you’d imagine, if you’re after the best French Horn cleaning kit then you will have to spend a bit more, but believe us… it’s worth it.

A more pricy kit will usually buy you higher quality lubricants, fluids and brushes. All of which should last longer and preserve your horn far better. So really, while cleaning your horn would cost a bit more, the level of hygiene and instrument care you get with a quality kit makes it more than worth it.

Remember: your horn is an investment, just like a car house or yacht (if you’re posh). And just like all of these investments, they require regular upkeep in order to retain their value. In fact, we’d suggest putting together some sort of horn care routine that

While how often you clean your French horn will depend on how much you use it. A good guide would be..

Every time you play: Be sure to wipe down your mouthpiece with a microfibre cloth and sterilise the mouthpiece. Do so and the rest of the French Horn cleaning process will be a while lot easier. Plus, you’ll likely go through less mouthpieces too.

Every 2 days: Oil the valves with some special French Horn valve oil. Do this and you shouldn’t have any issues with your valves seizing up or becoming stiff. It’d also be a wise idea to keep an eye on your slides too and also make sure they’re well oiled too. Usually these will need oil less often than your valves.

Every week: Wipe down your horn with a damp microfibre cloth. This could include buffing up the outside, as well as wiping any debris out of the inside of the bell. Just be sure to leave it to dry before you put it back in your French Horn Case.

Every month: Clear inside the tubes of your horn by either rinsing inside the horn or using a snake to clear any debris from the tubing. If you do use a snake, be sure to use a high quality as cheaper snake tend to shed lint.

Every 2-3 months: Bathe your horn in lukewarm water. You can usually do this in your bathtub by submerging the horn, leaving it to soak for a good 10-15 minutes. Be sure to also press on each of the valves to enable the water to circulate around the entire horn. After which, get a good quality snake and work it in and around the tubing of your horn. We’d suggest inserting the snake down both ends of the horn to get the most coverage.

Every year: Put down your French Horn cleaning kit and take your horn to be professionally cleaned. This type of cleaning will use special chemicals to clean your horn and typically see the cleaner take your horn apart. Something we don’t suggest you do by yourself.

Want to gets some extra tips on how to use your French Horn cleaning kit? Watch the video below…

YouTube video

If you don’t clean a French Horn then you set yourself up for a whole host of issues, including…

A less fuller sound – Neglect to clean your horn and the build-up of bacteria is likely to interfere with the airflow through the horn & in turn alter the acoustics. Another affect could also be a slight change in intonation too.

Valve/ slide response declines – Failing to clean your French Horn can very easily cause the valves to become stiff and the slides to loose their smoothness. Equally, it doesn’t do much good to the mechanism either. So pay particular attention to these parts of the horn – clean them & make sure they’re well oiled!

Excessive tarnishing – Being brass, French Horns are comprised of both Copper and Zinc. So, when the condensation caused by your breath settles on the horn, it can develop into a layer of corrosion. Leave this condensation long enough and a chemical reaction is likely to take place, causing the horn’s surface to tarnish. Or if it’s really bad, even develop a green tint like that you see on neglected copper.

Your instrument becomes unplayable – Allowing a level of bacteria to build up inside your French Horn is a sure way to make it unplayable. You may not see too much of a difference in short term, over the course of a couple of years, you’ll come to realise that how much not cleaning your horn can shorten its lifespan.

You get ill – Not a nice situation, but it can happen. Especially with the recent outburst of Covid 19, we’d advise you to take extra cleaning precautions before playing your instrument. So much so that if your instrument is shared – perhaps a collective instrument belonging to a band/ school – we’d advise you to give it a thorough clean at the very least before you play. And without a doubt, buy yourself a separate mouthpiece.

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To clean your French Horn affectively you need to invest in the right apparatus.

You’re not going to get very far, or at least do a good enough job, if you’re trying to get by with rookie equipment. You need more than a feather duster and a pair of Marigolds to properly clean your horn!

What’s more, these instruments aren’t exactly cheap, so investing in the best French Horn cleaning kit you can buy just makes sense.

Ultrasonic cleaning for a French Horn is something we’d advise you look into in the long run. That’s because it takes cleaning your French Horn to the next level. Although the process is actually pretty simple.

Pay for your horn Ultrasonic Cleaning and it’ll be completely submerged in mild detergent. This will take place in a specialist tank, that on the face of it looks pretty similar to an acid bath, where the detergent will be heated to 100 degrees fahrenheit. They’ll also be environmentally friendly too, so even Greenpeace hippies can give it a go!

As for the cleaning process itself, it only takes around 2-5 minutes. During which your horn will be hit with 1000s upon 1000s of sound waves. The way it does so is by triggering the expansion and compression of the cleaning liquid. A reaction that’s powerful enough to actually rip its molecules apart. This then creates tiny bubbles which later expand. Bubbles that once combined with the gentle movement of the fluid create a unique scrubbing action, that help to give your horn a thorough deep clean.

Very clever!

A French Horn cleaning kit is enough to keep your horn maintained to a playable standard for the period of about a year. Any longer than that and we’d suggest investing in a session of Ultrasonic Cleaning.

However, it would also help to polish your horn too if you want it to remain presentable. Reason being that if you are to bathe your horn or wipe it down excessively, you can cause the metal to dull. To add polish not only feed the metal per se, but it also adds a protective layer over it, which should make future cleaning 10 times easier.

You should oil your French Horn valves at a minimum, once a week. Ideally every couple of days is the best policy. Although to some extent that will depend on how often you play.

Just be sure that if your horn has gone un-played for a long period of time that you’re sure to oil the valves as soon as you use it. Otherwise, if they’ve seized or gone stiff, you could actually end up causing mechanical damage. Not good!

You can indeed sanitise your horn at home.

Doing so shouldn’t be an issue providing you invest in a good quality French Horn cleaning kit. Fail to do so and you could easily end up with a case of SHS… Smelly Horn Syndrome. Although with that being said, bathing your horn (a good way to escape this fait) is slightly more complex. However, it can certainly be done at home.

Interested to see how? Check out this French Horn player’s tutorial…

YouTube video

Now, we’ll be straight up with you.

A French Horn cleaning kit can’t prevent you from needing to get your horn professionally cleaned. That’s why professional French Horn cleaning services cost a lot more. However, by investing in the best French Horn cleaning kit, you can reduce the amount of times your horn will require a professional clean. So think of a cleaning kit more as prevenattive maintenance than a full-proof solution.

To play for your horn cleaning ultrasonically, will set you back around £100, plus an extra £50 or so for any extra polish and oil etc. Call it aftercare treatment. We’d recomend having an Ultrasonic Clean around once a year.