We have been contacted by some school authorities who have started sterilising trumpet mouthpieces in solutions such as sterilising fluids designed for babies’ bottles. We would never recommend this! These solutions are mostly based on sodium hypochlorite – i.e. bleach.
Bleach will seriously damage the silver plating of a mouthpiece and should never be used. Sodium hypochlorite is a strong oxidant and will cause the silver to tarnish very rapidly. In addition, it will generate sodium hydroxide which will etch into the silver and cause pitting, thus ruining the mouthpiece.
Never use bleach on a mouthpiece!
We recommend regularly cleaning with a Denis Wick Mouthpiece Brush in hot, soapy water. This will not damage the mouthpiece and should kill any germs. Use the mouthpiece brush to scrub the bore of the mouthpiece, where the dirt builds up. Allow the mouthpiece to air dry. This will keep the mouthpiece spotless and will prevent infections and cross contamination.
Never use any abrasive material, such as toothpaste (which we have seen recommended!), on a mouthpiece. It will scratch it and damage the plating. Use a soft cloth such as a Denis Wick Silver Cloth, which will remove any tarnish.