912 Church St.
North Syracuse
NY 13212



Two years ago we made a major investment and purchased an ultrasonic cleaner for the interior cleaning of band instruments. We made this decision in orderUltrasonic Cleaner to provide you with the most advanced method available today to clean your instrument. Below you will find detailed information of the advantages that makes this the best cleaning method, when compared to standard chemical methods used in most repair shops. We feel you will agree that this is not only the proper method to care for your instrument(s) for performance issues, but also a method that will help prolong the life of your instrument for the years to come.

VideoPlease click here to view a video clip of a french horn being ultrasonically cleaned.






In the last 90 years, the cleaning of band instruments has changed very little, until recently. Tradition has been to use acid based solutions to remove the lime and scale deposits. While modern chemistry has improved with time, things haven’t really changed very much. Most repair shops still used the 55-gallon drum of cyanide, muriatic, phosphoric, sulfamic, chromic, or acetic-based solutions. These work by either attacking the organic deposits, or the base metal itself (the internal brass tubing). Most acid based chemicals used in this process work primarily by removing metal, and in doing so etch the surface of these metals in various degrees.




Each of us has a different interpretation of what we would classify as a “clean” instrument. For some, filling and running acidic cleaners into the tubing and flushing it out with water, is considered clean. Using warm water and a cleaning brush or snake is adequate to some. The chromic acid (aka- “bright-dip”) that some shops use visually makes the instrument appear clean, while in fact these acids are etching (removing) material, leaving the surfaces irregular in texture.
We believe that the best and proper method is one which will remove all unnecessary internal deposits, while also leaving the base metals intact and unchanged molecularly. Ultrasonic cleaning does this safely, in regard to the instrument properties, besides being environmentally safe, and cleans instruments more thoroughly than any type of chemical bath being used today. You decide…




The unique aspect about this type of cleaning method is that ultrasonic cleaning is performed by using sound waves, which are sent through a liquid medium to microscopically scrub and clean all internal and external surfaces wherever the cleaning solution is present. These sound waves are sent through the liquid medium by a series of transducers, which sends a controlled frequency spectrum of sound waves through the medium liquid in the tank, thus creating waves of compression and expansion of microscopic bubbles. These bubbles expand and implode repeatedly, creating a scrubbing action thousands of times a second which removes all organic materials. This allows more complete cleaning as even in the most complex tubing geometry, ultrasonic cleaning will remove far more contaminates than its chemical counterpart. Chemical cleaners remove foreign matter by eating away, or etching, the top layers of the metal, which can be devastating to an instrument and it’s player, as the metal material that chemicals remove can not be replaced.

Ultrasonic cleaners are used for many cleaning applications that most of us do not think about. Jewelers, clock/ watchmakers, auto industry manufacturers, as well as the band instrument manufacturers themselves, use ultrasonics in various stages of their manufacturing processes. Drawing fluids, buffing and lapping compounds, metal shavings and various other manufacturing contaminants are all removed via ultrasonic cleaning.

VideoPlease click here to view a video clip of a french horn being ultrasonically cleaned.




Take any instrument you wish, to any other repair shop, and have them clean your instrument. Then bring it to us, where we will inspect it together before, and after, it receives our thorough “Ultra-Clean”. You will not only see a difference, but you will notice a distinct playing difference that will amaze you. And please use quality lubricants, and proper methods! Please also read the other article on our website entitled “Oil that Trumpet”!




Unless otherwise specified or requested prior, Empire Winds will lubricate all brass instruments with our preferred and recommended shop lubricants from Zaja.

Within 14 days after delivery of your brass instrument and you faithfully use those suggested products every time you play your instrument, if you should incur performance issues we will, at NO charge, re-clean your instrument ultrasonically. Then, you are free to use which ever brand of oils or lubricants you find works best for you.

If the instrument has poor valve/rotor tolerance issues, (i.e. - leaking rotors and/or pistons) this would require a valve rebuild. In this scenario, no cleaning method will insure proper performance for any length of time. We have repeatedly seen instruments damaged mechanically by chemical cleaning, which unfortunately causes many of these problems. The end result is that the outer surface area of pistons and rotors are reduced, and the inner casings are reduced, leaving a void which grows larger. In essence, the pistons/rotors get smaller in external diameter, and the interior casing walls get larger in internal diameter. For those that understand decimal arithmetic, we consider any piston/rotor/casing assembly that has a gap of .0015 a “borderline” re-build, and .002 is a definite rebuild. Rebuilding these components is not a cheap or quick process.

We have not received one single complaint!! There might be occasional body chemistry vs. different oils compatibility issues, in a minority of individual wind instrumentalists.

Please visit our testimonials page which includes a list of our satisfied clientele!


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