Trombone Slide on Picnic Table

How to Apply Trombotine to Your Trombone Slide

Trombotine—check the price—is one of the best and oldest slide lubricants on the market. When you get it, you’ll find that it comes in a tube that looks sort of like toothpaste. Of course, the cream inside isn’t exactly minty fresh. Instead, it’s more like a facial moisturizer. In this article, we’ll learn just how to use the cream to lubricate our trombone slide.

To summarize, Trombotine can be applied in 3 steps. First, prepare your slide be removing any old lubricant. Then, apply Trombotine to the stockings and spread thoroughly until no more white can be seen. Finally, spray the slide with some water, and you’ll be ready to go.

If that description wasn’t enough, keep reading to get even more details.

3 Steps to Apply Trombotine

If you’ve never used a cream-based lubricant before, this article will serve as a nice introduction. In general, you’ll want to follow a 3-step process:

  1. Clean your slide
  2. Apply Trombotine to the stockings
  3. Spray the slide with water

If your slide is already in good shape, feel free to jump to the second step. Of course, don’t forget to read to the end. There’s a nice bonus tip to follow.

Step 1: Prepare Your Slide

As always, I recommend cleaning your slide first—especially if you’re changing lubricants. That way, you won’t run into any issues of cross-contamination.

To start, I recommend cleaning the inner slide first with a soft cloth. If you want to go the extra mile, you can use a mild dish soap to remove any grease. In addition, it’s a good idea to inspect the slide at this point for dents and mineral deposits.

If all is well on the inner slide end, run a snake through the outer slide. After all, if you only clean the inner slide, you’ll immediately undo all your work when you put the outer slide back on, so make sure it’s clean too.

To clean the outer slide, some folks recommend using a cleaning rod and some cheesecloth. In this case, the goal is to repeatedly vibrate the inside of the slide until you generate enough heat to remove debris and old lubricant.

If you need more tips on cleaning a trombone, I’ve written a guide that runs through the entire cleaning process.

Step 2: Apply Trombotine to Stockings

With your slide in good condition, it’s time to apply the Trombotine. To do that, lay your slide on a flat surface, and extend it until the stockings (the fat ends of the inner slide) are exposed. Then, apply a small amount of the slide cream to each stocking.

From here, spreading the Trombotine is just a matter of preference. For instance, some folks recommend rubbing the Trombotine around the stockings before letting the slide do the rest. Meanwhile, others recommend manually rubbing the cream up the slide.

Regardless, all that matters is that you get even coverage of the cream at least around the stockings which are going to come in the most contact with the outer slide. Be careful not to use too much because you don’t want to be able to actually see the cream. Otherwise, your slide will feel slow and sticky.

Step 3: Spray Slide with Water

With your Trombotine properly applied, it’s time to hit your slide with a finishing touch: some water. In particular, you want to use a spray bottle that will break up the water into tiny droplets that will act like ball bearings on your slide.

To be honest, I’m not sure exactly how much water you should use, but obviously you don’t want the slide soaked. Feel free to experiment and report back with your number of sprays.

If you want to take your slide to the next level, add a small amount of a silicone solution to your slide. If you’re familiar with Superslick, this is actually a part of their formula. Of course, it works just the same with Trombotine. Feel free to follow the small bottle directions for Slide-O-Mix as well.

The benefit of using a silicone additive is that it will last longer than a cream. In other words, it’ll extend the life of your lubricant, and it will improve the slide’s smoothness.


When it comes to applying Trombotine, the process is pretty straight forward:

  1. Clean your slide
  2. Apply Trombotine to the stockings
  3. Spray the slide with water

Pro tip: you’ll get even better results if you top off this process with a bit of silicone lubricant (i.e. small bottle of Slide-O-Mix).

If you followed this guide and decided that Trombotine isn’t for you, check out my article on the three best slide lubricants.

At any rate, I hope that helped! If so, let me know. Otherwise, don’t forget to respect the brass!