Don’t work the slides when they are dry. This causes small scratches and will harm the surface of both inside and outside slides, especially outside slides. Brand new trombones right out of the dealer’s stock should not be tried until the slides are oiled. Dealers sometimes hand a customer a trombone with dry slides because they don’t want to go to the trouble of cleaning off the oil after trial, but this is a bad practice. Not only does oil protect from scratches but a protective film of oil on new slides is essential to fill up the pores of the metal and guard against corrosion by body acids.
There are many fads about lubricating trombones. Some players swear by Cuticura ointment, a salve for skin disease. They say it is especially good for breaking in a new trombone. Others prefer ordinary cold cream. They apply the cold cream to the dry slide, then add water.
Nothing, however, takes the place of a good trombone oil and it is recommended generally. If your slides are plated with nickel, any good trombone oil put out by a reputable manufacturer will do the job. If your trombone is plated with chromium, an emulsion oil is recommended. The specially developed emulsion oil will stick to plated slides, whereas ordinary oil runs off quickly. Although this oil was developed especially for chromium, it will work equally well on nickel.