You are here:

Flute/what can i use to clean my flute can you name everytging


i just started band and i am playing the flute well i never noticed that it was dirty inside of and i really need to know what i can use to clean my flute that is harmless for me and the flute and what is everything that i will need to use to clean the flute thak you very much Holly

Hey Katie,

When you got your flute, you may have noticed a cleaning rod in the case - a thin rod about a foot long with a slit at one end. (Looks like a giant blunt needle.)  If you don't have one, you can see your band director about getting a replacement, or you can buy one at your local music store.  Cleaning rods can be metal, wood, or plastic, and are inexpensive.

What you do with this is thread a clean and soft cloth through the slit - just a little bit so the cloth won't come free from the rod.  Many flutists like to use cotton bandannas or large handkerchiefs, because they can pick a fun pattern or color, but it can be any cloth, really, like a piece from an old tee shirt.  I would just avoid those materials that shed fibers or have a texture that would snag on your flute's mechanism (like a washcloth).  At the end of each practice session, use the cloth-wrapped cleaning rod to swab the inside of your flute.  This removes moisture that builds up inside the flute each time you play, which can affect the pads over time.  

When you're done, don't leave the cloth inside the case with the flute. The point of swabbing it is to remove moisture from the vicinity of the flute, and leaving the damp cloth inside the case just puts it right back in with it. :)   

That takes care of the interior of the flute.  Now, if you like shiny things, you can polish the outside of your flute as long as your flute has silver on its exterior.  Nickel-silver finishes, found on many basic beginner flutes, donít really polish that well - if you're not sure what kind you have, you can ask your band director.  

Since silver tarnishes over time, you can use a treated silver polishing cloth, available at any music store or online, to remove the discoloration. I like the multi-layer kind that come with a treated polishing cloth as well as a buffing cloth, such as's Silver Polishing cloth.  The link is just so you can get an idea of what you're looking for - you can find similar cloths anywhere online or at your local music store.  I donít recommend messing with liquid polishes - they're too messy and easy to get on your flute in places you donít want it.   

Once your flute is all mirror-shiny, to prevent tarnish from re-accumulating, you can get 3M Silver Protector Strips, which are simple treated strips of paper that you can store inside your flute case.   

That's really all you need for cleaning the inside and outside of your flute. :)



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I can answer questions about learning to play the flute, reading music, problems encountered when playing, flute repertoire, practicing tips, and performing, as well as information about classical composers and their works. Please note that I am no longer accepting any questions about what kind of flute to buy, upgrading, flute brands, reselling, what a flute is worth, etc. I have answered many of these questions in the past, so please either view my answers in the the previously asked questions section or visit my website, which has a page about buying flutes: Thanks!


I've played the flute since fourth grade, graduating with my master's degree in flute performance. I have taught at local music schools, given flute lessons for over ten years, have played in and soloed with several orchestras, chamber groups, and various other ensembles. For more information about me, visit my website at I love the flute, and I love helping people, so I welcome your questions!

Bachelor's and master's degrees in flute performance from Carnegie Mellon University.

©2017 All rights reserved.