Maintenance of flutes

After playing the flute should be cleaned with a soft cloth without lints from inside. Normally there is a cleaning pole in the flute case to do this. The cloth is pulled through the slot at the end of the pole and is wrapped around the pole. The size of the cloth should be chosen in such a way that it is easy to pull the pole with the cloth through the tube of the flute. On the other hand it is important, that the cloth fills the tube to collect all of the moisture inside the flute.

Cleaning the flute this way should start with the lower joint as this is where least moisture is found. Starting with the head joint would lead to spread the humidity from where throughout the instrument. Thus beginning from the lower joint cleaning goes on with the middle joint and ends with the head joint. For cleaning the head joint, the cloth is wrapped over the tip of the pole, too. Thus the pole wont hit the pitch cork so hard it might be pushed or spoiled. Don't push the pole inside the head joint too powerful, you might move the cork this way.

The correct position of the pitch pole can be controlled by inserting the lower end of the cleaning pole into the head joint. Most poles carry a mark on the lower end, this has to be seen in the middle of the mouth hole, if the position of the pitch cork is correct.

A flute should never be put on any kind of seating. Some day surely someone will take place on it. For laying down the flute should always turned in such a way, the keys are on top of the instruments. For holding the flute, the best part is on the middle joint above the keys, thus the flute wont fall down due to a loose head joint, which might not carry the weight of the rest of the flute.

Due to moisture from playing or even from the weather, the pads might make strange sounds. The easiest way to get rid of this annoyance is to take a cigarette paper, remove the sticking part of it, put it under the key, close it and pull the paper out (don´t press the key strongly while doing this).

Yamaha sells also powder paper for the same issue. It is bigger and the powder makes it easier to remove wetness. The cleaning papers by Yamaha (without paper) are used for water under a key. Don´t use powder paper if there is really water.

The latest invention to help against sticky pads (especially if it is not only moisture but also perhaps sugar from having soft drinks before playing flute) is a special fluid, called "Pad juice". I didn´t have to use it yet, but the recommendation is from a good flute builder. Last there are special pad dryer cloths from BG France.

Author: Claudia Haider; Last updated 10.04.2013