Is your flute ready for a spa day? Follow these simple steps to clean your flute using common household items. For younger flutists, these steps should be performed by a parent, or with parent supervision. Go on...give your flute the spa day it deserves!
Dip one end of the cotton swab into rubbing alcohol. Shake or dab off any excess. It should be damp, but not dripping.
With the headjoint detached, gently wipe around the inside of your flute's embouchure hole. This is called the "riser." The inside of your riser can get dirty over time, and especially if you wear any lip products while playing. Keeping it clean maintains the original surface that the manufacturer of your flute intended, and ensures that you will have the clearest response possible on your flute.
CAUTION: Never use alcohol to clean wooden instruments (such as wooden piccolos). Alcohol may only be used on metal.
If your flute has open holes, gently depress each open-holed key and wipe around the inside of the opening. Do not pull hard on the keys, and be careful to not get alcohol on your pads. This picks up any excess oil, dead skin and other environmental particles that can build up over time.
CAUTION: Be careful to keep alcohol away from the rods and joints between the keys (example marked with X).
If your footjoint has felt overly tight or "sticky" lately, the connection point, also known as the "tenon," may be dirty. Use alcohol and a cotton swab to gently clean both ends of the tenon. When cleaning the footjoint (receptor) end, be sure to keep alcohol away from your D# pad on the inside. Wipe off any excess alcohol on the tenon with a clean cotton or microfiber cloth before reassembling your flute.
CAUTION: Never use any oil or grease (such as cork grease) on the tenon. If your footjoint is so loose that it is constantly falling off, see a repair technician to reset the connection.