Best Cleaning Tools?

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Best Cleaning Tools?

Post by ninjanoman »

When it comes to cleaning my flute, I have previously been quite lax about it and neglected my student Trevor James quite a bit. I used a 'pipe-cleaner' style wand until that broke, and then moved onto an old hankie on the cleaning rod supplied with the flute, occasionally cleaning it out (terrible, I know!). However, due to the requirements for the higher grades, I recently purchased a solid silver tube Intermediate Di Zhiao flute and am VERY attached to it, so polish and clean it after every use.

I have suddenly realised that I am not sure whether or not there are better cleaning products available. I use a Trevor James Flute silver polishing cloth and either a cotton hankerchief or muslin cloth on the cleaning rod supplied. Are there any specialist cloths available?

If anyone could help with this it would be brilliant,

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Re: Best Cleaning Tools?

Post by pied_piper »

There are several good flute swabs you can consider. DO NOT use the "pipe cleaner" style. That just holds the moisture next to the pads and causes premature deterioration of the pads. Always store the swab OUTSIDE of the case away from the flute. The moisture can also cause mold or mildew inside your flute. If you have a case cover with an outer zipper compartment, store the damp swab there.

IMO, here are the options you should consider. All are safe for intermediate/pro flutes.
Low price: plain gauze swab
Med price: Silk swab ... -SFS-.html
High price: Flute Flag ... TDFF-.html

The silk swab works a bit better than the gauze type, but both do a good job on the flute body. The Flute Flag is the ultimate swab. The square end does a better job of removing moisture from the headjoint near the cork.

I use a silk swab on my Muramatsu flute and piccolo flag for my picc...
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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Re: Best Cleaning Tools?

Post by fluteguy18 »

I agree with PP entirely. I only want to add that for cleaning the exterior, it's important to use an untreated cloth. Many polishing cloths have an abrasive additive that polishes by removing a fine layer of metal. That's why they turn black as you use them. Most flutes (even solid silver ones) are also plated so that the solder lines along ribs, rings, and toneholes match the color of the silver. Sometimes that plating is on top of a copper 'strike' which gives the plating a uniform appearance. Eventually these treated cloths eat through this plating and expose the metal underneath.

Something like ultra-suede or microfibre would be ideal.

an example:

The point of polishing the exterior is not to actually polish, but to remove skin oils from the metal's surface. So in fact you are merely cleaning it. Polishing is a process of gradually removing material to remove scratches, and should be left to your technician.

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Re: Best Cleaning Tools?

Post by dddiam »

I do not like short cleaning rods. I want to be able to clean my flute during a gig or concert without breaking it down. So I like a full-length flute cleaner.

One person in this thread mentioned the "Take-Down Flute Flag", which is $40 and getting harder to find. I have one and, unscrewed, it fits most brief cases.

Another full-length flute cleaner is the Floozi. It is around $20, and it is the diameter of a flute's interior with its softness and cleaning surface running its full length (unlike the Flute Flag which has an integrated swab only at its end). You can see the Floozi Flute Cleaner at This is my preferred flute cleaner. It is flexible, and can be bent to fit any type of bag. It also does not produce the scratchy feel of the Flute Flag's plastic rod against the end of the foot joint.

The Floozi is available in either flannel or in micro-fiber. I actually prefer the flannel for cleaning my flute. I wrote to the manufacturer who told me that the flannel version is a little less snug than the micro-fiber, and I do not want to chance polishing the gold-plated interior of my head joint. I just want to dry it.

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Re: Best Cleaning Tools?

Post by blowtorch711 »

Not available. Do they make them to order?

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Re: Best Cleaning Tools?

Post by SylvreKat »

Offshoot question--what's best for swabbing out a bass flute?

I have a tenor sax silk drop, which seems to do fine for the body. But it's not thick enough to reach all sides of the U-curve and leaves the outer edge damp still.

My tenor friend has a thicker pull-through that's rather like a shammy. But I'm' concerned this might be TOO thick for the curve. Although it does fit through the narrowess of her tenor's neck....

What have anyone here found that works for drying the U-curve?

Flutes:1975 Gemeinhardt M2 in chrome nickel;1982 Armstrong 80;2006 Yamaha 584

Piccs:1978 Artley piece of crap 15 P;1982 Gemeinhardt 4S;1980s? Armstrong all wood (no model)

Bass:2006 Jupiter di Medici G0199
Treble:2009 Guo New Voice

+ many flute-cousins

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Re: Best Cleaning Tools?

Post by Gandalfe »

Fabricate your own from materials locally available at fabric stores. Just sayin' ...
Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra ~ Quinn the Eskimo Vintage Horns
I played the wrong, wrong notes. ~ Thelonious Monk

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