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CLeaning sterling silver flute with alcohol?

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amadeusfluter
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CLeaning sterling silver flute with alcohol?

Postby amadeusfluter » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:53 pm

I have very seaty hands that always leaves a residue on the body of my flute. Once and a while some marks don't come off with the polishing cloth, I tried vigorously to rub the finger print/ seat mark off, but I remains there. I was wondering it was safe to use alcohol on the body of a sterling silver flute?

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JButky
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Postby JButky » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:14 pm

It is safe to use it on the body, but it will not help the eventual tarnishing problem. If you can clean the sweat residue off before it begins to tarnish that will help it from forming.

Marks like this will usually tarnish over time. It is best to try and remove them before that happens.

If you have really sweaty hands (there is a name for the condition) it will be difficult to keep tarnish from forming. I've had a couple customers with this condition and it is difficult to stay ahead of tarnish.

Just remember to be very careful not to get any on the pads or mechanism.
Dampen a soft cloth with alcohol first, then apply.
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amadeusfluter
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Postby amadeusfluter » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:58 pm

I found that when my hands become very seaty,and i polish the flute with a polishing cloth the marks come off. I'm guessing because my sweat is soaking through the cloth and cleaning the flute, is this bad for the flute, because it would be similar to using water?

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JButky
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Postby JButky » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:17 am

You have to be careful with polishing cloths that have silver polish in them, or "silver polish cloths" You can work this into the mechanism if you are not careful and gum up your mechanism. Make sure that you are only near the area on the body tube you want to clean off.

You do not want to have sweat leaden silver polish though as you will be leaving the residual skin oil on the flute and it will return. Polishing cloths and all polishes are very mild abrasives that remove metal to create a shine. It is best to isolate removing the skin oils as best as possible first and then use the polish cloth sparingly to remove any marks where tarnish has already setup.

You might try googling sweaty hands, there is some information for dealing with this condition (hyperhidrosis).

I've had 2 customers with this condition and you will probably need more than usual maintenance just for cleaning and keeping the mechanism happy. In the worst case scenario, I had one customer that was just eating through the raised keycup finger rims. It looked like someone had buffed through the key tops with an abrasive compound.
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amadeusfluter
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Postby amadeusfluter » Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:47 am

The cloth i believe does not have any checmial in it; it is just the regular cloths that come with the flute when you buy it. So I have to clean the skin oil on my flute after every use? But most of the time after i use it the sweat mark kinda hardens, so the cloth just glides over and you can really rub it off unless you put some sort of liquid on it, so i use alcohol to clean it after every use. I heard that the alcohol can be abrasive, since it removes away almost everything on the flute's surface leaving defenseless to air borne pollutants and other stuff.
You have to be careful with polishing cloths that have silver polish in them, or "silver polish cloths" You can work this into the mechanism if you are not careful and gum up your mechanism. Make sure that you are only near the area on the body tube you want to clean off.

You do not want to have sweat leaden silver polish though as you will be leaving the residual skin oil on the flute and it will return. Polishing cloths and all polishes are very mild abrasives that remove metal to create a shine. It is best to isolate removing the skin oils as best as possible first and then use the polish cloth sparingly to remove any marks where tarnish has already setup.

You might try googling sweaty hands, there is some information for dealing with this condition (hyperhidrosis).

I've had 2 customers with this condition and you will probably need more than usual maintenance just for cleaning and keeping the mechanism happy. In the worst case scenario, I had one customer that was just eating through the raised keycup finger rims. It looked like someone had buffed through the key tops with an abrasive compound.

fluteguy18
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Postby fluteguy18 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:28 am

The alcohol is fine. It's the cloth you are using that you need to worry about. If the cloth turns black when you use it, that means it is infused with an abrasive silver polish. The black that you see on the cloth is the result of tiny silver particles being stripped from the flute.

amadeusfluter
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Postby amadeusfluter » Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:08 pm

I'm pretty sure it doesn't turn black. So alcohol won't erode the silver, is there some special alcohol that flute technicians use? I heard that flute technicians use a special type of alcohol that is like the raw form of the alcohol; or something like that is better than rubbing alcohol. is it true?

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Postby fluteguy18 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:45 am

It's called denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol contains water whereas denatured alcohol doesn't.

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Postby amadeusfluter » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:48 am

so denature alcohol is safer for silver flutes than rubbing alcohol, or is it basically the same thing ? Where do you think i could get some?

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Postby fluteguy18 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:05 am

It's not that it's safer, but rather that it won't leave water spots when it evaporates. I personally use rubbing alcohol myself, so I don't really know where to get the denatured kind...

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cflutist
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Postby cflutist » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:24 am

You can buy denatured alcohol at the hardware store ... in cans from one quart to one gallon.

My hubby uses it as fuel for his backpacking alcohol stoves.

Instructions on the can say "dilute one part denatured alcohol with 2 parts water to clean glass and piano keys".

I personally use 99% isopropyl alcohol (that I bought at the grocery store) to clean my flutes. I keep some in a small 1 oz bottle in my flute bag.

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woof
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Postby woof » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:59 pm

It's not that it's safer, but rather that it won't leave water spots when it evaporates. I personally use rubbing alcohol myself, so I don't really know where to get the denatured kind...
Actually denatured and rubbing alcohol are the same thing. ethanol that has methanol added so it can not be drunk. Or it can be isopropyl alcohol. In either case you can not drink it so it is called denatured. It depends on the purity of the alcohol in the case you are talking about. Rubbing alcohol sold in drug stores contains between 40 and 70% alcohol, the stuff you buy in hardware stores as a solvent is the same alcohol but is around, or it can be around 95% alcohol. Either alcohol should be OK for cleaning the flute just keep it off the pads. And any lubricating oils will be removed too.

coda22
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Postby coda22 » Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:37 am

I'm not sure about cleaning flutes, but have you tried anything to try and stop your hands sweating? Antiperspirants containing Aluminium Chloride work well (Driclor is the brand name in the UK, I don't know if there is something similar in the US). There are various other treatments which can be very effective so worth having a chat with your Doctor about this.

dyaxmas
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Postby dyaxmas » Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:12 am

I can vary by a couple of sizes make to make
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tink_732
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about your flute

Postby tink_732 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:44 pm

if it is tarnishing like mine is it still is not the best thing to do my flute was used so it was tarnished and when iasked my band directer what i should do about it he said don worrie about it not all these famoues musitions have shinie intoments and whon i told him that i was useing rubbing alchol on it to clean it he siad to only do that to the embosher not to the rest of it


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