Flute & Piccolo Hygiene

ASTUTE ROUTINES for a FLUTE'S HYGIENE
Properly cleaning one's flute has rapidly become a critical topic in our shop, in online flute forums, and in practically every email we receive. We thought we would share the best methods for keeping your instrument hygienic. There are a few obvious guidelines right from the outset:

1.   Don't share your instrument with anyone! (And if you do, follow the General Cleaning instructions both before and after.)
2.   Don't leave your instrument sitting out. Put it back in its case when you're done playing!
3.   Clean! If you have had a cold or cough in recent weeks (or feel one coming on), clean not only your flute, but also the case, the gig bag, the metronome, the music stand, your cleaning tools.... anything that might have picked up the germs you never want to meet again.

GENERAL CLEANING
1.   Wash your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap before playing your instrument.
2.   Before playing, wipe or spray your headjoint with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. When you've been at Flutacious!, you've seen us spraying this on headjoints with a small spray bottle before lightly drying the headjoint with those soft microfiber polishing cloths that come with all new instruments. Now you get to do the same at home! NOTE! For flute headjoints, alcohol wipes are just as effective as alcohol spray, but for piccolos, we recommend a non-alcohol product such as HandClens to clean the wooden piccolo headjoint!
3. Wipe down the keys (gently!) with your microfiber polishing cloth both before and after playing your flute. This is a good routine in any case, as it helps minimize residue buildup. However, be careful to rub just the keys and not the pads!

MORE DETAILED CLEANING WE DO AT THE SHOP! 
1.  After cleaning the exterior of the headjoint, we then use a special cleaning tool to thoroughly disinfect the headjoint's inside as well. You can do this at home! As long as the headjoint cork is not mauled or pushed, many at-home improvisations will work. 
2.   As for the inside of the flute itself, it gets... trickier. At the shop we use special tools for this as well, and clean each key with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. This has to be done without interfering with either the oil in the mechanisms OR the pads. Again, when you've been at Flutacious!, you've seen us do this with gloves on to prevent any of our body's oils from getting into the pads or mechanisms.

FLUTE PARAPHERNALIA
1.  Wash your flute and piccolo flags! 
2.   Wash your flute and piccolo wands! And also your polishing cloths, gauze cloths and handkerchiefs, especially the ones that have been stranded in the case since 2010.... 
3.   Although this is something every one of us does, thinking we shouldn't but it's just so much easier, never store any cleaning product or stick inside the instrument!! This essentially creates a science experiment, which in 2020 is probably the last thing an instrument or a player needs.

Play well! And stay well! Ask any questions you like.
We'll close with a quote from the always astute Thomas Carlyle:

"He who has health has hope,
And he who has hope has everything."

~Thomas Carlyle

 

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