Flute Care and Maintenance Tips


The flute is a delicate instrument made of precious metals with many small and fragile key mechanisms. Proper care and maintenance will help keep your flute in good working condition. Special thanks to music educator and flutist Melissa Reichert for sharing these flute care and maintenance tips.

  1. Always swab your flute out after playing.  As a flute is played, condensation builds up inside the instrument. To prevent the condensation from accumulating on the pads, swab your flute out after every time you play.
  2. To polish your flute, use a microfiber cloth. By handling the flute, our fingerprints and oils rub off on the flute’s exterior. To remove these, gently wipe the flute down with a microfiber cloth, sold in most music stores. Do not use household silver polish.
  3. Handle your flute with care. Flutes are very delicate instruments made of soft precious metals that scratch, dent and bend easily. Never grip any moving mechanisms of the flute, and take care not to hit a flute against anything such as a music stand.
  4. Sticky pads? If you begin hearing a suctioning sound, coming from your pads, you can purchase Pad Paper from most music stores to remove the excess residue that may have accumulated.
  5. Avoid tarnish by inserting an anti-tarnish strip. As with many precious metals, flutes will begin to show tarnish over time; by adding an anti-tarnish strip to your flute case you can help keep your flute extra clean for up to 6 months!
  6. Never leave your flute in a hot or cold car. Flute pads and mechanisms are very sensitive to extreme changes in temperature. When in doubt, carry it with you.
  7. Flutes do require regular maintenance by a professional flute technician. All flutes, new and old, will require a clean, oil and adjust (COA) every 6-12 months from a professional flute technician. By taking good care and maintenance of your flute you will extend the time period in which your flute may need this procedure.

For information about music lessons at the Altadena Academy of Music, please call    (626) 296-0799 or use our email contact form.

How to Care for Your String Instrument

Special thanks to our friends at Old Town Music Company in Pasadena for sharing the following string instrument care and maintenance tips.

Bow:  Always release your bow hair when you put your instrument away after playing.  This prevents breakage and stretching of the hair.

Please use your bow to play your instrument only! It isn’t a sword or a page turner.  It is very delicate, especially at the tip, and cracks very easily if knocked against a hard surface.  The next step after a crack is a complete break.

Rosin:  Too much rosin causes a mess!  Don’t overdo it. Otherwise it builds up under the bridge and takes a long time and a lot of effort to clean. Clean it every day.

Your Violin, Viola or Cello:  Keep your instrument clean by dusting it after each practice session to remove the rosin dust.

Please don’t drop you instrument!  It can easily be cracked, especially near the holes shaped like scrolls: The F holes.  Play your instrument every day; it sounds better and better with lots of use.

Strings:  Strings do wear out.  They begin to sounds dead and of course they can break.  Changing the strings is a normal event in the life of a string player and is not terribly expensive.  Be prepared and have an extra top string on hand.