Spink Comhaltas

From the blog

Taking care of your flute

Flute Maintenance – Taking Care of your Flute

Taking care of a wooden concert flute is very important as it will mean that the flute will produce a better sound and last longer. Below are some tips on how to look after your flute.

  • The flute must be kept clean on both the inside and outside.  A rod with a cloth attached should be used to clean the inside of the flute.  The cloth used to clean the flute should be a very absorbent material, (cotton or silk). To achieve a proper clean, put the rod & cloth through the flute a few times to ensure all the dirt has been removed. This should be done after every time the flute is played to avoid the accumulation of moisture.
  • It’s very important that you never clean your flute under water, water can really damage the flute and pads and can lead to long term damage.
  • The flute should be kept at room temperature as much as possible and extreme heat or cold should be avoided. Very dry conditions should be avoided and the flute should not be placed in direct sunlight or near a source of heat as this may affect the wood.
  • Once a month, the bore of the flute should be lightly oiled using bore or almond oil.
  • Use cork grease on the joints at least twice a week or whenever the flute becomes “sticky to assemble”.
  • When not in use, the flute should be disassembled to avoid pressure on the joints.
  • Cotton wool buds are excellent for cleaning the embouchure and tone holes.
  • A new flute will take time to play in – short practice sessions in the early weeks of a new flute are advisable before undertaking longer sessions. Eventually the tone of the flute will begin to settle and the flute will become easier to play over time.
  • To check the flute pads, press down a key & if the sound is similar to a hiss, then you may have sticky pads. Sticky pads can also be identified if some keys have a delayed action or don’t produce a quality sound. Flute pads are highly sensitive & need to be handled with utmost care. To clean the pads, use pad papers. Place the pad paper in between the pad & tone hole. Then push down the key & then lift the key up, remove the paper. Please note, you should never try to slide the paper out when the keys are still closed, if you do this it can scratch the pad.

Here are some other websites to check out further information on taking care of a wooden Irish flute. If there is a serious issue with a flute, send it to a reputable maker for an assessment or a repair.


David Vesey