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Flute Cleaning Kit

If you’re looking to play the flute, you need a good instrument. But you should also purchase a cleaning kit to maintain your flute at home.

Read on to learn more about these kits and what they should and shouldn’t include.

What Is a Flute Cleaning Kit?

A flute cleaning kit is a collection of accessories that help you care for your flute. It usually comes with cleaning cloths, pad paper, and other essentials.

You won’t get a flute cleaning rod, though. Most flutes come with a rod, so you can use the one that’s already in your case. If you lose yours, you can buy a new one.


Best Flute Cleaning Kits

If you want to start playing the flute, you should get a flute cleaning kit. That way, you don’t have to worry about what supplies you’ll need.

Here are a few flute cleaning kits I recommend.

Yamaha Flute Maintenance Kit

The Yamaha Flute Maintenance Kit is an excellent choice. It comes with a plain polishing cloth, a silver polishing cloth, and polishing gauze. These cloths are great for the outside of your flute, but you may need a swab for the inside.

You’ll also receive pad paper, tone hole cleaners, and a manual. I haven’t used tone hole cleaners, so I don’t think those are necessary. However, the pad paper is useful if your keys ever start sticking because you can blot the pads with the paper.

Yamaha Flute Maintenance Kit

Yamaha Flute Maintenance Kit
  • Includes a plain polishing cloth, a silver polishing cloth, and polishing gauze
  • Great for cleaning the outside part
  • Useful pad paper also included

Giardinelli Flute Care Kit

Another option is the Giardinelli Flute Care Kit, which includes a polishing cloth, swab, pad paper, and a double-end swab. It would be hard to use the double-end swab, so I’d stick to the cloth.

There’s also a flute thumb positioner to help you remember where to place your right thumb. While it’s not a maintenance product, it can help you play more comfortably.

Giardinelli Flute Care Kit

Giardinelli Flute Cleaning Kit
  • Includes a polishing cloth, swab, pad paper, and a double-end swab
  • A flute thumb positioner is also included

Giardinelli Flute Starter Pack

Giardinelli also has a Flute Starter Pack, which comes with most of the same accessories. However, you’ll also get a music stand and a microfiber pad dryer. The pad dryer can help you further blot sticky pads.

You’ll even receive a luggage tag to place on your flute case, and there’s a bag to store all of your gear. That way, you don’t have to stuff the cleaning cloths in your flute case.

Giardinelli Flute Starter Pack

a Giardinelli Flute Starter Pack
  • Similar accessories to the Giardinelli Care Kit
  • But also includes a music stand and a microfiber pad dryer

What to Look for in a Flute Cleaning Kit

When you buy a flute cleaning kit, you should look for a few things.

  • I’d recommend at least getting one or two swabbing and polishing cloths. Other swabs are nice, but you don’t need them to care for your flute.
A flute swab (dark purple with blue accents)
A flute swab
  • Another essential is pad paper or a pad dryer. I’ve dealt with sticky pads too many times, and they’re annoying but easy to fix. Of course, you should also compare the price to the number of items you receive.
A pad drying paper
A pad drying paper

The cheapest kit may not be the best if it only includes a few items. You can spend a bit more and get tons of accessories.


What to Avoid When Buying a Flute Cleaning Kit

I looked at a few cleaning kits online that I wouldn’t recommend.

Many of those kits include items that are either unnecessary or downright dangerous. Multiple kits contain cork grease, which is great if you have a piccolo with a cork on the body.

However, flutes today don’t have corks that you need to grease on. Using grease on the metal tenons can cause your flute to collect dust and make it hard to assemble or disassemble.

Some kits even include valve oil, which is great for brass players. Flute players don’t need valve oil, and you shouldn’t use it on the mechanism since you could damage your instrument.

Finally, I saw a lot of flute cleaning kits with pad guards or pad savers. These are wands with fluffy material that’s supposed to collect moisture. However, many people leave them in their flutes, and the fluff can come off and get into the mechanism, causing it not to work.


Benefits of Flute Cleaning Kits

As long as you buy the right flute cleaning kit, you can benefit from it. Even as you advance, you can continue to use the supplies to keep your instrument in good shape.

Here are a few advantages of using a flute cleaning kit.

Multiple Accessories

The best cleaning kits come with at least a few items. You don’t have to spend time researching what accessories you need to purchase for your flute.

Instead, you can buy the stuff you need, and you may even get a storage bag. While you can buy the items separately, some might be hard to find, or your store might not have what you need.

Good for Beginners

The items you find in a cleaning kit are perfect for flute beginners. I’ve used other cleaning supplies that you won’t find in care kits. However, I didn’t start using those things until I’d been playing for a year or two.

There are so many flute cleaning supplies that it can be overwhelming. Buying a kit can keep you from stressing about what to buy for your new instrument.

Affordable

Flute cleaning kits are also pretty affordable, and they may cost less than buying the included items individually. Just one flute polishing cloth is about two-thirds the price of a flute care kit.

an exterior polishing cloth (white background with purple accents)
An exterior polishing cloth (white background with purple accents)

When you first start playing the flute, you’re already spending a lot on the instrument. I think it’s important to get some accessories. However, I don’t believe you need to spend a ton of money on those things right now.


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Risks of a Flute Cleaning Kit

Unfortunately, buying a ready-made flute cleaning kit isn’t perfect. Before you buy one, consider what the kit will include.

While not all kits have the following drawbacks, some do. Keep that in mind before you choose a kit, and don’t be afraid to ask a flute teacher for help choosing one.

Waste of Materials

A lot of the flute cleaning kits you’ll find have stuff you won’t use. That means you’ll be wasting those materials and a bit of money.

In some cases, it’s better to buy what you need separately. I’d buy an exterior cloth, interior cloth, and pad paper. If a care kit has a lot of extras, you might not want to spend your money on that stuff.

Dangerous Supplies

Speaking of materials, some aren’t that useful but also aren’t a problem. However, other common care kit items are dangerous for your flute.

I already mentioned that you shouldn’t use cork grease on a metal flute. However, you don’t need to use a brush to clean out the mechanism or the tone holes. If you think those parts are dirty, take your flute to a professional to have them clean it.


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FAQs

Before you buy a flute cleaning kit, you may have a few questions. Here’s what you should know about flute maintenance.

What do you use to clean a flute?

You should use a cotton, silk, or bamboo swabbing cloth with your flute rod to clean the inside. For the outside, use a polishing cloth or microfiber cloth. Don’t use liquid to polish or clean your flute unless you have professional training.

How do you clean and shine a flute?

You can use something like a Blitz cloth to get some dirt and grime off your flute. However, you should take your instrument to a flute technician for more serious care and cleaning. They have the necessary skills and tools to remove tarnish and dirt safely.

Can you use isopropyl alcohol to clean a flute?

I’d only use isopropyl alcohol on the lip plate of your flute if you need to share it with another player. Don’t use alcohol on the body because it can get onto the pads and damage them.


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Will You Use a Flute Cleaning Kit?

A flute cleaning kit can be a helpful tool for beginners to care for their instruments. You’ll get everything you need to keep your flute in good shape. But make sure you avoid kits with unnecessary or dangerous accessories so that you don’t ruin your instrument.

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Hannah Haefele

Hannah Haefele is a flutist and blog writer. She runs Hannah B Flute, a blog and digital sheet music shop for flute players and teachers. Hannah was chosen to participate in a mass premiere of Oxygen by Julia Wolfe at the 2022 National Flute Association (NFA) Convention in Chicago. She earned her masters of music in flute performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in December 2020 under the tutelage of Dr. Christine Erlander Beard. While at UNO, Hannah served as the third flute and piccolo player of the Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra In addition to writing and composing, she regularly performs with the Lenexa Community Orchestra and the Kansas City Flute Choir.

Flute Cleaning Kits guide