Flute Care Cleaning Germs

Okay, this is kind of a funny subject I know.  But, have you ever wondered how many gross germs are sitting on your lip plate?

I’m not sure if I’m a germaphobe, but my gut instinct says that every once-in-a-while I should wipe those germs with something other than a flute rag. Clean your flute with flute care cleaning germs.

Many years ago I asked a wonderful flute technician here in Utah what he recommends, and he told me to use something called “Denatured Alcohol”.  I’ve been using it ever since.  It’s kind of like rubbing alcohol but has only 30% water in it in contrast to rubbing alcohol which is 70% water.

Flute Care Denatured Alcohol

Clean your flute with flute care cleaning germs.

Denatured alcohol comes in a metal can like a paint-thinner can from a hardware store.  Its contents are flammable and poisonous just like any substance of this nature.  On the container it lists that denatured alcohol can be used to polish fine metals.  It does a wonderful job on our flutes!

This being said, I’ll give you a few directions and some warnings.

1. Use the alcohol on the cloth and then rub onto the flute.  Do not pour or spray it directly on the flute.

2. I put it in a small spray bottle (not a re-used bottle from hairspray, don’t be tempted), spray it on my cloth and wipe away.

3. Do not touch the flute pads with this stuff.  Only use it to wipe the silver outside.  It’ll shine up very pretty and those fingerprints will disappear as well.

4. Do not smell/sniff/inhale  this stuff.  (bad for the body)  Enough said?

5.  Keep out of reach of young children.

6.  Do not accidently spill on your piano bench.  I did this.  The results were not good.  The lacquer came right off and it looks pretty bad now.

Happy flute cleaning day!

Questions? Leave a comment below.

Rebecca Fuller Flute TeacherRebecca Fuller



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  • Claire Beverley

    Reply Reply May 16, 2012

    Is it safe to play the flute straight after cleaning it with this? 🙂

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply May 16, 2012

      Yes Claire, it is safe. The alcohol evaporates immediately. Good question. 🙂

  • Sopha Robledo

    Reply Reply April 7, 2014

    I bought a used flute for only $23.00. I used this stuff to clean it. wow, it is really shiny. Thank you, Rebecca, for the tip.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply April 8, 2014

      Glad I could be of help, Sopha. $23 is amazing for sure! Hope it plays well for you. 🙂 Rebecca

  • Clarebugg

    Reply Reply October 30, 2015

    great! also, under the lip plate of my flute is some gunk, and I was wondering if you have any suggestions. thanks!

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply November 1, 2015

      Use denatured alcohol to get that ‘gunk’. It’s really good stuff! ~Rebecca

  • Bonnie Stevenson

    Reply Reply November 19, 2016

    Would alcohol pads okay or not?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply November 26, 2016

      The little individually wrapped alcohol wipes are good to use when in a pinch, yes. I once heard from a scientist that they only give the germs a ‘bath’ though. haha, I’m not sure if that’s true. I like to think that the flute is ‘rid’ of all germs after wiping it down. .. ~Rebecca

  • Nica

    Reply Reply April 25, 2017

    Can you buy it at supermarkets or hardware shops?

  • Anna Allen

    Reply Reply July 4, 2017

    Hi Rebecca
    Where can I get ‘denatured alcohol’ from..can I find it in the supermarkets or hardware stores?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply July 7, 2017

      Hi Anna, yes I always find it in the departments where paint and paint thinner are sold. It’s easy to find in hardware stores like Home Depot.. also carried at WalMart-type stores.

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