LFP 047 | What to do with a Stinky Flute

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LFP 047 | What to do with a Stinky Flute

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, you will learn what to do with a stinky flute including what you need to keep your flute smelling nice. 

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 047.


You’ll learn:

What this podcast will be all about

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • Does denatured alcohol help my flute?
  • How to keep your cleaning cloths clean
  • A testimonial from Myra
  • What you can look forward to learning from listening

Learn Flute Podcast 047

Press the Play Button to Listen Now:

Hello Hello you’re listening to Rebecca Fuller and the Learn Flute Online Podcast or the Learn Flute Podcast. This show is in conjunction with the Learn Flute Online lessons where I show-and-tell YOU everything you need to know about learning to play the flute. It’s flute lessons in ‘style’. This is episode forty seven, and today we’re going to answer a fun question involving a stinky flute. Stay tuned!

Hi there, it’s good to have you here today. Let’s learn something new, shall we? I was recently going through some comments and questions you awesome flute-learners have given me and I found a gem from a nice lady named Myra who says “I am so grateful that you have Learn Flute Online. I never would be where I am at this time without them (she’s talking about the online lessons in the membership area), and it really is fulfilling a lifelong dream.”

Aw, I love this so much. Myra, you are welcome- and thank you for sending this to me so that I could share with the other flute learners today. In fact, this comment reminds me of others just like her who have learning how to play the flute on their bucket list. It’s a super skill- and much like learning a whole new language, it is really good for your body and brain.

Well, let’s move on to the question of the day which comes from another online learner who asks me this,- This is from Leah, and she says, “ Hi, my flute head joint smells really weird. What should I do?”

Well… what should she do?

Oh dear. A stinky flute. There’s nothing worse. Well, never mind- there are worse things than a stinky flute I’m sure, haha but let’s explore what’s going on here.

What makes things smell, anyway? If I understand some basic science principles then I know that bad smells like in this situation come from bacteria, right?

I, myself have (on occasion) had a smelly head joint. And, I don’t like it. At all. I love opening my flute case and seeing my shiny flute and then feeling the anticipation of what the beauty will bring me this day- and then if I move it up to my mouth and unintentionally take a ‘whiff’ I gross out if it’s not just the smell of clean metal. I hope you understand this funny subject today. If you’ve never had a smelly head joint, then props to you!

If it ever does happen to me, then I immediately fix it with this quick and easy remedies:

First, I make sure that I examine my cleaning cloths. I have several because I’ve been playing the flute for so many years, and sometimes they get kind of scrody looking. I take them all and put them in the sink in the bathroom with a super small sprinkle of soap- laundry soap or dish soap- it doesn’t seem to matter. 

Both take care of the job. 

Then I use hot hot water and swishy swishy until I feel I’ve really done well. If my cloth is really the wrong color and it was supposed to be white then I’ll put a teensy bit of clorox in there with it and let it soak for a couple of minutes in the water. The next thing I do is rinse and squeeze like crazy. Laying the cloth out to air dry is the best so that it doesn’t collect any lint from any other cloths. Like if you put it in the dryer that would be bad for it.

Okay- that’s step one. The next thing I do is use something called denatured alcohol to take care of the inside of my flute. I may have talked about this before, but a subject like this can’t be talked about enough when it’s needed. I use one of my clean cloths and thread it through my cleaning rod. Then I wrap it around the rod once or twice until it’s going to fit nicely into my head joint. Then, I spray it with the denatured alcohol. I don’t drench it, I just spray it until it’s damp.

BTW this is the type of substance you should NOT be smelling, so keep your mouth and nose closed for the spraying part of this instruction.

I then rub the cloth inside my head joint over and over – respraying a couple of times until I’m positive whatever was living in there is fully dead. And then, I clean that cloth – so the next time I use it I’m not just re-introducing the bacteria to my flute.

And guess what? This works every time. My head joint stops being stinky and all is well again.

I’m sure that the smell comes from whatever was living in my saliva, which is why I always do try to have access to brushing my teeth and drinking pure water before I play the flute each day, but obviously sometimes it’s still possible to get bacterias into my flute. It’s okay- it hasn’t harmed anything so far, and I’ve been playing the flute since …well, for about  thirty three years now, so I think I’ve figured a few things out. Like this one.

Thanks so much for the question, Leah. I do appreciate your honesty! It’s not everyday that someone dares admit they have a smelly situation. Haha glad you asked so we could have this little conversation today.

If you’d like to get yourself some denatured alcohol, it’s found in all stores like Walmart or Home Depot down the aisle where the paint thinner would be. It’s cheap and lasts forever. Just don’t spill it on your piano bench. — ask me how I know that one..

Well, thanks again for joining us today. I hope you’ve already had time to come into the membership area for a lesson this week. I’m sure it’ll be totally worth it.

You’re awesome, and I appreciate you all for your willingness and teachability.

We’re all going to be quite the good flute players very soon!!

As always, leave your comments or questions here because I love to read them, get inside your head and help you all learn to the best of your abilities.

See you later!!


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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the flute and what to do with a stinky flute including what you need to keep your flute smelling nice. Join us for the next episode.

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

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