Keeping the inside of a flute is easy, but the outside? I've read the answers here about rubbing down with a cloth to clean the residue left from handling, but, having not played mine for several months, found that it had tarnished badly, just from the atmosphere in the room, I guess. Just a thought - could it be covered using a cloth which fits over it..?

Cleaning the clear parts is no problem, but getting into the nooks and crannies without causing damage is daunting. And painstaking with a cloth.

Have any flautists (fluters, U.S.) found a way to stop their flutes tarnishing? I am considering spraying with clear lacquer, but am reticent to do this as it may well wreck the mechanisms, etc.

  • I assume, here refers to a question like this?
    – guidot
    Jan 8 at 14:47
  • @guidot - yes. There are more deleted answers than kept ones 'here'! But I'm looking for prevention rather than cure!
    – Tim
    Jan 8 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


Silver will tarnish with time. About the only way to delay a silver instrument tarnishing is to dry any surface moisture and put it away in its case immediately after use. An instrument left out for a long time will tarnish badly.

Tarnish doesn't affect the sound of the instrument. Normally when the instrument is dismantled for an overhaul the tube will be thoroughly polished.


In addition to @PiedPiper's recommendations, you should store your flute in its case together with an anti-tarnish strip, which should be changed out every 6 months. Don't use lacquer or silver polish!

A flute mechanic can remove tarnish and clean all the nooks and crannies when you go in for a COA (which should be done annually if you play regularly).

  • Storing in its case is always an option, but, just like my guitars, basses, keys and drums, if they were not available (in the studio, along with others) for immediate playing, they wouldn't get used as often as they should, or usually do. My wife has just made a slip-over cover which I'll report back on in a few months hoping it will keep away the oxidation - and very simple to render the flute ready-to-play.
    – Tim
    Jan 10 at 10:11
  • @Tim Are you storing your flute out in the open right now!?
    – DanDan面
    Jan 10 at 17:04
  • No, it's in its specially made pouch. Will take several months to find out if that's the magical answer.
    – Tim
    Jan 10 at 17:16

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