I know this is a stupid question, but I was wondering what to clean the flute with for the inside. I know the outside is cleaned with a polishing cloth, but what's the inside used with? Some websites said anything cloth you could find, but I didn't think that sounded correct. If you have any answers I'd love to find out. Thank you, have a great day!

4 Answers 4


I'd suggest a pull-through swab, since the stick Laurence mentioned has some disadvantages:

  • You have two parts to think of, cloth and stick
  • The stick, if handled incorrectly, may scratch the inside of the flute
  • An arbitrary piece of cloth might dry the body, but introduce more dust than it carries away.
  • Practically all woodwinds instrumentalists I know use a sort of micro-fiber cloth, which absorbs pretty good

A pull through flute swab or a cleaning rod with a lint-free cloth such as silk, micro-fiber or jersey material is fairly standard for cleaning. The cleaning rods usually have a cork depth marking on the end as well, for adjustment if necessary. A plastic rod is less likely to scratch the inside than a metal one.

There is another product called Pad Savers, which are stored inside the flute and are designed to keep moisture and dust away from the pads, keeping your pads lasting longer before replacement. Usually the instrument is swabbed out first, then the pad saver placed in the flute when putting away. I know some players that swab with the pad saver, then dry the saver with a cloth before re-inserting.


You may look into what's called a cleaning flag. You may see an example here.

Also, there are the "stick-and-cloth" combinations that have been previously referred to. A standard stick and a standard cloth might damage your instrument, so be sure to use both a stick and cloth made of a material that is not going to damage the inside of the body and the headjoint. An example of an effective swab made of the "stick-and-cloth" combination is here for the stick and here for the cloth.



A 'lint-free cleaning gauze' is recommended. In practice that usually means an old handerchief.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.