In this question it was asked how to clean the inside of a flute. The answers include different tools, all of them basically a stick with a piece of cloth, ranging from an 8$ stick to a 25$ stick.

Pipes (for smoking) and flutes have several things in common:

  • They are slim and tubular.
  • Many pipes and flutes are made out of wood.
  • Both can be very expensive and need to be cleaned.
  • Pipes and flutes become wet inside: the flute is wet from saliva and breath moisture; the pipe is wet from condensation when it cools down.

Pipe cleaners are sold as cheap as 4.77$ (132 pieces). They are long enough to be used to clean flutes as well.

Is it advisable to use (soft) pipe cleaners to clean the inside of a flute?

  • 2
    Overlaps with this question. Short answer: No, the wire in the middle is more than likely to scratch the polished surface. In case of emergency you may use it, but take card of bending, so the rough wire end does not get in touch. A reusable swab is surely cheaper in the long end and transports less dust into the instrument.
    – guidot
    Oct 10, 2017 at 9:38
  • I wouldn't, they probably leave lint. I mean, it's not like you worry about leaving lint behind in a pip: you burn the damn thing. If you're worried about the money just get one of these, they already ahve a stick attached IIRC amazon.co.uk/Trevor-James-Flute-Gauze-Through/dp/B006UUDH68/…
    – Some_Guy
    Oct 10, 2017 at 9:39
  • 1
    I mean christ, just chop a strip off an old T-shirt and poke it through with a chopstick if you really don't want to spend 5 quid on a flute cleaning rod
    – Some_Guy
    Oct 10, 2017 at 9:40
  • 1
    Don't try to make music thru a pipe, and don't smoke thru a flute. Oct 10, 2017 at 11:33
  • @Some_Guy It was a hypothecical question: I do neither own a flute nor a pipe.
    – Philipp
    Oct 10, 2017 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


No. It would be very inefficient. Use a cleaning rod, bought or improvised, with a piece of cloth, typically an old handerchief.

  • 1
    you can gently use an all cotton pipe cleaner (the correct type is sold by instrument repair tool manufacturers) to clean around the keys and rods, although you have to be careful to not mar the pads. Pipe cleaners that are made for cleaning actual pipes often have abrasive plastic embedded in the wire to to help scrub the pipe, and are unsuitable for cleaning polished or plated metal. Crafting "pipe cleaners" used for children's crafts are also unsuitable. Oct 10, 2017 at 18:27

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.