How to Clean a Flute's Tarnished Exterior

by Cricket Webber

Flutes can be silver- or nickel-plated and with proper daily care, should not tarnish. If you have neglected your flute, you may find dull or discolored spots on the once shiny surface. After removing them, proper daily maintenance can keep it from tarnishing again. Clean your delicate flute carefully to avoid damaging the pads, keys or finish. The slightest bend in the keys can result in costly repairs for your flute.

Items you will need

  • Soft cloth
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Step 1

Wipe the outside of your flute lightly with a soft cloth until the tarnish fades. Do not put pressure on the rods or the keys because this can bend them.

Step 2

Remove fingerprints from the surface of your flute by gently buffing them with the soft polishing cloth. Sweat and acid from your skin can cause your flute to tarnish faster.

Step 3

Store your cleaning cloth outside of your flute case. Any moisture locked in your flute's case can encourage tarnish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Silver polish is not recommended for cleaning your flute. The harsh chemicals can damage both the finish on your flute as well as the pads.
  • Clean your flute each time you play it to ensure that tarnish does not form.

About the Author

Cricket Webber began writing for fun as a young adult and started writing professionally in 2010. She is based in the deep South. Webber specializes in articles on greener living. Her work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Converse College.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images