The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation have teamed up to give you some helpful tips for cleaning and sanitizing musical instruments. Of course, we have comprehensive cleaning guides for every instrument on our website that you can find here, but during the time of COVID-19, we all have extra cleaning and precautions on our mind. Below are some helpful tips to give you peace of mind and make sure your or your student’s instrument stays clean and safe to play. 

The flute headjoint can be easily sanitized with an isopropyl alcohol-soaked pad. Simply wipe the lip plate, headjoint exterior, and inside edge of the lip plate opening, making sure that the pad is not too wet. Never submerge the headjoint in water–there is a cork in the top of the headjoint that will get damaged if introduced to too much moisture. After wiping with alcohol, wipe off excess moisture with a polishing cloth.

Cleaning the body of a flute is a delicate balancing act of making sure that too much moisture does not get introduced to the instrument, particularly because the key pads are very sensitive to moisture and will be ruined with excess exposure to water. Again, an isopropyl alcohol pad can be used, taking great care that it is not too wet. Gently run the pad over the top of the keys only, avoiding the sides and underneath the keys. Wipe with a dry polishing cloth immediately after.

We currently do not recommend that students share instruments or come into contact with an instrument that another student has played, due to enhanced safety precautions and the risk for the spread of COVID-19. If you suspect that an instrument has come into contact with another student, or if you have concerns about when it was used last, simply leave the instrument in its case for 3 days, as it is believed that the virus lives for approximately that long on hard surfaces. After this “quarantine” period, simply take out the instrument, disinfect using the above methods, and use as normal.