Use a piece of soft cloth in order to wipe clean the flute. Make sure that the cloth you use is absorbent and will not become the cause of starching the instrument. Both these specialities are found in a microfiber or cotton cleaning cloth which can be bought at a music store.
Lightly dip a cotton swab or cotton pipe cleaner in denatured alcohol. Be sure to squeeze out excess alcohol by pressing the cotton swab in between your thumb and index finger. Cleanse the flute around the tone holes and keys. If you are cleaning an open-hole flute, be sure to clean open keycup holes as well as the flute’s embouchure riser.
Use square or round shaped wooden toothpicks to get rid of grime accumulated on the flute’s tone holes, crevices and rings. For cleansing the connecting points of the flute, use a facial tissue moistened with denatured alcohol. Remember to clean flute parts such as footjoint tenon, barrel and headjoint tenon. Furthermore, you will need to clean inside parts of the footjoint as well as the barrel.
Permeate a soft cloth with a polishing agent and use it to remove the tarnish. It would be wise not to use a red polishing cloth because these cloths often leave a residue on the object being cleaned.
Use high quality polish in order to shine the flute’s headjoint. To restore the flute’s shine, be sure to buff the flute with a clean piece of cotton cloth.