We’ve all been guilty at some point of forgetting to clean our instrument after playing or running out of a rehearsal really fast. Whilst forgivable on rare occasions, everyday cleaning should be a habit of your packing up routine.
Proper maintenance of your instrument is crucial to keeping it in perfect playing condition, extending the time between services, and preventing potential health hazards from building up (see Bagpipe Lung!). It is important to have the right tools for cleaning all parts of your instrument and to let the instrument dry out.
Flautists should use an absorbent gauze cloth threaded through the hole in the cleaning rod and swab through all joints. For Clarinet, Oboe and Soprano/Alto/Tenor Saxophones you should use the appropriate size swab (incorrect sizes may get stuck in your instrument, requiring a repairer to remove them) and should pull it gently through the instrument a few times to clear the excess moisture. Cloths should then be left to dry in an external pocket, away from the instrument.