How to keep flutes free of Covid

How to keep flutes free of Covid


norman lebrecht

December 17, 2021

The Hochschule für Musik Freiburg has invented a disinfecting cabinet for flutes and other woodwind instruments.

It is claimed to kill all viruses, including Covid-19.

The man promoting it is Stefan Temmingh, a South African recorder virtuoso. He says: ‘Cleaning flutes is incredibly time-consuming. You can disinfect them with alcohol or other cleansers, but immersion damages the wood. So we have a disinfection cabinet that comes with ultraviolet light … it is particularly useful for instruments that are shared by different students.’

Disinfection takes 25 minutes. The box is now on sale for 7,600 euros.




  • John Borstlap says:

    My fly on the wall tells me that the next stage of this development is the construction of a box that eliminates or neutralizes wrong notes on instruments. Before a concert, you put your instrument in the box for 15 minutes which will remove any wrong notes or false intonations for the next 2 hours.

  • NJTP says:

    I have a cheaper solution. Just leave it in the case for a week.

  • La plus belle voix says:

    Sorry, but why would students share woodwind instruments in the first place?

    • John Borstlap says:

      It’s the preparation stage for more personal entertainment.

    • Recorder player says:

      I can confirm as a conservatoire-trained recorder player that instruments were shared at times in order to give us all experience on instruments we may not necessarily own e.g. entire Renaissance consorts, larger-sized recorders (usually those larger than the bass), or if someone had an instrument that someone needed. For example, my professor lent me a voice flute for several weeks to prepare for a recital that called for it as I didn’t own my own.

      It’s really not that uncommon. Pretty sure every wind musician will do it eventually e.g. conservatoire bassoonists sharing contrabassoons.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    UV light certainly has disinfecting power, but it has to reach all the nooks and crannies where the virus might lodge, in order to be effective. Keyed instruments have plenty of hiding places; there has to be a way to hold the openings open and expose the seals to the UV to disinfect the instrument completely.

  • BobS says:

    If TüV certified please rush me two dozen.

  • Ultraviolet light is also damaging natural materials.