Bansuri Maintenance

Bansuris (Indian bamboo flutes), unlike Western silver flutes, do not need any specific maintenance. The best care is playing them regularly and keeping them in a relatively moist climate. E.g. it is unnecessary to wipe the inside after playing.

However, if the bamboo gets too dry or is exposed to abrupt changes in temperature, it might crack. Therefore never keep a bansuri in a hot dry place (e.g. a car in the summer) for any length of time. If that has happened by accident (and the instrument has yet survived it...) it is important to start playing the bansuri again very carefully - otherwise the inside might swell due to its sudden exposure to the moisture of the breath and thus cause the bamboo to crack.

If the bamboo is very cold and then you blow warm air into it, the bamboo will expand inside and may crack. Make sure you always allow your bansuri to adjust to room temperature before playing when it has been in a cold place for some time. At least  try warming it with your hands, if you don't have enough time to allow the bamboo to adjust. Avoid playing at temperatures lower than 15 degrees Celsius.

Some bansuri players treat the inside of their bansuris with oil in order to protect the flute and make it last longer. Some say that that oil smoothens the inner surface and thus creates a slightly clearer sound. The oil has to be very fluid and free from resin, e.g. mustard oil, almond oil or walnut oil. Slightly warm the oil to approx. body temperature, apply it to the inside of the bansuri and let it soak for about 30 minutes. You should use a wooden dow and tie a loose piece of cloth to the top - tie it well or it will get stuck inside the flute. Also, you should not have to force the cloth inside the flute, the cloth should be loose enough so that it slides in easily, touching the sides of the bamboo interior. The cloth should not be dripping with oil, but lightly coated so that the inside of the flute becomes lightly coated with oil. Oil your flute up just before the blow hole. Do not touch the cork - if the cork is moved, this will alter the pitch. Never oil a wet bansuri, for example after having played it. Make sure that the bamboo is dry before oiling it.

Some players say that you should oil your flute once when you first get it and then never again. Other players say that you should oil the flute several times per year. However, oiling is not a must - opinions vary a lot, and some flute players even swear that it is best not to use any oil. Your decision may be based on the climate where you live. In a very dry climate oiling might be more helpful than in a humid one.

After playing your flute for some time, mold might grow inside the flute around where you blow into it. If this happens, it means that bacteria has formed and you will be breathing that in when playing. To remove the mould, some players simply use a small amount of anti bacterial soap sometimes mixed with water depending on its strength and then using a dow with a piece of cloth attached, they wipe off the mold. Ensure that whatever soap you use, it does not contain any type of liquids that may damage the bamboo. Other players use just a cloth to try to wipe off the mold.