How To Clean Piano Keys

how to clean piano keys

You probably love your piano, so you don’t want to let the keys get too dirty – right? As long as your piano keys aren’t terribly stained, you shouldn’t need a professional cleaner. Over time, a piano can get exposed to all sorts of contaminants.

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When your fingers hit the keys, they can transfer oil and dirt onto the keys. It’s likely that your piano has unwillingly joined you during a few dinner sessions as well, so many of the keys might have food crumbs under them.

When you think about it, rotting food crumbs under the keys probably doesn’t sound too appealing. The good news is that we’re going to teach you how to clean piano keys, so you can clean both plastic and ivory varieties.

Clean Ivory Piano Keys

Ivory is a great material for a piano, but there are some strict rules that you must follow when cleaning it. For starters, make sure to never immerse the piano keys in water. You must also never scrub the keys with a scouring pad or brush.

You should also avoid using any type of chemical because it can damage the surface of ivory keys. Although you might’ve heard otherwise, you should never spray them with furniture polish. Many piano owners have tried this and had to pay the price.

You should avoid using air fresheners around your piano keys. In most cases, the best way to clean ivory is to gently wipe it with a soft cloth. If you’re dealing with some stubborn fingerprints or marks, you can use a mild toothpaste but make sure that it’s not colored.

When you’re actually cleaning the keys, make sure that you never scrub them. For the best results, just rub the keys gently.

On sunny days, you should leave the piano open, so the keys will stay bleached and beautiful. If the keys on your piano are severely discolored and yellow, you’ll need to have a professional scrape and recover their former luster.

Clean Plastic Piano Keys

Many modern pianos are made with plastic keys because plastic can be very cheap. If you’re going to clean keys made from plastic, make sure that you NEVER use chemicals. Keep your piano closed most of the time because the keys will become discolored.

Furniture polish should not be used on the keys because it’s too harsh. To clean piano keys made of plastic, just wipe them down occasionally with some warm water and vinegar. You can use a chamois leather and perform some buffing for additional shine.

Disinfecting Piano Keys

There will come a time when you wish to disinfect the keys.  During the flu season, this is a very important part of regular maintenance. To accomplish this task, you should never use commercial spray disinfectants because they’ll destroy the texture and damage the keys.

The best solution that you can use to disinfect the keys can be made with one part white vinegar with three parts filtered water. You can use a very soft cloth to apply the disinfectant. When cleaning, you should never allow water to get between the keys.

Make sure to always apply the cleaning solution directly to the cloth and use the cloth to apply it to the keys. As long as you don’t overdo it, you shouldn’t have to worry about the solution seeping between the keys.