How To Clean Piano Keys

Here is how to clean piano keys. Keeping piano keys clean is essential for maintaining the instrument’s appearance and preventing the buildup of dirt, dust, and grime.

If you want to maximize your lessons on the piano, then it is important to keep your piano keys clean!

Understanding piano key materials

Before you embark on cleaning your piano keys, it’s important to understand the materials used in their construction:

  1. Ivory: Ivory keys were commonly used in the past. However, due to ethical concerns and regulations, modern pianos no longer use ivory. If you have an antique piano with ivory keys, be extra cautious during cleaning to avoid damaging this delicate material.
  2. Plastic: Most modern pianos have keys made of plastic, which is easier to maintain and clean.

Basic cleaning supplies

Before you clean piano keys, gather the following basic supplies:

  1. Microfiber or soft lint-free cloths: These are ideal for wiping away dust and fingerprints without scratching the keys.
  2. Mild dish soap: A gentle solution for cleaning piano keys which are made of plastic.
  3. Distilled water: Use distilled water for mixing with mild soap to create a cleaning solution.
  4. Two small bowls: One for the cleaning solution and the other for rinsing.
  5. Cotton swabs or soft brushes: Useful for cleaning hard-to-reach areas and the spaces between piano keys.

Step-by-step guide to cleaning piano keys

Follow these steps to clean your piano keys safely and effectively.

Step 1: Dusting

Before you clean piano keys, always begin with dusting:

  • Gently wipe the piano keys with a dry, microfiber cloth or a soft brush to remove loose dust and debris. Start from the highest piano keys and work your way down to prevent dust from falling onto already cleaned piano keys.

Step 2: Preparing the cleaning solution

For plastic piano keys, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing a few drops of mild dish soap in a bowl of distilled water. Avoid using any harsh chemicals, solvents, or alcohol, as they can damage the piano keys.

Step 3: Cleaning the keys

  • Dampen a soft, lint-free cloth with the prepared cleaning solution. Ensure the cloth is only slightly damp, not wet.
  • Wipe the piano keys gently from the back to the front in a straight line, applying minimal pressure. Avoid using a circular motion to prevent pushing dirt into the gaps between the piano keys.
  • Work on a small section at a time and wipe immediately with a dry cloth to prevent moisture from seeping between the keys.

Step 4: Addressing stains and stubborn grime

  • For stubborn stains or grime, use a cotton swab or a soft brush to gently scrub the affected area.
  • Do not apply excessive force, as it may damage the keys. Be patient and persistent.

Step 5: Drying and polishing

  • After cleaning, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the piano keys again, ensuring that they are thoroughly dry.
  • Polish the piano keys by gently buffing them with another dry, clean cloth.

Step 6: Periodic maintenance

  • Make piano key cleaning a part of your regular maintenance routine to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime.
  • Avoid eating, drinking, or handling the keys with dirty or greasy hands, as this will reduce the frequency of cleaning.