How to Clean Piano Keys

Unless you have a badly stained piano, caring for the instrument needn’t mean employing a professional polisher to come to your home.  And, beware of harsh chemicals and sprays that will only damage the surface of the delicate ivory keys and will make the instrument look older and more worn than it really is.  There are products on the market today that will safely clean and protect your ivory, ebony and plastic keys.

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Cleaning Ivory keys

Do not:
-Immerse in water
-Scrub with a brush or even a scouring pad
-Use any chemicals whatsoever, even washing up liquid can damage the precious surface.
-Do not spray with furniture polish
-Do not use air-freshener anywhere near the keys or piano.

Generally speaking, ivory should be gently wiped with a soft clean cloth. For stubborn marks or fingerprints (it is always a good idea to wash your hands before playing the instrument) use a mild non-coloured toothpaste on a damp cloth. Ensure that you rub gently and do not scrub. Rinse with fresh milk with another lint-free cloth and buff well.

Leave the piano open on sunny days so that the keys will stay bleached and will not turn yellow. Keys that are badly discoloured or stained must be scraped and recovered by a professional piano cleaner.

Plastic Keys

Do not:
-Use chemicals
-Leave the piano open for long periods of time: this will cause discolouration of the keys.
-Do not use furniture polish, this can be too harsh.

Dust regularly and wipe occasionally with a weak solution of warm water and vinegar on a clean chamois leather. Buff well for added shine.

Cleaning the casework

The casework of the piano can get very dusty quickly. A good idea is to routinely use a vacuum cleaner attachment to get rid of any dust/cobwebs. This can take some time, but will be be worth it in the end. Do not use water or any liquids/chemicals when cleaning the casework. Even the wood surface just needs a dust with a soft cloth. For stains or marks consult a professional piano tuner/cleaner.

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