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How To Clean Piano Keys (Made of Ivory, Plastics): Top Full Guide 2023

How To Clean Piano Keys (Made of Ivory, Plastics) Top Full Guide 2023
  • Max Kuehn

Looking to keep your piano clean and sparkling? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to clean piano keys the right way! Piano keys can become dirty over time. Cleaning them is important to keep your piano looking and sounding its best. There are a few different ways to clean your piano keys, and the best method may vary depending on the type of keys you have.

Do You Have Any Special Keys?

It’s crucial to know what kind of material your keys are made of before starting.

There is a difference between washing plastic keys and cleaning ivory keys. A keyboard’s keys are plastic, but a genuine piano’s keys are ivory. However, some pianos (particularly newer ones) feature plastic keys, so make sure you know which type you have before proceeding.

If you’re having problems figuring out which is which, keep the following in mind:

The tint of ivory keys is more off-white than white.

Plastic keys have a smoother surface and a transparent covering.

Ivory keys will have two visible portions that are linked together.

As ivory keys become soiled, they will become yellow.


Do You Have Any Special Keys

General Cleaning Solution

Your Steinway piano’s exterior is actually extremely simple to maintain clean. The most simple and safe approach for eliminating dust and finger marks that arise during normal use and play is to use a clean fine knit cloth lightly wet with plain water. You should use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe high-polish finishes delicately.

Because there are so many cleaning products on the market, it’s best to try them on a tiny, unseen part of the finish to ensure they won’t harm it before using them on visible surfaces.

Waxing and polishing are not suggested since they can cause build-up that can only be removed safely by qualified professionals. Wipe your piano key with a clean, soft cloth that has been softly wet with plain water regularly.

Allowing moisture to enter between the keys or down into the keybed can cause edema and make it difficult for the keys to move freely.

Never use any solvent to clean your Steinway piano’s black or white keys since they can ruin the exquisite polish.

Place no pots, vases, photographs, drinks, or other items on top of the piano. Any foreign things placed on the finish can serious damage it, and they can also affect the sound of the piano.


General Cleaning Instructions

What Not to Do

If you’re planning on cleaning your piano keys, there are a few things you should avoid doing so that you don’t end up causing extra damage to your keys:

  • Use only non-chemically based cleaners and polishes. These cleansers are far too aggressive and will almost certainly cause harm to your keys. Use only mild soaps.
  • When wiping them down, do not use paper towels. You’ll want to use lint-free cloth that won’t leave any residue.
  • If you clean them from side to side, prevent moisture from getting in between the keys cause further damage.
  • When wiping black and white keys, do not use the same cloth; instead, use separate cloth. The paint might sometimes wipe away from the black, smearing the whites.
  • During cold and flu seasons, avoid using spray disinfectants since they can damage the surface of it, and the spray can spread to other parts of the piano, causing even more damage!

How To Polish Piano Keys

Step 1: Remove Dust

To begin, carefully wipe your keys off with a dry dust cloth to eliminate any excess dust that has settled on them.

When wiping them down, wipe towards you to avoid dust from gathering in the crevices between the keys.

Step 2: Soapy Water to Clean the White Keys

After that, grab another cloth and dampen it with soapy water.

A solution of one part typical dish soap to four parts water is recommended.

Clean each key one by one, starting at the bottom and working your way up from left to right, by lightly dab the white cloth in your soap solution (an area the size of your fingertip).

Always wipe them from the back to the front, and ensure your cloth is clean.

When you’re through, dry them all with another damp cloth.

Step 3: Clean the Fronts of the Keys

Next, dip your cloth in the soap solution and clean the key fronts in the same way.

Step 4: Do the same with the Black Keys.

Step 4 is to repeat the previous steps, but this time for all black keys.

It’s critical to wipe the black keys first, as the white keys can become stained.


How To Polish Piano Keys

How To Clean Plastic Piano Keys

Ivory and plastic keys can both benefit from these basic step-by-step processes.

However, you can clean plastic keys using diluted white vinegar, which effectively eliminates stains and fingerprints.

However, if you’re cleaning the plastic keys on a digital piano, be careful not to use too much water on your damp cloth because it could damage them.

However, just in case, read the manufacturer’s handbook for more information on how to maintain digital pianos properly.

One thing to keep in mind with plastic keys is that they should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

They may turn yellow and lose their color as a result of this.

If your instrument is in direct sunlight, cover your windows with curtains, blinds, or other types of sun protection.

Surprisingly, the opposite is true with ivory keys, since exposing them to bright sunshine might help them whiten faster.

How To Clean Ivory Piano Keys

While washing acrylic plastic and ivory keys is similar, the polishing of ivory is different.

The ivory keys will gradually lose their whiteness and begin to discolor.

If necessary, they can be replaced (using legally obtained ivory or keytops from old pianos). Still, they can also be polished to restore their original colors.

Fortunately, you don’t need to buy an obscure and expensive product to do so!

Whiten Ivory Keys

White toothpaste can also be used to clean ivory keys. Use only regular, plain white toothpaste. Ivory is corroded and discolored by the gel and colored toothpaste. This will help to whiten them once more.

Another method for whitening ivory keys that have yellowed is to move them to a location with indirect sunlight, which can actually help to bleach your keys and make them look whiter again.

One final method for whitening your keys is to gently rub a white vinyl eraser down each white key, making sure to do each key separately to avoid any eraser bits getting in between the keys.

Another strange and outlandish method is to wipe down the keys with mayonnaise or yogurt to whiten the ivory. Believe it or not, the bacteria in these foods aid in the gentle but effective bleaching of ivory. Remember to buff the keys with a dry cloth afterward to remove any food residues.

Suggestions For Keeping Your Keys Clean

Wipe the keys regularly dry to keep them free of dust. Even one day of exposure to the keys can result in a significant layer of dust.

Before you sit down to play the piano, wash your hands and make sure they’re completely dry. This will prevent dirt and grease from being transferred to the keys.

If your piano’s keys are plastic, keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid yellowing.

If your piano’s keys are ivory, keeping them in oblique sunlight will whiten them significantly.

If your piano has a keyboard lid, close it when you’re not playing, or use a dust cover if it doesn’t. This will protect the keys from spills and prevent dust and dirt build-up. If your piano is older, the conditions under the lid may grow damp, causing degradation over time, so remember to let those keys air now and then.


Suggestions For Keeping Your Keys Clean


So that about concludes our post on how to clean your keys; Fidlar hope you found it useful. Cleaning piano keys is an important maintenance task that you must perform to ensure that it remains functional for a long time. Cleaning it regularly will also make you want to play it more and make your practice sessions more enjoyable. Have fun cleaning!

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