Making Sure Your Piano Keys Are Never Sticky Again

Making Sure Your Piano Keys Are Never Sticky Again

When you first purchase a new piano, it looks perfect sitting in your home. Yet as your family plays over time, something can start impacting the way it plays. 

You may have a rule of no food or drink near the piano. That’s a good rule to make. But it isn’t the only thing that can impact the piano keys. Humidity, dust in the air supply, or a small object wedged between the keys can stop playing in its tracks. 

You’ll know it when it happens. Sticky piano keys mean your fingers won’t be able to move up and down the keyboard nimbly as you play. You’ll hit a key, and your finger will stop. It won’t feel right. It won’t sound right. 

It’s time to jumpstart piano maintenance, and ensure your keyboard is ready to play again. 

Cleaning the keyboard is quite easy. But there are a few tricks to learn first. 

What are the keys made of?

Start by determining the key material. Most modern pianos use acrylic plastic. Ivory is no longer used, but if you have an older piano, it may still be in place. Ebony is a hard, tropical wood often used for the black keys. Sometimes cellulose is used, which is known as imitation ivory. 

If your piano is known, it is probably made from acrylic plastic. The older it is, the more chance it has of being ivory. You can tell it’s ivory by looking for a horizontal seam where the white key starts to narrow. 

Cleaning plastic piano keys

Plastic keys are fairly resilient. That said, you should still avoid using too much water, as it can seep between the keys and cause damage underneath. Use a mild dish soap and a slightly damp microfiber cloth to remove dirt and stains. Be sure to place the cleaning solution on the cloth; never pour solution directly onto the keys. Don’t use a scrub brush or anything harsh that may scratch the surface. Clean one key at a time, back to front, until all the keys are cleaned. 

Cleaning ivory piano keys

Ivory is a porous material that is vulnerable to certain cleaning products. Less is more. Start by rubbing with a clean microfiber cloth to remove the top layer of dirt. Then using a mixture of one part dish soap to four parts water, clean the notes from left to right, back to front, one key at a time. Make sure to use a light color cloth as darker colors can transfer to ivory keys. Wipe down the surface after cleaning to ensure they are dry.

In all cases, avoid using harsh chemicals on the keys. Vinegar can be harsh, scratching and dulling the surface. Alcohol can also cause damage to the surface of the keys. When in doubt, refer directly to the manufacturer, or give us a call. We can make recommendations. 

Are your keys still sticky?

Cleaning should be a regular part of your routine. Yet if you’ve cleaned the keys and they still stick, it may be time to call in a professional. They can pinpoint and fix the problem quickly, having you back to playing in no time. 

Have you experienced sticky keys before?