How To Clean Your Piano Key Tops

How To Clean Your Piano Key Tops

Take a good look at your piano. Where’s the biggest potential for dirt and grime? If you said the tops of the 88 keys, you’re correct. 

Every day you sit down and play, touching them with your finger tips. Some will get more of a workout as you touch it again and again and again … hello, middle C. 

How do you keep them looking their best? How do you keep them playing their best? 

Read on to learn how to clean your piano key tops the right way. 

First, take a moment to determine what the key tops are made of. If your piano was built before the mid 1950s, there is a potential for the key tops to be made of ivory. After 1956, the US officially banned the use of ivory, meaning pianos built or imported after this time are made of plastic. 

Ivory doesn’t add value to your piano. However, it does change the way you keep the key tops clean. 

Start by using a damp cloth that is wrung out well. Excessive moisture can penetrate through the porous ivory surface and loosen the adhesive that is holding it in place. Once this occurs, it can start to damage the wooden piano surface underneath. 

Use a natural or light colored cloth as it can transfer pigment to the ivory keys. Use two different cloths, one for the light keys, and one to clean the black keys. 

When cleaning plastic or synthetic key tops, follow the same course of action. Use a light, natural cloth for cleaning. Use a mild detergent or cleaning solution to remove dirt and grime. 

Always wipe the keys down from back to front instead of side to side. This ensures any moisture rolls off the pianos rather than falling between the keys themselves. Work a few keys at a time, ensuring they are properly dried before moving on to the next set of keys. 

Killing germs is equally important, especially during cold and flu season. You can take a small drop of antibacterial soap on a small damp cloth and wipe down the individual keys. Don’t use too much soap or you’ll be left with a sticky residue. Be sure to follow with a damp cloth to ensure the tops are clean. 

Avoid using things like rubbing alcohol or other harsh chemicals as they can penetrate through the key tops and destroy the keys themselves. 

When was the last time you cleaned your piano key tops properly?