How To Clean Piano Keys

How to clean piano keys

Whether you decide to get an acoustic or digital piano, daily maintenance will be a fact of life. And most of all you will have to pay special attention to the black and white keys. Your grimy and germ ridden fingers will quickly make that poor piano look sad and neglected. In this article we will discuss some very basic care, and you will find out how to clean piano keys!

Acoustic Pianos

Acoustic piano keys can be made of ivory, ebony, cellulose, and acrylic plastic which is on most modern instruments. (If you have an ivory key piano, you will have some more research and steps to take). You need to be gentle when cleaning the keys as they are attached to the hammer and damper mechanisms. While pianos are not incredibly complicated, if you don’t know what you are doing you can mess one up fast!

piano anatomy acoustic piano

Basic Maintenance for Acoustic Piano Keys

Almost all musical instruments can be cleaned with warm water, light soap, vinegar, occasional lemon juice, baking soda, and a few clean soft towels. That’s not to say you will use all of those ingredients, you will just find a variety of methods using them on YouTube. Each person has their own special take on how to clean piano keys! But regardless of the method you use, they all have the same do’s and don’ts!

  • Never get the keys wet or use too much water. Lightly dampen a soft lint free cloth.
  • Using very light dish soap or vinegar will break the griminess down.
  • Do not attempt to use any harsh chemicals, especially ones hazardous to people.
  • Because you are using a damp cloth and drying soft cloth it will take a lot of time!
  • A very soft paint brush is sometimes helpful to get into the nooks.

It really is a simple matter of using a little soap or vinegar and just lightly washing the top and sides of each and every piano key. The only way to damage your piano is if you are splashing water, or hasty and not taking your time. It will be a long and tedious project if it hasn’t been maintained. In school student bands there is often a wide range of talent, but the ones who take the best care and cleaning of their instrument are often first chairs and great players. Take pride in a clean piano keyboard!

There are also a lot of musicians who use instrument polish and cleaner sprays in a bottle, some brands are packaged as a guitar cleaner, but they work on grimy keyboards too. Treat any real dirty spots with a light solvent spray and then clean gently for 88 keys! If you are ever unsure of a certain cleaner do a test on an unseen part.

Digital Pianos

Digital keyboards use samples. A sound engineer records a piano note and programs the software to play that note for the right key. And for the most part, you the average Jane or Joe do not have the tools or the expertise to be opening up a digital piano.

how to clean digital piano keys

Basic Maintenance for a Keyboard

Luckily most digital keyboards have keys cleaned the same way as the acoustic pianos, except in this case you really have to watch any errant water! Only lightly dampen the cloth and spray any spray cleaners into the cloth first and then wipe. Here are some of the most important aspects to remember when cleaning a digital piano.

  • Always unplug any electronics before cleaning or repairing them!
  • Computer air duster is an incredible cleaner, it can even be used on acoustics!
  • Many of the same sprays for other pianos and instruments can be used.
  • But one drop of liquid down the wrong place can do damage, mind getting it wet!
  • Contact cleaner, commonly called De-Oxit, is a great way to spray the internal electronics. It cleans and restores any bad connections.

Don’t Forget the Internal Cleaning

A proper cleaning of a piano goes well beyond keeping the keys clean, so an acoustic is costly to keep maintained. And electronic pianos require software updates and occasional repairs under the hood if they are especially valuable. But in the end the digital pianos are usually the more popular choice! One reason digitals are winning in popularity is that they are less maintenance, less space, and sound as incredible as the real thing. They are even easy to clean with regular sprays of canned air duster and an occasional damp cloth wipe-down.

Now that you know how to clean piano keys the process becomes getting you to do it! Especially if you have a full acoustic or digital with 88 keys. If you love playing music and playing the piano, you need to learn to love and care for it. Just some routine and regular key wipe downs will suffice in between the days where you do a more in depth cleaning.