How to Clean Piano Keys... A simple rule of thumb (and fingers) for keeping your piano keys clean is:
The more often a piano is used, the more often the
keys need to be cleaned.
Cleaning piano's keys may seem like an easy task; but just as the internal parts of a piano are sensitive to change and touch, the keys are just as sensitive and vulnerable also.
To begin with cleaning your piano's keys, create a mild cleansing solution in a small container by mixing a drop (or two) of very mild dishwashing liquid with warm water.
Remember: Detergent must NOT contain any alcohol, sulfites, or other harsh chemicals.
• Choose a soft, lintless cloth, and slightly dampen with the solution.
• Use the dampened cloth to carefully wipe each white key separately to remove dirt and fingerprints accumulated.
• Carefully stay within one octave at a time. Dry each octave immediately before moving onto the next octave.
• After all the keys have been wiped clean, use a separate cloth of the same texture to ensure the keys are dry.
Sharps and Flats (Black Keys)
• Use another piece of cloth of the same quality, and dampen it with the solution made to clean the black keys, this time using the same method.
• Use another piece of cloth to wipe the keys dry, making sure the that the solution does not run off the top of the keys.
• Make sure to clean and wipe the sides as well.
Always remember that it is best to start cleaning the keys with a tightly wrung-out cloth, and never use any liquid other than
water to clean your piano keys.
Chemicals and alcohol are
to be avoided, entirely.
This will ruin your piano, and is very expensive to repair and replace parts (especially the key itself).
Final comments - Start with a very gentle and mild touch, and progressively try stronger strokes for very stubborn soils and dirt on keytops.
IMPORTANT REMINDER - When Cleaning Ivory Keys: Ivory and ebony keys are more sensitive to dampness so always remember to clean them first with a lightly dampened cloth, and then dry IMMEDIATELY after cleaning them.
Milk is also recommended to clean old ivory keys, as ivory is essentially dental bone, and must be treated as such.
Be careful when cleaning that you do not remove the original surface polish or pigments. And because piano keys easily absorb oil and other forms of stains, remember to use a pair of cotton gloves to avoid further contamination.
If these home techniques are not enough, hire a piano maintenance expert with reputable years of experience to clean your keys to ensure a great result.