How to Clean Piano Keys and Keyboards (2023)?

Do you have a keyboard or piano in your house? It’s the most beautiful and extremely melodious musical instrument ever manufactured in the world. Piano and keyboard needs a lot of practice to be played well, and also these instruments need proper care and accurate cleaning to look like beautiful and shining ever. It is natural that piano keys get soiled over time, same situation is with keyboards. Truly, the white color of piano keys and keyboard allow dirt, dust, and fingerprints appear even much clearly.

In case you want to keep your piano and keyboard in a presentable and good condition, you will need to clean keys properly. We have brought some easier yet most effective ways to clean or restore piano keys and keyboards. You will get brilliant and shinning piano keys by using these tricks.

Note: it is better to play the piano with clean hands, as prevention is much better.

When Should My Piano Be Cleaned?

Dirty and dusty string windings won’t produce as brilliant of a tone as clean ones. Single-strand strings with rust won’t resonate as well as those without rust (the higher section). In-depth dirt will have an impact on the hammer’s feel. The hundreds of moving parts won’t react and recover as quickly as they would if they were clean. When covered in dirt, flexible parts become stiffer. This is a warning that your keyboard needs to be cleaned. 

How To Clean Between Keys? 

It is a wise idea to dust the keys off before beginning to clean them to get rid of any surface dust. In between playing sessions, you can also clean your piano keys using a soft paintbrush, brush, or duster. Make sure you brush the keys down to remove any dust. The best option is to clean down your piano keys with filtered water and white vinegar to simply disinfect them. Use a cheesecloth or rag to wipe the keys down vertically, drying the keys between wipes. Ensure you remember to switch your keys’ covers from white to black. Since anything other than plastics (even soaps) can be too hazardous, the ideal cleaning solution for plastic keys is hot water and white vinegar. In order to prevent harm from vinegar’s acid, only use a small amount. A decent rule of thumb is one component vinegar to every four parts water.

Warm water and a small amount of dish soap make up a moderate cleaning solution that is both sufficient and efficient for ivory piano keys. To prevent other colors from bleeding onto the white keys, make sure that whatever material you choose to use is white. When wiping, use a brushing motion to avoid being overly rough (like scrubbing), which might cause damage. 

To clean ivory keys, you may also use white toothpaste. Use just regular, unflavored, white toothpaste. Ivory corrodes and turns colour from the gel and colored toothpaste. The keys will get whiter once more as a result of this.

Consider transferring your ivory keys to a location with indirect sunlight as this can actually assist to bleach your keys, making them appear whiter again. This is another method for lightening ivory keys that have gotten yellowed.

One last method for whitening piano keys is to carefully massage a white vinyl eraser down each white key, trying to make sure that each key separately to prevent eraser particles from going in between the keys. Another somewhat bizarre and outlandish technique to whiten the ivory is to wipe the keys with yoghurt or mayonnaise. Unbelievably, the microorganisms in these foods contribute to a mild yet efficient bleaching of the ivory. Just keep in mind to dry-buff the keys afterward to get rid of any remaining food particles.

Preferred Mild Cleaning Solutions 

  • Cory Ultimate Piano Care Kit: 

If you want your piano to look brand new, this piano maintenance package is the top pick on the market. The item is packaged in a tiny plastic clamshell along with two cloths for your use. The key cleaner does a great job and doesn’t leave any residue or a sticky aftertaste on the keys. 

  • Music Nomad Piano All In One For Gloss: 

Only use this stuff on gloss pianos, please. Additionally, avoid putting this on your keys because it will damage them. You can use this polish along with a key cleaner made by Music Nomad. They all produce a polish for pianos with matte finishes. 

Measures To Be Taken To Keep Piano Clean

The easiest and safest way to remove dust and finger marks that develop during regular usage and play is with a clean piece of fine knit fabric that has been softly wet with simple water. A microfiber polishing cloth should be used to gently wipe high-polish finishes. Due to the great variety of cleaning products on the market, it is advised to test a product on a small, uncovered part of the finish before using it on surfaces that will be visible to the public. This will ensure that the cleaner won’t harm the finish. It is not advisable to wax or polish because this might cause buildup that can only be securely removed by qualified personnel. Regularly clean the keyboard of your piano with a delicate cloth that has been only very slightly wet with water. 

Never let moisture into the keybed or between the keys as this might cause swelling and restrict the free movement of the keys. Never use any form of solvent to clean your Steinway piano’s black or white keys since they could harm the delicate finish. You must not place any pots, vases, artwork, beverages, or other items of any type on top of piano. Any extraneous things placed on the finish have the potential to harm the piano’s sound in addition to damaging the surface. 

  1. Avoid using a dry or scratchy cloth: Use a moderately damp cloth, as previously recommended. The piano won’t be scratched as a result of this cleaning.
  2. Avoid cleaning the interiors by yourself: A piano only needs to have its interior cleaned every 5 to 10 years. When the time comes to accomplish this, hire a qualified (and renowned) piano cleaning in your region to ensure it is done correctly.
  3. Avoid wiping all the keys at once: By cleaning each key separately, up and down, you can prevent getting water in the gaps between the keys. Additionally, a gently dampened cloth will prevent water from seeping into the cracks. If necessary, wipe the moist keys with a dry cloth.

Ways To Clean Piano Keys And Keyboards

Clean Piano Keys and Keyboards

Clean Ivory Keys

If you have an antique piano, you should clean it with extra caution. It is true that by removing the yellow stains your piano will look great, however, you should know that it might destroy the value of your piano.  It is true that the yellow stains look weird, but antique is after all antique. You can clean ivory keys with smooth and light hands, do not use any harsh chemicals or solutions available in the market.

Step# 1: Never use chemical or soap to clean ivory keys

You can easily use soap and chemicals for plastic keys, but ivory keys are less sensitive and need extra care to clean it well. Ivory keys may absorb chemicals and moisture and thus appear discolored and can cause damage.

Step# 2: you should wear white (cotton) gloves

White gloves help you to avoid your hand’s oil, dirt, and dust on ivory keys while you are cleaning. White gloves are better than any other colored, because those may transfer color to the keys.

 Step# 3: clean/dust the ivory keys

By using a soft duster or soft-bristled paintbrush dust the ivory keys, make sure to start from back to front so the dust between the keys does not settle.

Step# 4: how to whiten keys?

Some methods involve to whiten ivory keys, simply use white vinyl eraser you need to gently rub the ivory key’s surface, do key one by one and make sure to remove all eraser bits when you are done. You can dust the keys by using previous dust off technique. Instead of this, you can use fine steel, wood pad #0000, to clean ivory keys and remove yellow stains. Another best method is exposing keys in sunlight, this method can help to brighten color and bleach ivory.

Clean Plastic Keys

Step# 1: cleaning solution

Take a half bowl of hot water, and now add a drop of mild soapy liquid (preferably a mild dishing soapy liquid or soap is best to use). You may wipe a damp soft cloth on the mild bar soap.

Step# 2: take cotton and soft white cloth

Dip the soft cloth in the soapy water and thoroughly wring out cloth well, make sure the cloth should not be wet, it should be damp. In another case, water may dribble down and may damage the piano. Do not use a colored cloth as it might transfer color to your piano keys, white cloth is much better.

Step# 3: first clean white keys

You should start cleaning from back to front, never brush down keys side to side, it may transfer dirt and moisture between two keys. Also, never wipe towards backward, this method is wrong because it pushes dust or dirt in the space between two keys or behind the keys.  Do not wipe black keys with the same cloth you used for white piano keys.

Step# 4: take another cloth to clean black keys

Take another new white cotton cloth to wipe or clean black keys, carefully clean black piano keys by using the same procedure of soapy solution. You can clean black piano keys from front to backward, but make sure it does not touch the cleaned white keys. If you touch the cloth to white keys it may transfer black color or dust to your white piano keys. Carefully and properly wipe black piano keys after white keys.

Step# 5: wipe off contaminants from piano keys

By using a cotton dry cloth, you need to wipe the keys to clean soap residue, make sure you wipe back to the front so that nothing gets between the piano keys.

Step# 6: eliminate fingerprints from piano keys

You need to do special treatment to remove fingerprints, make a solution with four parts of water and one part of vinegar. Take a soft white cloth, dip it into the solution, make sure you wring it out well, so the cloth is only damp not wet. Now separately wipe off and dry every key, it is important to let the key dry when you move to the next key, remember vinegar may damage the keys in case it’s on keys too long. Let the piano uncovered in this way the smell of vinegar gets scatter.

Step# 7: cover up keys

Always cover piano or piano keys when you are done playing it, in this way you help the keys to prevent dirt and dust build up too much. By using this method, you will not need to repeat this long cleaning process very often.

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Useful Information

You can easily clean your piano keys and keyboards by using the above-mentioned method. However, you need to be a little more careful while using the piano, in order to keep it clean and safe. Remember that skin oil and sweaty hands are the biggest factors that help dirt and dust bind on piano keys. Those notes which are used frequently, are at a high risk of damaging their polished surface. Also, this makes them easy for dust and dirt to enter into the open pores. Therefore, it is much better to wash your hands before you play the piano.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. How to clean a digital piano? 

In a small basin, combine warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap.

When cleaning a digital piano keyboard, it’s crucial to use white towels because the chemicals in a colored cloth can harm the instrument. With the mixture, lightly wet one of the clothes. 

Remember to wipe the sides of each key as you gently rub the damp cloth over each one. To wipe out any wetness that remains on the keyboard, use the other cloth. Make sure to avoid damaging the digital piano keyboard with water or moisture that is left behind. Avoid letting water drip between the keys as you carefully wipe the corners.

2. Where should one place the piano to avoid dust?

Where to keep it is a personal decision, but there are certain places you shouldn’t keep it. It should not be left outside or close to any gaps that could let in dust, sunshine, or other environmental changes. Your digital piano’s health, longevity, and exposure to moisture, humidity, sunlight, and a sharp reduction or change in temperature will all be problematic. Additionally, they might result in color fading, finish flaws, contraction of the building material. A digital piano is also vulnerable to harm from environmental factors including heat, moisture, and even humidity. Select the room, area of the house, or location for the piano as a result. 

3. Is a piano cover required? 

Many artists and players underrate the harm that dust can cause to their instrument. The instrument needs frequent and routine cleaning and dusting. A covering is not an accessory you should only use if you’re moving your instrument or storing it away for a while. For each and every moment that you aren’t playing the piano, you must put a cover over it (even just a piece of cloth would do). Compared to traditional pianos, digital pianos are much more vulnerable to harm from dust. Dust enters everything and can negatively impact sensors, electronics, and other delicate parts. 

4. How often should you clean your piano keys? 

Ideally, before and after each time someone sits down to play if you use a piano with others. Keep in mind that even though it is unnoticeable, the prior user’s sweat and oil may still be on the keys. We advise wiping the keyboard two to three times a week when you have the piano to yourself. For the optimum upkeep, keep the piano lid closed when not in use. 

5. How to clean the insides of a grand piano? 

Always completely close the piano while it’s not in use to maintain the inside of your grand piano clean. The grand piano’s inside can be kept clean and free of dust in the safest possible manner by doing this. If the environment is already dusty, you can approach the dusty components (often the pins to which the strings are tied) with the vacuum hose without actually touching anything! Only a trained piano technician or tuner can clean the piano for you if there is any dust or dirt behind the strings. 

6. What could happen if the inside of the grand piano is not handled properly? 

Only a trained piano technician or tuner can clean the piano for you if there is any dust or dirt behind the strings. Please keep in mind that if you physically touch anything within the piano, you run the risk of shattering the delicate wooden parts, that will cost you a lot of money to replace, at the very least throwing the piano out of tune. You could utterly destroy your piano if you clean it improperly. 

7. How to maintain the finish on the piano? 

To clean your piano on a daily basis, use a clean, damp cloth first, then a clean, dry cloth. If more difficult-to-remove dirt does end up on the finish, you might try wiping them with a cloth dipped in a gentle soap and water solution first, then a cloth wet in clear water, and finally a dry cloth. You can use high gloss polish for incredibly small scratches on a piano with a high gloss, polyester surface. For polyester satin finishes, there are additional, specialized polishes available. You can use the same procedure of wiping your piano down with a damp cloth and then a dry one if it has a lacquer finish. 

8. What are the important tips to keep in mind while cleaning the piano? 

If the keys aren’t working properly, they might be stuck, therefore you need to look to see if there’s anything in between them. Check keys on your own to see if they stick before calling a pro. There might be something hidden between the keys that you can find. Try using tweezers to remove any potential sticking objects. Use of harsh cleaning agents, bleaches, or alcohol should be avoided while cleaning.

Being in love with music, Larry started this website to help piano lovers get the most detailed and accurate information with his 5 Years of experience of working in a music store.

1 thought on “How to Clean Piano Keys and Keyboards (2023)?”

  1. Wow. It’s a great article. It has more useful information for clean piano keys and keyboards. It will help me to cleaning my piano. I learned a lot from it. Thanks for sharing.


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