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How to Clean Piano Keys

Guidelines for cleaning your keys and preventing damage.

Ever wonder about the best way to properly clean the keys of your piano without damaging them? Here’s how.

First and foremost, avoid cleaners (both liquid and saturated wipe-type cleaners) that contain harsh ingredients such as alcohol (isopropyl), chlorine, ethanol, benzene, peroxide or salts. These ingredients contribute to discoloration and cracking.

Instead, gather together three clean microfiber cloths and some dishwashing liquid and follow these easy steps:

1. Dampen one of the microfiber cloths with lukewarm water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid, then wring it out enough so that water does not drip on the keys. Use the cloth to gently wipe down several keys at a time in a “toward-the-player” motion (i.e., from the part of the keys farthest from you to the part closest to you).

2. Take the second microfiber cloth and dampen it with lukewarm water only, then wring it out enough so that water does not drip on the keys. Use it to wipe down the keys again in the same “toward-the-player” motion.

3. Using the third microfiber cloth (but keeping it completely dry), wipe down the keys one more time in that same “toward-the-player” motion until all the keys are dry.

Cleaning your hands before playing is recommended and will ensure a high level of playability through the life of your piano. If you use hand sanitizer that contains any of the ingredients listed in the first paragraph, make sure your hands are completely dry before touching the keyboard.

One last tip: Keeping the key cover closed at all times when the piano is not in use will help keep the keys free of dust and dirt … meaning that you’ll have to clean them less!

Please note that these recommendations do not guarantee disinfection of the keys, and many currently popular disinfectants may damage key surfaces over time. Check out our guide to disinfecting musical instruments.


Click here for more information about Yamaha pianos.

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