Piano keys are one of the most vulnerable parts of an upright piano. Over the lifespan of the instrument, the keys will be subjected to dirty hands, accidental impacts, dust and grime.
It’s important to care for your piano, and the keys need special attention. We’ve broken down piano key care into three sections: cleaning, fixing and maintaining.
Piano keys become dirty through play and also exposure to airborne particles and dust. You may also need to clean the keys if you accidentally spill liquid on them.
Using a slightly damp cotton or microfibre cloth, gently wipe the keys from the edge closest to the piano vertically to the outside. Take care to work the cloth gently into the corners.
Remember: use a damp cloth, not a wet cloth. Keys should never be exposed to excess moisture. If the keys are at all wet, immediately run a dry cloth over them.
Never use cleaning products on the keys as it may damage the finish or stain the keys permanently.
Occasionally items get trapped between piano keys, or between the key and the wood. You might notice that slim items like papers, coins and paperclips are often getting trapped.
The important thing is to act quickly. Don’t play the piano if you can see a foreign object between the keys. Gently and carefully press one key down and see if you can free the object and remove it.
If the object is stuck, or wedged too far in, call a piano tuner or piano repairer for advice. It’s normally more affordable to have someone retrieve the item rather than paying for a repair if you damage a part trying to do it yourself. Plus, if your piano needs to be tuned anyway, it’d be a good idea to get both done at the same time.
If you keys are yellowing or damaged this is a job for a professional piano tuner or repairer. Have your piano expert look at the problem during your next scheduled tuning or servicing appointment.
To maintain the clean, sparkling appearance of your piano keys, make sure you have clean hands when you play the piano. Don’t allow children to touch the keys with sticky or dirty hands, and make sure all drinks are kept well away.
When the piano is not in use, keep the lid closed so that the keys are always covered. This will prevent the keys from becoming dirty and/or discoloured by sunlight. Don’t clean the piano’s surface with chemicals or excessive amounts of water that could drip through onto the keys.
If you require piano restoration, restringing or respraying of your piano frame, contact Piano Workshop.