How To Clean Piano Keys - Coronavirus-proof Your Piano
Updated: Jun 23
So, unfortunately, there's a pandemic ravaging the world while writing this article. However, there are still families taking their piano lessons and I'm sure that you want to Coronavirus-proof your piano to keep from unwittingly passing the virus to either your teacher or anyone in the home that may play the piano.
Evidence suggest that the Coronavirus can last on surfaces for up to nine days (Gray, 2020) If someone so much as coughs within 10 feet of the piano, they can spread up to 3000 water droplets that could live on the keys of your piano. So, let's talk about how to Coronavirus proof your piano to avoid transmitting the illness known as COVID-19.
Acoustic Piano Care and Cleaning
If you have an acoustic piano, either upright or grand, you'll have to treat the piano differently than a keyboard, as your piano is made from wood, and requires special care.
1. Dust the piano. As the piano is a stationary object, it's important to first wipe away all the dust that has accumulated on the piano. Trying to clean it before wiping off the dust, will make cleaning less effective, as the loose dust may prevent cleaning agents from coming in full contact with the piano's surface.
2. Avoid all solvent cleaners and aerosol cleaners that contain silicone. This will include things like Lysol spray, Clorox wipes, Rubbing Alcohol, and Bleach based products. I'm sorry if you thought this would be as easy as cleaning the rest of your surfaces. Pianos are built to last for generations and you don't want to deteriorate the finish or damage the wood.
3. Use solvent free disinfectant wipes instead. So, when looking for a disinfectant for the keys, please use a solvent free disinfectant. However, there are some non-solvent wipes that will disinfect, but not kill the virus. Which will lead us to the next step.
4. Use a damp cloth, with mild soap or dish detergent. This step is important in making sure that your piano is coronavirus free. Make sure that you are using a microfiber cloth that is only damp, no dripping water. Rub dish detergent on the cloth to wipe down all the keys. Follow this up with rinsing out the soap from the towel, and squeeze out all the water, to make it soap free, but still damp. At this point, you will wipe off the soap from the keys. It's extremely important to monitor the level of moisture you're using on the piano, and to make sure that the cloth is only damp. Wipe the keys and piano down with a dry cloth and you're done.
Digital Piano or Workstation Care
1. Make sure to dust off your equipment. Just like on the acoustic instrument, you want to make sure to maximize contact with your cleaning agents and surface. So, make sure that your instrument is free of dust first.
2. Use a damp cloth and light soap. At this time, you'll want to wipe down the instrument with a damp cloth and mild detergent, still making sure that there is no dripping water. Don't rub too hard over the buttons as this may squeeze water into the equipment.
3. Use Bleach wipes, but minimize moisture. When working with powered equipment, the obvious thing to avoid is any moisture getting inside your equipment. However, to make sure that we are properly disinfecting our equipment, it's easiest to reach for the solvent based disinfectants. However, make sure that the wipes you're using are free of dripping water. Here is where you go over the buttons on your equipment pretty thoroughly, still not pressing too hard.
Simply follow these steps above, and do it daily while we are going through this crisis. If you disinfect your piano or keyboard everyday, it will help everyone get through this more safely.
Gray, R. (2020). Covid-19: How long does the coronavirus last on surfaces? https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200317-covid-19-how-long-does-the-coronavirus-last-on-surfaces