If you want to assure the high standards of your digital piano, you will have to perform some kind of regular cleaning routine. Although digital pianos are famous for not needing the degree of maintenance that acoustic pianos do, they still need to be cleaned in certain areas, especially if they are used often. One of the areas that are prone to get dirty more often is the keyboard. In this article I decided to tackle the problem of how to clean digital piano keys effectively and risk free.
If you want to keep your digital piano’s keys properly clean, then two main areas should be the center of your focus: cleaning technique and cleaning frequency.
There’s a certain common body of cleaning technique for all types of piano keys. And then there are different alternatives in relation to the type of material the keys are made of. Plastic keys are the easiest to clean and least sensitive. Ivory keys need a bit more attention and are more sensitive.
Cleaning frequency is also an important factor. If you want to clean the keys of a piano that is used in a school or choir setting, then you should be repeating the routine every week or two. But if you use it at home, or rather seldom, then once every few months should be enough. Whichever your situation, you have to remember one thing: it’s very important to keep your piano clean so as to assure proper working and longevity.
How to clean digital piano keys – step-by-step
If you want to learn how to clean digital piano keys effectively, limiting the risk of inflicting any damage, these are the exact steps I recommend you to apply:
- Use a small bowl with warm water. Add two or three drops of dish washing liquid, depending on how much water you use.
- Dampen a soft, colorless cloth into that mixture and wipe all the white keys gently, one by one. It’s very important for the cloth to be only damp, no water should be dripping, as it may harm the internal mechanism should any drip between the keys inside the keyboard. Now take another soft cloth that should be dry this time. Wipe away the excess moisture should any remain on the keys. This should remove dust and fingerprints from the white keys.
- Next repeat the procedure for the black keys with two different cloths; one damp and one dry.
- Make sure all the keys are perfectly dry.
- If you want to clean a keyboard that is dirtier than usual, you can use a mild detergent in combination with water, or a soap. Rinse the keys diligently using two cloths as described before: one damp and one dry. Insist in the areas that are dirtier.
- If you notice that the before mentioned steps are not able to remove the stains on the keys, you are better off contacting a professional than trying to remove them by yourself with stronger chemical solutions.
There are also digital piano keyboard cleaning sprays available, but dish washing liquid or a mild detergent should be capable of getting the job done. So, there’s no need to spend extra money for a dedicated cleaning solution.
How to clean ivory and ebony keys
With ivory keys, cleaning will be done as I explained in the fundamental cleaning routine above. You will have to do a regular cleaning routine to keep them in mint condition, especially if you play the piano a lot. As you will find out further down the page, you should wash your hands every time before sitting down at the piano. This way cleaning will be a minimal requirement. You can use a vinegar and water solution for a more powerful cleaning but don’t overdo this.
You can also use toothpaste for a deeper cleaning, but always make sure to wipe off every little bit of toothpaste and moisture after finishing. Be very gentle with ivory keys as they are more sensitive than plastic ones. If you feel like there’s a clear need for a more profound cleaning, refrain from using harsh chemicals and call a professional who will know exactly what type of cleaning method to use, according to the specific case.
How to whiten the keys of your digital piano
Time will eventually leave a mark on anything. The white keys of your digital piano too. They will start appearing yellow. To reverse this effect there are a few steps you can take. I usually stay away from aggressive chemicals and prefer trying out more common methods first, like vinegar or toothpaste.
First, try out the vinegar. For this you should make a mixture with one part vinegar and two parts water. Dampen a cloth into the mixture and do what I taught you above in the main cleaning step-by-step process. Make sure not to leave any moisture on the keys when finished. If this doesn’t seem to work then you can give toothpaste a try.
For this method, you will need a toothbrush and a whitening toothpaste, or regular one. Gently rub the white keys avoiding to get the toothpaste between the keys. Clean everything thoroughly of any toothpaste or moisture remnants. You will have to repeat this process before expecting to see any results.
Things you should avoid
To keep your digital piano in the best possible condition and reduce the maintenance needs, there are a few things that you can avoid doing. Some of these are:
- Make a rule out of keeping away from the piano with drinks altogether. Nobody wants it, but accidents may happen, and such an accident could absolutely ruin your digital piano.
- Before starting to play the piano, you should always wash hands, even if they seem clean. If children are playing the piano you might want to pay attention, and keep reinforcing this rule because they tend to be forgetful.
- Don’t place your digital piano near the window. I know natural light is the best, but given enough time, a near window placement will affect your digital piano, through excessive sunlight, drafts and humidity.
- Always cover the keys of your digital piano when not playing. If you have a sewing machine you can easily make a cover for your keyboard. There are many tutorials online that teach you how to make simple things as a cover.
Further important advice to keep in mind
There are a few more important aspects that you should take into account about how to clean digital piano keys.
Always make sure to use damp cloths, not wet, as excessive moisture could only inflict further damage to the keys. Also avoid using brushes, because of the same risk of inflicting damage. If you use a toothbrush make sure it’s a soft one so as not to leave scratch marks.
If you feel as something is obstructing the proper functioning of the keys don’t panic, something may have fallen between the keys. You can use tweezers to try and get the object out from between the keys. If nothing helps, then it’s probably a case for a professional.
Don’t use any cleaning agent that is more powerful, not even alcohol. If the problem is so big that it doesn’t disappear in the manner explained in the main cleaning routine at the start of guide, call a professional. Refrain by all means to use any harsher chemicals as you could only be making the problem even greater.
Now you know how to clean digital piano keys, whatever their surface material. If you keep a good cleaning routine, your digital piano lasts and works in good condition for many years to come. But, remember, pay attention when cleaning the keys of your digital piano and more than anything else, be very gentle. Don’t use harsh chemicals and always keep them dry. You can also take a look at the user’s manual of your digital piano. Most manufacturers make recommendations on how to clean the keys and other parts of the instrument. If nothing works, don’t refrain from calling a professional.