Do You Need to Disinfect the Keys on Your Piano?

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Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s viewer submitted question is, “Do You Need to Disinfect the Keys on Your Piano?” This is a very timely subject with the coronavirus going around. Let’s say you’re a piano teacher with 30 students coming into your studio every week playing your piano. One student after the next, after the next, after the next. What can you do to keep yourself and your students safe?

Can germs live on piano keys?

Absolutely. There’s no reason why they can’t. I would say it’s a very good idea to clean your piano keys. So the question is, how do you disinfect the keys on your piano? What’s important is to not get them wet. Why? Because even though the tops may be ivory or plastic, piano keys are wooden underneath. If they get wet, the wood will absorb the moisture. It could expand the wood, so the key tops could warp or fall off! So you really want to be careful.

The best way to sterilize your piano keys while cleaning them is using a high solution of alcohol.

Alcohol evaporates extremely quickly, much faster than water. So it’s important to find a high concentration of 90% alcohol or higher. Just put a small amount on a paper towel or cotton swab. Then, wipe all the keys of your piano. It shouldn’t be soaked, just slightly damp. The benefit of the alcohol is, it evaporates quickly, so you’re not likely to do any damage to your piano. But of course if you have 30 students you might not have the time to clean your piano keys meticulously between every student. You could just use little Clorox wipes and I’m sure that would do the job for you. Something is certainly better than nothing.


One note of caution is, cleaning ivory keys regularly with alcohol can damage ivory. So, using bleach or white vinegar may be a better choice for pianos with ivory keys.

I would recommend sterilizing your piano keys as a precaution.

Right now it’s a very good idea to avoid the risk of transferring infection, particularly if you have a large teaching studio. This is a very good idea for you. Thanks for the great question!

I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store.
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