How to Clean Ivory Piano Keys

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When cleaning ivory piano keys, you should not use water because it will turn your keys yellow over time. Use rubbing alcohol to clean ivory piano keys with help from a piano teacher in this free video on piano lessons.

Part of the Video Series: Piano Lessons
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Jim Porter with Clinton Hill School for Piano in Brooklyn, New York, and I'm here today to talk about how to clean ivory piano keys. Ivory piano keys should not be cleaned with water because over time that makes them yellow. I use rubbing alcohol. I saturate a piece of paper towel with rubbing alcohol and I wipe them until the dirt is off. I lightly do the black keys because they aren't ivory but I do that to clean them and disinfect them. You know, it's a good double purpose because the alcohol disinfects the keys especially if you're a teacher and you have a lot of different people playing the piano. There are some things that may damage ivory keys and of course, it's obvious if you hit the keys with anything hard or sharp it is liable to damage or break them and you should never lift the edge of the key up. There's no purpose in lifting it except if you want to break the ivory off. You certainly don't want to spill things on them. The lid that goes over the piano keys usually locks and it's one way to keep people who don't know how to treat a piano from playing the keys. It also keeps dust from getting on the keys but I'm not so sure you want to leave it like that all the time because I think it's good to have ventilation going through the keys into the inside of the piano. As far as cleaning the rest of the piano, I never use anything but a soft cloth. Now, of course, if you spill something on there that leaves a stain you're going to need to use something to clean it with. But you should never ever yourself or allow anyone else to put drinks on the piano and you should never set a cigarette on the edge of anything because you'll forget it and it will burn your piano and people are always knocking drinks in so that should just be an absolute rigid rule. Nothing that can harm the piano should be put on it ever.

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