Robert Estrin - piano expert

Do You Need to Disinfect the Keys on Your Piano?

An interesting video during the pandemic

In this video, Robert talks about disinfecting your piano keyboard. Do you really need to do that?

Released on June 10, 2020

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome to, I'm Robert Estrin. And we had a viewer question asking, "Do you need to disinfect the keys in your piano?" And this is a very timely subject with all kinds of health scares going around. You think about this. Let's say you're a piano teacher and you have 30 students come into your studio every week playing your piano, one student after the next, after the next, after the next. 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 keys. So the question is, how do you disinfect the keys in your piano? Well, what's important is not to really get them wet. Why? Because your keys, even though the tops may be ivory or plastic, they are wooden on the side. If they get wet, the wood will absorb the moisture. It could expand the key tops so the ivories could fall off. So you really want to be careful.

So one of the best ways to clean your keys while sterilizing them is using a high solution of alcohol. That is to say not just your regular 70% rubbing alcohol, but look for something like 90%. That way it evaporates extremely quickly, much faster than water will, and faster than even 70% alcohol. Just take it on a paper towel or swabs of cotton, just slightly damp and go through all the keys of your piano.

Now you could also just use little Clorox wipes and I'm sure that would do the job for you okay. 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 go through meticulously between every student. So something is better than nothing, right?

So, I would recommend 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. Very good idea for you. Thanks for the good questions. I love these. Again, I'm Robert Estrin,, your online piano store. And you know the drill, you can subscribe if you haven't already, and you'll see lots more videos coming your way. Thanks for joining me.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

David Thompson * VSM MEMBER * on June 24, 2020 @6:18 am PST
60-70% alcohol is effective against Corona virus. 90% is not. And the surface must be wet for 30 seconds. The surface to be disinfected should first be cleaned with soap and water.
Robert Estrin on June 24, 2020 @11:44 am PST
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 70% alcohol for killing Corona virus. However, having at least some water in the alcohol solution is necessary for proper disinfecting. I wouldn't recommend keeping ivory keys wet with alcohol for long periods of time because it can destroy the key tops.
Ron Klimes on June 22, 2020 @2:34 pm PST
Robert - host, on June 22, 2020 @3:59 pm PST
Maybe they offer courses in key cleaning - it looks pretty involved!
Ron Klimes on June 10, 2020 @5:25 am PST
Here is a different opinion from Yamaha: and from piano world forum:,from%20stickers%20and%20permanent%20markers.&text=Vinegar%20or%20Windex%20might%20help,finger%20grime%20stuck%20to%20them.
Leigh Sheppard on June 14, 2020 @1:14 am PST
This method seems to be just for a clean appearance. But Robert was talking about disinfection against possibly Corona virus.
What do you recommend to do that? Leigh
Debi Stark * VSM MEMBER * on June 10, 2020 @5:14 am PST
I have tried Chlorox wipes and they leave my keys sticky. Thanks for the tip on the alcohol. I will try that!
Robert - host, on June 10, 2020 @12:20 pm PST
Clorox wipes can be great for piano keys. They also may help to whiten ivory keys!
Kenneth Spencer on June 10, 2020 @3:51 am PST
Good morning!
Whomsoever wrote the captions on this morning's video was quite confused about the word "disinfect". We should only use a double "s" if the "dis" (meaning apart or away from) is followed by a word which begins with an "s". As "infect" does not begin with an "s", the correct word is "disinfect".
Examples: "Dissect" is "dis" + "sect" (secere, to cut) and so has double "s" whereas "disorientate" has only one "s" as "orientate" (literally - turn towards the east, or sunrise) does not begin with an "s".
(Incidentally "dissect" should always be pronounced with a short "i", such a common pronunciation error, even among younger medics!
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