If your piano has ivory keys, or if you are thinking about purchasing a piano with ivory keys, there are certain things that you should know about the care of the keys. As your piano tuner Wilmington DE, I would like to share some information about ivory keys with you.

Ivory is considered the best material for piano key tops, because of the organic feel of the material. It has just the right consistency for playing piano, in that it is not too smooth and/or slippery. However, since ivory is no longer available, you will find it only on older pianos.

As you probably know, it is no longer legal to kill elephants for their tusks. In an effort to stop poaching, new laws are being enacted to make all trade in ivory illegal. As a result, it is almost impossible for a Wilmington piano technician to get replacement ivory if your key tops break, so it is important to give them the proper care.

Here are some important things to be informed of:

The entire key is not ivory. The key is wood with a thin layer of ivory which is about one-sixteenth inch think. The ivory is porous, so anything you put on it will go right through and loosen the glue underneath. If an ivory pops off, carefully save it as it is very valuable. Be aware, though, that even when you save the ivory, it rarely can be glued back on as well as it was originally, so it may not look as good as the original setting. If it turned out that you needed to put on a new set of plastic piano key covers instead of having the ivory key repaired, the cost would be fairly significant. The point of this is to alert you that it’s important to try to preserve the keys. Some recommendations Wilmington piano tuner would be not to put anything on the ivory; no soap, no bleach, no water.

The question then is, “How do I keep ivory piano keys white and clean?” The natural color of ivory is slightly yellow. In the factory, your ivory was bleached to make it white before it was cut into pieces for your key tops. However, it cannot be safely bleached again. To keep it as white as possible, keep the key cover up. The sunlight helps keep the ivory from yellowing. Once it is yellow, it cannot be whitened. For cleaning, just the slightest damp cloth is the safest thing. The dampness should be just enough to soften the dirt, without penetrating the ivory and you can gently rub the dirt off. When in doubt, it is probably best to hire a professional piano tuner to clean the keys. Finally, since the ivory key tops are relatively fragile, the piano keyboard should be protected when small children are around.

With proper care, your ivory keyboard should give you excellent service for many decades. Your Philadelphia and Wilmington DE piano tuner can inspect your ivory keys during a regular piano tuning. Wilmington DE and PA residents can enjoy their piano more with proper care. Call Kenneth Keith, your PA and DE piano tuner for your next Wilmington piano tuning.