How to Safely Clean an Organ Keyboard?

Corona virus issue is the one not to be neglected, and with the World Health Organization and our own Government’s wide spread advice for cleanliness and hygiene it is important we stay calm, do what we have to and follow centuries old Hippocrates’s “DO NOT HARM”.

We have received a very prudent query from one of the NZ prominent organists who wanted to know how to safely clean an organ keyboard as good old “dry cloth wipe” no longer suffice. We thought we would share our recommendations here.

John Hargraves MNZM: ” I normally advise using a Cloth dampened with water, but see no harm in adding a small quantity of mild soap, mild detergent or mild disinfectant to the mix.
Under no circumstances should any alcohol, oil, solvent, abrasive or silicone based cleaners or polishes be used for cleaning ivory, bone or celluloid keys or consoles, except under expert guidance.  
A follow up wipe with a cloth dampened with water only should then be done. Do not use excessive wetness. “

1 Comment

  1. Amanda Gwynne-Farrish on 17/06/2020 at 2:45 am

    I clean for my church and we are investigating the best methods for keeping the organ surface disinfected during this time. I suggested that the Lysol Disinfecting wipes would be alright provided they are wrung out (such that they are damp only) and applied just by cleaning staff and for everyone who will be playing to use the hand sanitizer before they play. My concern would be that their hands may still be wet before they attempt to play – I suggested we leave tissue out and notify the user to dry their hands before touching the keys. However would the alcohol on their skin still have an effect on the keys surface even if their hands are dry?? Also, in your opinion would the Lysol wipes cleanser be too harsh for the celluloid keys? The organ was installed a few years ago and it was brand new when installed. Please advise what kinds of cleansers you would recommend that would sanitize but would also be gentle enough so as to not cause discolouration or excessive wear upon the keys. Thank you for your help in advance, sincerely, Amanda Gwynne-Farrish, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Bradford, Ontario

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