Skip to content

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

    Hi,
    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

Leave a Comment





Our Book is Available for Purchase

More than a Pipe Dream

This book pays homage to the highly skilled individuals in the South Island Organ Company who have dedicated so much of their lives to designing, building and restoring pipe organs, highly complex musical instruments as they are. It unveils an impressive amount of detail about this unique company's development, achievements and adventures, including secrets of the instruments construction and the art of restoration, all of which is presented in a highly readable manner so that you will never feel overwhelmed by technical jargon.

This book is the work of multi-award-winning writer Jill Worrall.

$99.99 plus postage & handling fee.

Purchase our Book Voucher for someone Special!

Here are some comments:

  • "Thrilled to have the book arrive today. What a gorgeous production it is and how poignant the earthquake stories and images. Thank you and I will enjoy it in greater detail as the days go by". - Tim McWhannell
  • "The book has arrived....amidst the busy day, I just had to have a quick flip through. I am absolutely gobsmacked!  What a magnificent publication -accolades all round!
    You have exceeded!  I am wordless, and speechless!
    Bravo!" - Roy Tankersley
  •  "The book arrived today! Excellent publication" - Alan Edwards
  • To John: "I enjoyed the book...indeed more than a pipe dream, that's for sure. From it I can see you've had a  remarkable and interesting career amongst some great talented craftsmen and artisans and have formed a great company in SIOC which you must be proud of. The tragedy of the losses SIOC suffered with the deaths of your men following the earthquakes is so sad and I am sure is a deep loss to you and Val personally. But what an outstanding first 50 years" - Craig Maclean & family
  •  "My copy has arrived. It is superb!! Many thanks to Val and John, and to all those who had input into its publication" - Robert Cleaver