How to Remove Ivory from Piano Keys

At some point, you may need to remove the ivory from your piano keys. Whether you’re refinishing the wood or replacing the keys, removing the ivory is a delicate process. You don’t want to damage the wood underneath, so it’s important to follow these steps carefully.

With a little patience and care, you’ll have your piano keys sanitized and looking good as new in no time!

1. Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need a few supplies before you begin: a putty knife, screwdriver, sandpaper, clean cloths, and denatured alcohol.

The first step is to gather all of your supplies so you have everything you need within reach. This will make the process go more smoothly and help prevent any damage to your piano keys.

2. Use the Screwdriver to Loosen the Keys

Use a screwdriver to loosen the screws that hold the ivory in place. Be careful not to strip the screws or damage the wood.

Once the screws are loosened, you should be able to gently lift the ivory off of the key. If it is stuck, you can use a putty knife to help pry it loose.

3. Clean Off Any Excess Glue or Adhesive

Once you have removed the ivory, there may be some glue or adhesive residue left behind. Use a clean cloth dipped in denatured alcohol to remove any leftover glue or adhesive. You may need to use a little elbow grease to get rid of all of the residues.

4. Sand Down the Wood Surface if Necessary

If you’re planning on painting or staining the wood surface, you’ll need to sand it down first. Use fine-grit sandpaper and sand gently in one direction until the surface is smooth. Then use a clean cloth to remove any dust particles before proceeding with your refinishing project.


With these simple steps, removing ivory from your piano keys will be a breeze! Just be careful not to damage the wood underneath and take your time with each step.

Once you’re finished, you can proceed with refinishing or replacing your piano keys as desired. Thanks for reading!

Allen Joe

Allen Joe is a writer for a piano blog. He has been playing the piano since he was a young child, and has always loved sharing his passion for music with others. Allen's writing focuses on helping people learn about different aspects of the piano and how to play it themselves.

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