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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 11:53 am
by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Dr. Bill Leland wrote:My C7 grand has ivory keys. Is there any safe way to remove strokes from a Magic Marker felt tip?

Magic Marker ink is meant to be indelible - that's the reason we use it. That said, one thing that will remove it from most things is acetone (available at any hardware or drug store). I don't think acetone will hurt the ivory in the short term, because it's quite volatile and evaporates readily. It is also a poor solvent for calcium salts in the ivory. Rubbing alcohol is also useful for removing Magic Marker, but isn't recommended for piano key tops. If you use either of these, I'd test it on a small non-visible area first and only put it on a soft cloth then wipe. If you have any other piece of ivory, you can test it on any non-visible area of that, before trying it on the piano. If the magic marker has penetrated deeply you may need to apply the solvent several times to remove the stain. Make sure you don't get acetone on the finish of the piano cabinet. If you do, don't try to wipe it off. Just let it evaporate.

It would also be worthwhile to try the disinfecting wipes, since the quaternary ammonium salts in them are pretty good surfactants which should be safe for ivory. By the way, the disinfecting wipes also contain 1-5% isopropanol ("rubbing alcohol") according to the MSDS filed with the Government. That small amount shouldn't hurt the keys of the piano.

I haven't tried any of these suggestions myself on piano keys, though acetone works "magically" on synthetic and cotton fabric. I don't know if any piano manufacturer would advise you to put acetone on your piano keys, but if the marks bother you enough, give it or the wipes a try.

Bottom line is: be careful! Magic Marker is tough to remove from anything. You have an advantage with piano keys in that they aren't all that porous, so chances are, the stain is confined close to the surface of the ivory.