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Sticky Keys

Sticky Piano Keys

What do I do if I have a sticking piano key?

Sticking piano keys are a common problem for pianists, particularly with new pianos of all brands, but also 100 year old pianos. The issue can be caused by a variety of factors. They are usually easily fixed and are nothing to provoke concern.

If you are wondering why you have a sticking key, here are some suggested reasons:

  • the key slip being too close to the front of the white keys,
  • objects such as coins or dirty rail pins becoming lodged underneath the keys,
  • or more commonly, a build-up of moisture effecting the movement of the keys. Moisture is the most common particularly with new pianos.

  • # Please note these solutions are a temporary fix and a more permanent solution is recommended as shown at the bottom of this page under Climate Control.


When did the key first start sticking? Had the temperature and/or humidity changed significantly when you noticed the problem? Did you leave anything on the piano keyboard that may have fallen and become stuck? When was the piano last serviced?

Asking questions like these may provide you (and us) a clue as to why your key(s) began sticking – invariably it is due to a change in climatic conditions.

Fixing the problem



Sydney is a very humid city and levels of moisture in the air will effect how your piano plays. Because the instrument is made primarily of natural materials, humidity levels can cause the wood to swell, thus the parts enlarge and rub together, restricting free movement.

Although you may have had the problem corrected by your technician, humidity can swell and enlarge the parts once again resulting in the same issue.

  *     To try and fix this issue, the key that is causing problems needs to be depressed firmly but slowly and forcefully moved from side to side whilst depressing. (See Video)
This causes the felt bushings in the keys to self-compact once again and ease the sticking of the key.

An easy option is to close all windows and doors in your home particularly on rainy days and run your air conditioning system on dry mode without stop for 3 or more days.
Totally remove the red or black felt that covers the keys. This felt is another reason you maybe having moisture issues. Simply close the fall (or keyboard lid) without covering with felt.

It would be worth investing in a hygrometer (not very expensive) to monitor the climatic conditions of your room.

Typically humidity should be between 50-70% and the temperature range 17-23C. If you find your environment is fluctuating in these metrics, then you should consider investing in a de-humidifier bar from your piano technician to regulate the humidity in your piano 24hours a day – 7 days a week.

Damp Chaser bars are available from your Piano Technician which are used as a last resort to slowly ensure consistency in temperature and regulate humidity. Hygrometers can also be purchased through our website.

Watch Video Here





What NOT to do!

Do not use moisture absorber buckets as they can cause the strings in your piano to rust and void your warranty.

De-Humidifiers have been proven to NOT work for pianos. Many of our customers have told us the same after running for hours. De-Humidifier machines use around 200W of power, are extremely noisy, require water to be removed several times and all the energy used to remove moisture is undone once the machine is tuned off. This is the same reason this technology is not used in our clothes driers. Damp Chasers are especially designed for pianos to permanently correct this issue. Please refer to Climate control below.




On a modern piano, remove the felt from the keys when closing the fall lid to prevent moisture build up and stains.

Solution – Climate Control

A climate control system (Piano Life Saver – Damp Chaser) installed in your piano will preserve the life of your piano and MAKE YOUR TUNINGS Last Longer!

Pianos are manufactured to be kept in an environment with a constant relative humidity of approximately 45% and temperature around 21’C. Quite often in churches, schools, homes and other environments this ideal is not attainable or affordable. A climate control system installed in your piano will minimize the adverse effects of extreme temperature and humidity changes.

Extreme temperature and humidity changes will adversely affect the tuning stability and playability of your piano. Excess humidity will throw your piano out of tune, make the keys sluggish and sticky and will cause rust and corrosion to form on the metal internal components of your piano: strings, pins, springs, plate or frame of your piano.

Excessive heat and extremely low humidity can also throw your piano out of tune and cause wooden components such as keys, hammers, action parts, key bed, soundboard and bridge to warp, crack, split and or break apart as the wood shrinks because of reduced moisture content of the wood in a hot dry room.

A climate control system installed in your piano will prolong the life of your piano, preserve the value of your piano, increase tuning stability and make your piano more enjoyable to play.

Climate control systems are highly recommended for pianos in homes in areas that experience extreme changes in weather and humidity (such Sydney) and also for pianos that are in the same room as a fireplace that is frequently used.

You will be able to view prices and order when you book your appointment.