Cleaning Your Piano the Right Way

Posted by Gordon Bolton

Individuals who own a piano must know how to care for it properly. Sadly, many families don’t understand what basic tasks they must carry out regularly to keep their piano in excellent shape. This needs inclusion in all piano lessons, but it isn’t.

Cleaning the piano increases the instrument’s lifespan while improving its functionality. Furthermore, it saves the owner time and money, as professional cleaning and repairs become needed less often. Owners need to use the correct methods when carrying out this task and use products designed specifically for pianos. Doing so ensures the instrument won’t sustain damage. The following information provided by Piano Movers of Texas becomes of great help as you go to clean the piano and keep it in top playing shape.

Gather the Necessary Tools

The owner must gather some tools to clean the piano. People often grab the first thing on hand, only to learn that doing so was a mistake. Knowing what to use goes a long way to preventing damage to this fragile instrument.

Get a white clean cloth and a feather duster. Key-Brite key cleaner helps to clean the keys, although some men and women use liquid dish detergent. Purchase polish designed for use with pianos rather than grabbing the household furniture polish or a product that contains lemon oils.

Dust the Keys

Begin cleaning the piano by dusting the keys. Any dust present on the instrument could enter the action mechanism or soundboard and lead to damage. Use the feather duster to dust the keys gently. Never apply a great deal of pressure, as doing so could scratch the piano. However, never neglect this step. Any dust on the piano could enter the instrument and cause damage.

Clean Plastic Keys

Synthetic plastic keys require special cleaning products. As they are flat and smooth, the keys need cleaning with a damp white cloth and a key cleaner, such as that mentioned above. In addition, get a dry cloth for use after the cleaning is complete.

Mix the cleaning solution with water as directed. Take the clean white cloth and dip it into this mixture. Remove any excess moisture before gently wiping the keys with the cloth. Use a front-to-back motion when cleaning the keys, as this prevents extra cleaning solution from remaining on the keys.

Follow up by drying the keys with a clean, dry cloth. Continue drying the keys until they are clean and sparkling. If using a spray cleaner, hold the cleaner six to eight inches from the keys and spray lightly. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the keys as previously described.

Ivory Keys

Some pianos come with ivory keys. If your instrument falls into this category, use a clean, white cloth to keep them clean. Don’t dip the cloth into the water, as one does with plastic keys. Sprinkle the cloth with water until it is damp. Moving in a front-to-back motion, carefully clean the keys.

Clean each key separately with the damp cloth and promptly dry the key with the dry cloth. This removes any excess water before you move to the next key. Never use a side-to-side motion when cleaning piano keys. This type of motion could lead to unwanted dirt making its way into the keys.

Cleaning the Exterior

Once the keys are clean, move to the exterior of the piano. Get a clean, damp cloth and gently wipe the piano to prevent scratches. Never use an abrasive cloth, such as microfiber or cotton, as it could mar the surface. Furthermore, never use a wet cloth, as the goal is to avoid leaving any visible moisture behind.

Polish the Instrument

Pianos rarely need polishing. If it appears the instrument needs polishing, apply a small amount of product designed specifically for instruments to a clean, dry, soft cloth. Begin rubbing the cloth on a small section of the piano. Follow up by drying the area with a clean cloth to remove any excess polish.

Don’t overdo it with the polish. An instrument only needs polishing when it becomes extremely dirty or when the owner sees some scratches that require filling. Constantly polishing the instrument could lead to damage to the finish. Additionally, each time the owner polishes the instrument, they risk polish entering the piano and damaging the components of the action.

Never use household furniture polish, lemon oil, or silicon-based products on the piano. Doing so could weaken the finish or damage fragile parts inside the instrument. Choose a polish created for use on musical instruments. Many owners choose a super-high gloss piano polish for their high-gloss finish or lacquered piano. This type of polish provides the instrument with a gorgeous sheen and a great feel, but won’t damage the internal components or the finish.

Clean the Soundboard

Cleaning the soundboard involves removing any dust and dirt that have built up in the area. Avoid taking this step if you lack knowledge regarding the internal components of a piano. Those who feel confident taking on this step should use a compressed air nozzle or vacuum to clean the components.

Blow the dirt into an area of the piano, such as a corner, where you can easily remove it. Never allow the vacuum nozzle or your hands to contact the strings or dampers. Doing so could lead to damage. Many piano owners, even those with knowledge of the piano’s internal components, choose to leave this task to a professional to avoid problems.

Keeping the Piano Clean

Owners find they can take steps to keep the piano clean. Never play with dirty hands, as any dirt and debris on the hands could damage the instrument. Wash and dry the hands before sitting down to play.

Protect the piano by housing it in a climate-controlled area away from direct sunlight and high humidity. This helps to prevent harm to the instrument, along with fading or aging.

Place nothing on the piano that could lead to damage and always keep the lid closed when the piano is not in use.

Don’t use colored materials to clean the piano, as the dye from the material could transfer to the instrument. Keep white rags on hand for this purpose and never use synthetic materials. They could mar the surface of the piano.

People often inadvertently damage their piano because they haven’t learned proper cleaning techniques. Follow the above instructions and this will never be a concern. However, never neglect this task for fear of harming the instrument. If you have any doubts, contact a professional piano cleaner for help. They’ll be happy to show you how to maintain the instrument between their visits.

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