Taking Care Of Your Piano
Like any other furniture, there is a proper way of cleaning and caring for your piano. If you want your piano to last for a long time, you must know how to properly care for and maintain your instrument’s good condition. Here are some tips:
Cleaning the Keys – Never use rubbing alcohol, bleach or other commercial cleaning products to clean your piano keys. Most of these products have ingredients that dry out the natural oils in your piano’s ivory keys. Gently wipe the keys with a damp cloth. You should only wipe the key tops and avoid moisture from reaching the sides of the keys. Wipe it dry immediately. In some cases, the dye used on the black keys might come off, so it is advisable to use different cloths for the white and black keys. Nowadays, real ivory is no longer widely used. Instead, manufacturers use a special kind of plastic for the keys. You can use a damp cloth and, if needed, a gentle soap to clean plastic keys. Remember that much of the glue in a piano is water soluble, so never allow water to drip down into the instrument or under the key tops.
Cleaning the Cabinet – The cabinet is the body of the piano and can be made from different types of wood, grains and finishes. The cabinet should be cared for as you would any other fine wood furniture. Usually, a soft cloth does well in removing dust and dirt. There are some products made specifically for cleaning your piano cabinet. See our Shopping page.
Cleaning the Soundboard – The soundboard is perhaps the toughest part of the piano to clean. Dust and debris are drawn to this part of the piano, paper clips, buttons and other small items mysteriously manage to make their way in. Without touching the strings or anything in the soundboard, you can position your vacuum cleaner to move any unwanted debris into the vacuum hose. If the debris is lodged tightly inside, never use a sharp object to try and get it out. If you still can’t get the object out, call your technician. We have special tools to do a thorough cleaning under the strings. Additional time should be scheduled for this cleaning process.
Ideal Humidity and Temperature – There are some factors which affect the performance of a piano. Humidity plays a big factor. High humidity causes keys to stick or become sluggish and cause strings and tuning pins to rust. Low humidity affects the sound of the keys, cause keys to loosen and soundboards to crack. A humidity range of 35-55% is good for the piano. Of course we cannot control outside humidity but there are some things we can do to alleviate the conditions, such as placing your piano where it won’t be exposed to sources of humidity (like from the kitchen or near a swimming pool). A humidifier and dehumidifier will also help. There is a dedicated climate-control system designed just for pianos – ask your piano tuner about the Dampp-Chaser system. Likewise, a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit is good. Avoid placing your piano where there is a constant change in temperature such as near windows or fireplaces. Humidity changes are a major factor in the piano going out of tune, so keeping a constant humidity usually results in your instrument staying in tune longer.
Piano Tuning – It is recommended to have your piano tuned twice a year. It is best to seek the help of an experienced tuner-technician, that way you’ll be assured that they know what they’re doing. If your piano hasn’t been serviced or tuned for several years, your tuner-technician might also need to perform a pitch raise.
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How Old is Your Piano? Click here to find out – You will need the make and serial number to find the year of manufacture.