How to clean your piano

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to clean a piano and keep it in pristine condition.

Whether you’re a professional pianist or an enthusiastic beginner, maintaining a clean instrument is essential for optimal performance and longevity.

In this article, we will walk you through step-by-step instructions and provide valuable tips to ensure your piano remains dust-free, gleaming, and ready to produce beautiful melodies.

Table of Contents

In order to maintain the pleasure of the piano at home for a long time, it needs the right care. The better a piano is cared for, the longer the music lover can enjoy it. The care of the piano also includes its cleaning.

As a piano is made up of several different components and materials, there are no general cleaning instructions. Rather, as a piano owner, you should deal with the proper care of the individual parts.

In addition, it makes a difference what kind of piano you own. For example, a Yamaha piano has completely different care requirements than a grand piano or a Steinway piano. How exactly the sensitive musical instrument is cleaned so that it not only remains functional for a long time, but also in the best possible condition, can be read here.

Playing is the be-all and end-all of piano care

It is more important to take care of the piano than to play it regularly. In every piano, regardless of its construction, there are many small moving parts.

The longer these parts have not been moved, the worse it is for the piano’s action. In the worst case, small parts get stuck and can only be moved with effort. Thus, the piano becomes sluggish and does not sound good anymore.

Furthermore, felt is often inserted inside a piano. If these felt parts are not moved again and again, then there is a risk that they will be infested by clothes moths. In addition, playing the instrument regularly prevents vermin of all kinds from settling inside. So if you play the piano, you have already done a kind of basic cleaning of the piano.

How to clean the piano surface

Pianos do not like dust. Therefore, the surface of the instrument should be regularly well cleaned from dust. To do this, first close the lid of the piano, so that no dust whirled up during the cleaning process can get inside the instrument.

If the piano does not have a lid, then the keyboard can be covered with a cloth or key runner, for example. If the piano has a polyester lacquer finish, it can be simply wiped with a soft and antistatic cloth or a classic feather duster. The dust can be quickly removed in this way.

If fingerprints should also be removed from the surface of the instrument, it is recommended to wipe it with a damp microfiber cloth, or even better with a chamois leather.

A little glass cleaner or vinegar can be added to the cleaning water. However, be careful with satinized wooden surfaces. These do not tolerate water. Here it is best to use a wood care product from a specialist retailer, which is applied with a soft cleaning cloth.

How to clean piano keys?

The keyboard, i.e. the keys of the upright, grand and electric pianos, should all first be cleaned of deposited dust with a feather duster. After that, it is recommended to remove small impurities on the individual keys with a minimally moistened cloth made of microfiber.

You should be very careful and apply as little pressure as possible to the individual keys. If there is more dirt, you can also try using a little glass cleaner sprayed onto the slightly damp or still dry microfiber cloth before cleaning instead of clear water.

Under no circumstances should the used cloth be too damp, because if liquid gets between the individual keys during cleaning, this is very unfavorable for the keyboard’s continued functionality and plays an essential role in how pianos work. In addition, the cleaning cloth should always be applied to the rear edge of each key and then wiped off towards the front.

This has the advantage that dirt particles are transported to the floor via the free front edge of the key, instead of being deposited on the rear edge of the key, which is connected to the case. This is the procedure for pianos, grand pianos, and also electric pianos.

How to clean real ivory piano keys

Very high-quality uprights and grand pianos that have keys made of real ivory require special care when cleaning the keys. This is because ivory is damaged by water and therefore must not be cleaned with a damp cloth.

In this case, it is best to remove only the dust from the keys by using a feather duster. Deep cleaning is better done by a professional. In order to prevent more severe soiling, ivory keyboards should be dusted very regularly and thoroughly.

To prevent the keys from yellowing, which is a tendency of ivory, it is a good idea to leave the keyboard open at all times. In this case, it must be dusted more frequently, but darkness promotes yellowing.

How to clean piano pedals

even if they have been cleaned regularly. Tarnished brass pedals can be made to shine again by polishing them. Brass polish can be purchased at specialty stores and many drugstores. Apply it to an unused cotton cloth and polish each pedal until the old shine returns.

Depending on how badly the pedals were tarnished beforehand, this can take quite a while. The rear regions of the pedals are easily reached during polishing when the pedal is pressed down. Use another clean cotton cloth to wipe off any polish residue from the pedals.

The closer you get to the piano case during the polishing process, the more careful you should be, because the polish should not get on the case. Brass polish can leave light shadows, especially on shellac surfaces. Electric pianos usually do not have brass pedals. Their pedals are simply cleaned with a damp cloth.

How to clean the inside of a piano

Only very skilled people should undertake the internal cleaning of a piano themselves. The piano must be partially disassembled for this purpose and then correctly reassembled. If you are not confident enough to do this yourself, it is better to hire a professional. If you want to do it yourself, you will need a screwdriver, a vacuum cleaner with brush attachments, and brushes of various strengths to clean the smallest parts.

The moderator cable, the mechanics, and the keyboard must then be removed after the other. There are massive differences in the construction of these parts. Depending on the manufacturer and type of upright or grand piano, the above parts are manufactured very differently, which is why you should familiarize yourself in advance with the construction plans of your own piano.

After removing the above parts, carefully vacuum all the parts lying inside the piano, using a small brush attachment. First, check whether there are any loose parts inside the piano. These should be removed beforehand so that they do not get sucked in. Then wipe off all small parts with a dry brush. Strings, especially copper strings, should never be wiped with a damp cloth, otherwise, they may corrode. Other dirty parts can be wiped with a cloth with a little glass cleaner or dishwashing liquid.

What else there is to consider

The field of piano cleaning is highly complex, which is due to the fact that there are countless materials that can be built into a variety of models. Before you clean a piano, you should therefore find out exactly what materials the piano is made of.

Information about this can be obtained from the dealer from whom the piano was purchased. In case of doubt, or if a piano was purchased and used by a private individual, it is worthwhile to research the model name online. On the manufacturer’s website, you can usually find the information you need.

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