How to Spring Clean Your Piano
While I recommend that only qualified professionals service your piano, this book is invaluable in helping you talk to your piano technician about what kinds of repair your piano needs.
Before you call out your piano tuner or technician, help him or her out by doing a yearly spring cleaning on your piano. Your tuner will thank you and you'll add years to the life of your piano and help keep it sounding great! So pull out your rubber gloves, microfiber cloth, and your vacuum cleaner with all the attachments, and tackle that cleaning job.
- Remove everything from the top of the piano. If your piano is near a wall, move it away from the wall. If your piano does not have wheels, now is the time to add Magic Sliders or other "coasters" that slip along the floor so that it can be moved easily.
- If you have a spinet, console or upright, dust the back (the part that was against the wall) thoroughly with a soft dry microfiber cloth. Vacuum underneath the piano to get rid of spiderwebs.
- Put on rubber gloves. You should never touch any part of the inside of the piano with your bare fingers. The oils from your hands will leach into the unfinished wood and warp the wood over time.
- Open the piano from the top. Vacuum and dust your piano thoroughly. Run your cloth along the strings to remove dust that collects there. Close the top.
- If you have a spinet, console or upright, open up the part underneath the keyboard (where your knees are when you sit down to play). Vacuum and dust thoroughly. Run your cloth along the strings to remove dust. Close the piano.
- Now remove the cover from around the keys. This may take a bit of fiddling as some of these covers can be a bit tricky to remove. Don't push, pull or tug--just examine how the cover goes on and figure it out. Once you have removed the cover, vacuum and dust thoroughly around the key mechanisms. If you have never before cleaned your piano, gently remove a key to see if dust has collected underneath. A small amount of dust is acceptable, but if your piano is old, there may be enough dust collected underneath the keys to impede playing. If there is significant dust there, remove the keys one at a time, clean underneath the key, and then replace it before you move on to the next key. Replace the cover.
- Clean your keys. If you have plastic keys, use a mild soap and water. Ivory keys require different steps to clean them and keep them in good shape. For ivory keys, use a very soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to clean the surfaces. Once you have finished (this is a time-consuming job and may take several sessions), wipe the keys off with filtered water, then take a microfiber cloth and polish the keys with whole milk or half-and-half.
- If you have a painted finish, dust the piano thoroughly. If you have a varnished finish, follow the manufacturer's care recommendations, but dusting never hurts!
- If you can't remove the cover from over your keys, don't force it but ask your tuner to show you how. Write down the instructions, or better, take pictures or video.
- Never, ever allow anyone to touch the moving parts of your piano with bare hands. The oils from your fingers will warp the wood and cause you to have expensive repairs!
- If you have plastic keys, keep the lid of your piano closed. Sunlight will yellow plastic keys.
- If you have ivory keys, leave the lid of your piano open. Sunlight will bleach ivory keys and keep them white.
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