What are the Best Products to Clean Your Piano?

After making an investment in a piano, you want to make sure that you keep it looking nice and protect it from damage for a long time to come. What products should you use when cleaning a piano? What products should you avoid? Are there any typical practices that should be avoided? 

Avoid and Prevent Damage

The easiest way to make sure that your piano remains beautiful for a long time to come is by keeping items off the surface of the piano. It is common practice to use the top of the piano as a place to display plants, vases, and pictures. Anything that could potentially damage the finish of your piano should not be displayed on the piano. Ideally, nothing should be placed on the piano. If you do choose to place objects on the piano, make sure that you have something like felt feet on the bottom of anything that will touch the surface of the piano. Plants and vases should be avoided at all costs, as the moisture content of a plant or vase can ruin a piano. Beyond damaging the finish, the water could also warp keys, hammers, and delicate wooden components of the piano. It isn’t worth the risk. Buy a shelf to display things on, and leave the piano as a statement of its own.

Everyday Cleaning

For general light cleaning, performed 2-3 times a week, a tightly woven knit cloth or microfiber should be sufficient for dusting. If there is a longer period between cleanings or a stubborn mark that won’t come off with a dry cloth, a cloth that has been soaked in warm water and then well-rung out can be used. A wet cloth should never be used on any surface of the piano or keys. Only a damp cloth should be used to prevent water from damaging the wood finish or causing the wood to swell. No cleaning chemicals should be used on your piano. If you feel it is necessary to use a cleaning agent, test the chemical on an unnoticeable portion of the finish of the piano to ensure it will not damage it. You should never use abrasive cleaners or alcohol (which can cause the wood to dry and split). 

When you clean the keys of your piano with a dry cloth or a well-rung-out damp cloth, only wipe the keys vertically, from back to front, and never from side to side. Besides potentially pushing debris in between the keys, you will also weaken the mechanisms of the keys, causing them to wobble over time.

What Products Can I Use To Clean My Piano?

Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning your piano. If warm water alone is not enough to get your piano clean, you can add a mild detergent to the warm water. Make sure that you use a clean, dry cloth to absorb any left behind moisture after you have cleaned your piano. Glass cleaner (ammonia) may help in removing fingerprint smudges from highly glossy surfaces. Test the cleaner on a hidden portion of the piano first to ensure it won’t affect the finish of the piano. To disinfect the keys of your piano, a high-touch surface, you can use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on a cotton pad. 

  • A dry microfiber cloth
  • Water on a damp, well-rung-out cloth
  • Water with a mild detergent
  • Hydrogen peroxide on a cotton pad

What Shouldn’t I Use To Clean My Piano?

Aside from abrasive cleaners like Comet or Bar Keepers Friend and rubbing alcohol, you should also never use wax on the surface of a piano. The build-up will cause problems, and can only be removed by a qualified piano technician. You should also never use bleach to disinfect keys, as it will damage the finish of the keys, and could even warp the keys and cause them not to function properly. 

  • Abrasive Cleaners
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Wax
  • Bleach
  • Other harsh chemicals

Can I Fix Sticky Keys Myself?

If you find yourself in a sticky situation where multiple keys move when one key is depressed, or you hear or feel resistance when depressing a key, you may have sticky keys. If the keys are not gliding smoothly, and you can not visually see something hindering their movement between the keys, you may have debris hidden in the fallboard of the piano. Because the mechanisms in a piano are complex and delicate, if you think something has fallen down under the keys that is preventing them from playing properly, you should contact a qualified repair technician to clean it out.

How Should I Clean the Inside of My Piano?

The short answer is that you should not attempt to clean the inside of your piano. The action between the keys and hammers is a complex mechanical system that requires special treatment. If you attempt to clean the interior of your piano, you may find that you wind up with a much pricier repair bill than if you had just called the technician to begin with. You can carefully vacuum dust from around the posts in the interior of the piano (where the strings connect to the piano) so long as neither you nor any part of the vacuum comes in direct contact with the interior of the piano.

If you find yourself needing more than a simple dusting of the exterior of your piano, it might be time to call in the professionals. Get in touch with us at Ogden Piano Gallery to arrange for one of our qualified technicians to clean your piano.

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