Acoustic pianos make for a beautiful musical addition to your life, but to keep the music flowing, it’s important to make a plan for piano care! Piano maintenance, from daily dusting of your piano to regular tuning twice a year, will make sure that your instrument stays a working part of your family’s life for decades to come. In this article, we’ll cover how to keep your piano clean, where to place your piano in your home, piano tuning schedules, and strategies to keep your piano from getting dusty.
Pianos need attention and respect in order to stay in top condition. In addition to being tuned regularly by a professional, we’ll help you build a list of rules for proper piano care that your young pianist can follow. Proper maintenance of your piano will keep your instrument sounding in tune and beautiful and help you avoid the need for expensive repairs. Here’s what you should know about caring for your piano:
Childproofing your Piano
One of the best ways to keep your piano clean and in good working order is to make sure your children treat it with respect. Of course you want your children to be able to use and enjoy your piano, but they need to understand how to take good care of it. This can help you avoid costly repairs. Teach your children to follow these rules around the piano:
- No food or drink around the piano. Liquid and spills can damage a piano’s finish, so never set a cup on or near the piano. Crumbs in the keys can interfere with the action, and any liquid inside the piano could damage strings or soundboard.
- Only fingers on the keys. Small objects like coins can get jammed inside, and hard objects can scratch the surface. If you use toys for practice games, make sure they are plush or plastic, and parents should always supervise.
- Avoid playing around the piano. Toys, games, and activities like coloring or other art projects should happen in another area of the house. Playing the piano is always a great idea!
- The piano bench is only for sitting at the piano. it should never be used as a drawing desk or a jumping platform.
Cleaning your piano
Wondering how to clean your piano? Gently dust the outside of your piano. By cleaning the outside of your piano regularly with a soft, dry cloth, you will remove dust from the keys and the wood finish. The wood and natural materials used to build pianos are best cleaned dry, so no Windex or other harsh cleaners are necessary. Most modern pianos don’t need to be treated with wood polish, so dusting should be enough to keep them looking great.
If your piano keys become soiled from fingerprints, you can use a soft white cloth dampened with a small amount of water and mild soap. Avoid dripping any water between the keys by making sure the cloth is only slightly damp, wiping the keys from back to front instead of side to side, and only cleaning a few keys at a time, then drying them with another soft cloth before moving on to clean the next keys.
The inside of the piano, where the soundboard and hammers are, is a particularly delicate area of the instrument. Do not vacuum inside your piano or reach in to touch the strings. Be sure that your children are not opening the lid to investigate or drop things inside!
Climate and your piano
Keep your piano away from temperature changes and humidity changes. Changes in temperature from a draft or direct sunlight change the temperature of the metal within the piano. This expansion and contraction of the strings caused by changes in temperature can make your piano to go out of tune. Try to place your piano in your house so that it will be away from drafty areas with temperature changes, like windows, doors, and kitchens. Similarly, your piano should also be placed away from direct sunlight, which can fade the wood finish in addition to causing temperature changes that affect the tuning.
The recommended humidity range for acoustic pianos is 30% to 50%. Use a humidifier if you live in a very dry climate, or if during parts of the year your home becomes dry due to air conditioning or heater use. In a very humid climate you can use an electric heater inside the piano to keep it dry. Consult your local piano store or piano technician for advice.
Tuning your piano
To stay in the very best condition, pianos should be tuned twice each year by a qualified piano tuner. This is especially true for new pianos or pianos in a climate where the humidity changes throughout the year due to heating or air conditioning in the home. One routine which works well is to have your piano tuned about a month after you start using your heater in the winter, after it adjusts to the drier air in your home, and then a month or two after you turn your heater off in the spring. If a piano is a few years old and lives in a very stable environment, once a year might be okay. If something happens to your instrument where your piano needs further repairs, your piano tuner can help you troubleshoot.
Moving your piano
A piano dolly is essential for moving a piano. Those little wheels on the bottom of some pianos are only for making small adjustments to the piano’s position. If you are moving it more than a few feet, such as moving your piano to a different room, for your sake and the piano’s sake, get a dolly.
Take care of your piano for many years of enjoyment
Follow these suggestions and you should be able to enjoy your piano for many years to come. Would you like to learn to play the piano? Hoffman Academy provides a complete music education for beginners through intermediate piano players, in your home, on your schedule. Check it out!