An acoustic piano is a wonderful thing to have in your home. Take good care of it, and it will be a beautiful part of your family’s life for decades to come. Pianos need attention and respect in order to stay in top condition. Here’s what you should know about caring for your piano:
Childproofing your Piano
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. 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, 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.
Gently dust your piano with a soft, dry cloth. Most modern pianos don’t need to be treated with wood polish, so dusting should be enough to keep them looking great. If 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.
Keep your piano away from temperature changes and humidity changes. Try to place it in your house so that it will be away from windows, doors, and kitchens. Recommended humidity range 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.
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.
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. If a piano is a few years old and lives in a very stable environment, once a year might be okay. 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.
For more information about taking care of a piano, visit the Piano Technician’s Guild.