Simple guidelines for taking care of a piano
There are a few simple things that can be done to ensure a piano stays in good condition, and remains in tune for a reasonable length of time. As a pianist, and someone who takes music and the care of musical instruments very seriously, I’ve produced the following basic guidelines.
In addition to the case, many of the moving parts inside a piano are made of wood. Wood is very susceptible to temperature change, humidity, and dryness, all of which affect the condition of a piano, therefore:
- Avoid placing a piano against an outside wall.
- Don’t place a piano in front of a radiator or fire.
- Don’t place a piano in direct sunlight (use curtains to provide shade).
- Avoid subjecting a piano to extremes of temperature.
- Don’t bring liquids close to a piano (this includes placing mugs of tea or coffee, soft drinks, or goldfish bowls, on top). Liquids falling into a piano can cause serious damage to the mechanism.
A few guidelines concerning playing a piano:
- Use only fingers to play the piano, not fists, elbows, feet, or any other object.
- Even when using fingers don’t bang the keys down hard. Always play musically.
- Don’t attempt to lift the piano keys upwards.
A few words on cleaning:
- A slightly damp cloth can be used to clean the keyboard.
- Do not use any detergents or abrasives on any part of the piano.
- Experts recommend that you don’t use regular furniture polish for cleaning the wooden case of pianos! Some pianos have a polymer finish and others have lacquer. Using the wrong cleaning product can ruin the finish. Take advice from a piano technician as to what product to use.
Some final dos and don’ts:
- Don’t attempt to repair a piano yourself, ask a skilled piano technician who will have the special tools and know- how needed.
- Have the piano tuned regularly, that is at least twice a year.
- Don’t attempt to tune a piano yourself. You will most likely make the tuning worse – I know, I once tried!
- Pianos are heavy. Take great care when moving one.
Use professional piano movers when moving house. If not, expect to have a few scratches on your instrument when it arrives at your new home…or worse! Moving a piano is a specialist job and requires more than just muscle.
I lament when I see a piano abused or not looked after, sometimes simply through ignorance. Following the above guidelines will help keep your piano in good condition. Properly taken care of a piano can last more than a lifetime!
See the related article Buying a Used Piano