This blog is an adaptation of the YouTube video posted below. Read here or watch the video, they are essentially the same. Or, do both! Scroll further down for a FREE downloadable tipsheet to keep for easy access!
Taking care of your piano is vital to not just getting a good sound - you are investing in the longevity of your instrument and the respect you give it suggests to your psyche that playing the piano is important to you.
When you're not using your piano it's a good idea to put the cover down. I know, it’s crazy, you want to show it off to your dinner guests - but you can always lift the cover up when you know people will be visiting. If you keep the cover up it means that you're avoiding getting a layer of dust on the keys and that's less cleaning to have to do!
When you do feel like you need to clean your keys just get a cotton cloth and dampen it with a little bit of water and clean all the keys. Wiping them lightly should get all the fingerprints and any residue off.
If the damp cloth doesn't cut it you can use a mild soap or a dishwashing detergent. Put a very small amount on the cloth and then rub the keys lightly. Don't pour soap or detergent directly onto the keys! You want to avoid having any sort of chemicals or solvents on the keys at all, otherwise you risk losing that special texture that we like to have where our fingers glide across the keys rather than sticking to them.
To clean the outer case, again, a damp cloth is best to get off the fingerprints, but if you do want to use some sort of a polish make sure that is water-based and doesn't contain silicone.
A little cheeky trick with a vacuum cleaner is to use one of the furniture brush nozzles on the end of your cleaner and vacuum over the keys. Make sure you’re using a soft brush nozzle and not one of the harder ones because it will scratch it up.
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If you're tempted to clean up underneath the hood you can also use a vacuum cleaner there. If it's getting a bit dusty you can put your vacuum cleaner onto reverse, on the blow cycle, and blow out any dust or debris that you can get to. Try not to make contact with the strings or the hammers. To blow that dust out make sure you open all the windows and doors in the room first and maybe get a fan so you can cycle all dust from the house. It’s a good idea to clean the house after, not before, you dust-bomb everything!
If there’s anything really stuck in there or you have mildew or insect damage (especially if it’s a really old piano) you need to get a technician in to sort that out, don't attempt dealing with it yourself.
Keep all drinks and liquids far away from your precious piano. Any sort of liquid or water damage to the action of the keys or any of the mechanics inside the piano will simply destroy it. So don't even do it!
Finally play your piano regularly. Obviously it’s going to be great for making progress in your playing but also this keeps up the health of your piano. It stops insects and even rodents getting in there and making a little home for themselves. If you’re constantly playing and moving around the inner mechanics of the piano it will discourage any invaders and keep it in great shape.
Those are my tips for keeping your piano in tip-top condition!