• How to Clean your New Piano

    6 Jan 2017 | Blog
  • Did santa give you a piano under the Christmas tree and now you're wondering how to ensure you keep you piano clean without damaging it?  With regular maintenance and dusting, your piano shouldn’t require professional cleaning too often. However, it’s important to use the right products and techniques when you're cleaning in order to avoid damaging or scratching the piano.  Here are a few tips to our new piano owners that will help you along.

  • Cleaning Your Piano Keys

    Start with dusting your keys. Use a feather duster and apply light pressure to remove dust from the keys. Even dust can scratch the piano, so be very gentle. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies as well, such as between the keys. Make sure you dust your piano every couple days to prevent dust from settling and making its way into the soundboard and the action mechanism.

    If you are cleaning the keys figure out if they are ivory or plastic.  How do you tell which one you have?  Look very closely and see if you can find a grain pattern which is unique to each key.  There will be a very faint line where two pieces of ivory overlap.  The key will feel cold to the touch, and moisture will disappear into it.  Plastic keys will feel warm, and moisture will not penetrate.

    It's important to note ivory keys often get yellowed with time, especially if sunlight doesn't touch them.  There is a procedure to bleach them, but is not recommended for the owner as it requires the keys to be removed from the piano.  

    If you have ivory keys find a clean white cloth made of a soft and lint-free material like flannel or microfiber. Wet the cloth with clean water, and then wring out as much of the water as possible. Clean a few keys at a time by gently rubbing them with the damp cloth in a back-to-front direction. Immediately go over those keys with a dry cloth to remove any excess water before cleaning more keys. 

    Avoid coarse cloths, synthetic materials, and paper towels, all of which can scratch the keys. Don’t use colored materials, because they can transfer dye to the piano. Also, don’t use a side-to-side motion when cleaning, because this can push dirt and moisture down between the keys.

    With plastic keys they are synthetic and not porous like ivory so you can clean them with extra cleaning products if necessary. Plastic keys will always be perfectly flat and smooth, and they won’t have a grain or warp marks like ivory ones. To clean plastic keys, you'll need a cloth damp with water and cleaning solution, a cloth damp with just water, and a dry cloth.

    1. Fill a small bowl with clean water and a few drops of liquid dish detergent or vinegar. Mix the solution, then dip in a clean white flannel or microfiber cloth.
    2. Wring out the excess water and gently rub a few keys using the back-to-front motion.
    3. Take the cloth that’s damp with clean water and go over those keys to remove excess cleaning solution.
    4. Go over the keys with the dry cloth. Repeat with a few more keys until all the keys are clean and dry.

    Marks and residues: If there are stains or marks from a pen, it may be necessary to use a more aggressive procedure to remove them.  Using chemicals like polish remover is not recommended because they will melt plastic.  Toothpaste, or Flitz, or plastic polishes can be used with a cloth to remove stains and pen marks. Make sure you are very careful! If the marks won't go away, they may have to be sanded and buffed out.  Unless you're very handy and have experience polishing plastic yourself then it's best to call a professional in to ensure you don't damage your piano.

  • Cleaning Your Casework and Soundboard

    Clean the finish. Gently rub the outside of the piano with a clean damp cloth, working in small sections, and then drying those small sections with a dry cloth. Use straight strokes in the direction of the wood grain, rather than circular motions. This will prevent swirl marks and streaks.

    Be sure to use a non-abrasive cloth, such as cotton or microfiber. This process will remove dust from the casework and remove dirt, smudges, and fingerprints.

    Make sure the cloth is just slightly damp. You don’t actually want the damp cloth to leave behind any visible moisture.

    Polish the finish only when necessary. When polishing is necessary, apply a small amount of piano polish directly to a soft, lint-free cloth. Gently rub a small section of the piano in the direction of the grain. Be particularly delicate with corners and edges, where there's only a thin layer of finish. Then, wipe away any excess polish using a clean cloth.

    • It’s important that you use specific polish that’s safe for pianos, and only polish when the piano really needs a thorough cleaning, buffing, or has some fine scratches that need to be filled. Polishing can actually damage the finish on the piano, and if it gets inside, it can damage the action components.
    • Don’t use a high-gloss polish if your piano has a lacquer finish, because lacquer finishes aren't meant to be high-gloss. Instead, use a product with a satin finish. Only use high-gloss polishes on polymer finishes.
    • Do not use regular household furniture polish, avoid silicone-based products, avoid products with lemon oil, and don’t spray aerosol products on or near the piano, because they can damage the exterior and interior of the piano.
  • Calgary Piano Movers

    When it comes time to move your piano to a new home Calgary Piano Movers is here to help.  Our team of professional piano movers specialize in moving pianos and heavy items safely to their new homes.  To ensure your piano gets the best care call us today to book your appointment.