Caring for your piano


An acoustic piano is both an instrument and a beautiful piece of furniture. And a necessary tool for piano lessons. Keeping your instrument in top working condition is key to successful practice and learning.


The furniture portions of the instrument (any wood you can see) should be cared for like any other furniture.  Normal dusting and the occasional wood polish will be all that’s required to keep it looking wonderful!  Scratches, mars, or water stains can be treated just as you would for any other fine furniture.


The keys of the piano can be cleaned with any sort of all purpose cleaner.  Just be careful to spray the cleaner onto your rag, not directly onto the keys.  You do not want the liquid to run down into the keys as this can damage the raw wood inside.  


Climate fluctuations (both temperature and humidity levels) can damage your instrument.  Try to situate your piano where the temperature and humidity levels are consistent.  Don’t put it by a vent that blows heat or air conditioning directly onto it.  If your key cover closes tightly without any air gap, leave it open so as not to trap humidity inside the instrument.


The care for the rest of your instrument is best left to those with training to do it properly.  


Maryland cycles through all four seasons and has extreme climate changes.  Most people need to have their pianos tuned at least twice a year.   You can ask your tuner to pay attention to the other details of your instrument while tuning.  They can often tell when a problem is brewing and help you fix it before it becomes serious.


As you practice, take note of anything not working:.a key that sticks down or doesn’t pop back up easily, a pedal that doesn’t move up and down, or produces no change in sound when it does, the surfaces of the keys starting to look unlevel.


There are nearly 1500 adjustments that can be made within the working mechanism of a piano.  If any of these are starting to slip, which does occur naturally over time, your tuner can correct them.  Having them all corrected properly is called “regulating” and can be very expensive if minor ones are not taken care of as they pop up.


A properly maintained instrument can last you a lifetime.  


This article covers the basics of what you should know.  If you’d like more detailed information, it is available from the piano technician’s guild.