I often hear customers ask how they should go about cleaning their piano. It's a great question because it shows that you want to keep your piano in great shape and learn how to take care of it well. Cleaning your piano regularly also helps preserve the resale value of your instrument.
The first step is to clean the keys. For day to day cleaning, I usually recommend using a feather duster or a slightly damp cloth to remove the dust or grime on the keys. When I am cleaning professionally, I also use a solution called KeyBrite that works wonders! It removes heavy grime built up over the years, and I highly recommend purchasing a bottle and using that every month or so. You just spray it on, and wipe it off with a cleaning cloth (I use a microfiber cloth).
The second step is to clean the case (the external wooden parts) of your piano. To start with, I take a cloth or feather duster to remove any dust that has settled. Secondly, take a slightly damp, non-abrasive cloth and clean the case, working in small sections. I've found that going with the grain of the wood works better than working in circular motions.
If you have a grand piano, the next step is to clean the soundboard of the piano. This can be a little tricky, so if you're not comfortable I would leave this to your piano tech. To clean the soundboard, first we want to remove as much dust as we can. I use canned air, or a vacuum on reverse (whichever is more readily available) to blow the loose dust off the soundboard and towards the bass section of the piano, where it can be cleaned easily.
Next, take a clean, non-abrasive cloth and insert it under the bass stings. Use a piece of doweling or other similar tool, inserting between the strings and pushing the cloth along the soundboard (see image below). Take care not to scratch the soundboard with whatever tool you use. There are specially made soundboard cleaning tools made to help with this too.
NOTE: NEVER USE ANY LIQUIDS TO CLEAN THE SOUNDBOARD OR THE STRINGS. (this can break the strings and warp the soundboard)
The last step is to polish the case of the piano. Determine what type of finish you have (high gloss, satin, natural wood) and use an appropriate polish. I carry several different polishes in my cleaning tool-bag, each for a different finish type.
The polishing procedure is similar to the cleaning procedure. Work in small areas, and apply the polish to the polishing cloth, and work with the grain of the wood.
For more involved cleaning, such as removing and cleaning the action of your piano, the soundboard, or the strings themselves, contact us to set up a Complete Service Package where we bring your piano back to life. These packages are designed to make your piano as close to "like-new" condition as possible, without replacing parts and rebuilding.
Cleaning your piano regularly is an easy way to maintain your piano yourself. Every little bit of dust, dirt, and grime affects the resonance and function of your piano.