One of the most common questions I am asked is, “How should I care for my piano?” I always thought this a slightly odd question. When I started Pianolobby, I had never considered how a piano ought to be looked after. The sum total of my thoughts was, get it tuned every six months and keep it away from radiators.
The question is really about looking after the casework. Pianos are wonderful instruments but they are large pieces of furniture which can attract dust and can also end up being covered in fingerprints and marks over time if not properly polished and cared for. When and what polishes should you use on your piano?
Most pianos have the shiny black polyester finish and careful polishing is required to ensure you don’t damage or mark the surface.
Treat a piano as a high-quality piece of furniture. The reflective surface looks nice and is easy to get a high shine but is easily ruined by fingerprints and other marks. To restore the high gloss finish actually needs very little polishing but will be necessary from time to time. The first rule is to avoid the basic home spray polish, certain ingredients may harm the finish on your treasured piano.
Use a high-quality piano polish that doesn’t contain alcohol or silicone. I tend to use Lacquer Polish from Yamaha or Steinway Furniture Care. Both are very gentle and easily obtainable from online retailers. Take care not to over polish. Your piano will not need polishing every day, once in a while is fine.
Purchase a soft microfiber cloth that can be used for polishing the surface. Apply a small amount of piano polish to the microfiber cloth and apply very gently. Gently buff off the polish which will create that fantastic piano shine.
Make sure gentle pressure is applied while polishing and regularly turn the polishing cloth to avoid scratching the surface with any dirt or debris you might pick up along the way. The microfiber cloths are far less likely to cause scratches as dirt and dust gets sucked up by the tiny fibres and away from the surface of the cloth.
POLISHING THE KEYS
Over time, piano keys naturally become soiled and marked. Do not use polish on your piano keys. This will have the effect of making the keys slippery, when what is really needed is a little resistance. Clean using a soft, clean cloth which is very lightly dampened with a mixture of water and mild soap or detergent. Wipe the keys back to front to making sure moisture does not go between the keys and into the workings of the piano. Use a dry cloth to buff off the keys as you go.
Your piano as mentioned above doesn’t need polishing very often, but regular dusting is a good idea. Dust can be very abrasive and even a small build up could lead to scratches and scuffs if they are not carefully removed. Use the microfiber cloth to gently wipe the surface of the piano on a weekly basis.
Putting drinks or vases on your piano is a recipe for disaster. Liquids and pianos never mix well and it is the piano that would suffer.
Avoid using spray polish to clean your piano. These cheap polishes are more likely to do more harm than good and some contain chemicals or ingredients such as alcohol and silicone that might damage the piano casework.
Keep your piano out of direct sunlight. This will damage the surface of your piano and the heat and cooling from the rising and falling of the sun will have an adverse effect on the inside of the piano too.
Avoid putting your piano near heat sources such as radiators and fires for the same reason. Humidity and temperature changes can damage the piano and the sound it produces.
I hope this is of practical help. I am not a french polisher and therefore not an expert on these matters, but I hope there is enough common sense things here. If you have any other suggestions or corrections, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading.