How to Take Care your Piano
Method 1: Preventing Damage
1. Put your piano in a suitable place. Pianos are made almost entirely of cast iron for the frame, steel wires set at high tension, a lot of wood, felt, and glue. As a result, they are vulnerable to high humidity and extreme temperatures. As temperatures and humidity levels fluctuate, parts of your piano swell and shrink, and in extreme cases, glue joints fail and soundboards crack. To prevent such damage, place your piano in a room with consistent temperatures and humidity levels year-round. An ideal temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit; an ideal humidity level about 50 percent.
- Avoid locations near AC vents, heaters, fireplaces, high-traffic doors, and rooms with large windows. Temperatures and humidity levels in these locations are less stable.
- To maintain a consistent humidity level, you may have to use a humidifier in the winter when it’s less humid, and a dehumidifier in the spring and summer as humidity levels rise.
- Unless your basement is climate-controlled, keep your piano above ground level.
- If possible, put the piano in a room that your pets avoid.
2. Cover the keys when not in use. Covering your piano’s keys prevents dust from accumulating between the keys and limits exposure to other contaminants such as pet hair. If your piano comes with a built-in cover (also known as a fallboard or back-fall), make sure you use it. If your piano lacks a key cover, you can buy one online or from a music store. They are easy to find, relatively cheap, and worth every penny.
- You can also cover the entire piano with a drop cloth. This will protect the keys and keep dust and contaminants out of the inside of your piano.
3. Keep liquids at a distance. Spilled liquids can damage your piano’s wood finish and cause irreversible internal damage. Never use your piano as a surface for food or drink. You’ll find that the temptation to place drinks on your piano is greatest in high-traffic rooms. If your piano makes for a convenient surface for you or your guests, consider moving it to a more isolated area.
4. Play your piano. Playing your piano regularly keeps moving parts in good working order, makes it easier to identify problems, and prevents service lapses. You should try to play your piano at least once a week.
Method 2: Caring for your Piano
1. Dust. Every couple of weeks, you should clean the piano’s keys with mild soap and a damp cloth. Dry them immediately. You can clean your piano’s outer surfaces like any other finished surface, but avoid aerosol cleaners that contain chemicals, silicon, or solvents. You should also avoid dusting the inside of your piano. Leave that to a pro.
2. Find a piano technician. The care of your piano’s inner workings should be left to a registered piano technician (RPT). You can book our Shackleford Piano Tuning Service, we offer a world-class piano tuning and repair service.
3. Tune the piano regularly. To tune a piano, a technician adjusts the tension of your piano’s 200+ strings so that notes play in the proper pitch. How often your piano needs tuning will depend on how often you play. But whether you play a lot or a little, you need to budget for tuning – about twice per year. Playing an out-of-tune piano will increase the wear on the instrument.
- You may need to have your piano tuned more frequently during the first year of ownership since new wire slowly stretches (or “creeps”) during the initial months of playing.
- Your piano may also slip out of tune as it adjusts to the temperature and humidity of your home.
4. Ask about voicing. Voicing is the adjustment of your piano’s overall quality of sound or tone. For example, a piano’s tone can be soft, brittle, or robust. Your piano’s tone is a personal preference, and a lot depends on how you want your piano to sound. However, you should ask about voicing if your piano’s tone varies radically from note to note, if your piano can no longer play softly, or if you notice any changes in your piano’s tone.
- As parts start to wear, the tone of your piano will naturally change. This is not a sign of damage.
5. Ask about regulation. The more you play your piano, and the more climatic changes your piano undergoes, the more your piano’s parts settle, compact, stretch, and change dimension. Regulation involves adjusting and replacing these worn or warped parts to optimize your piano’s overall performance. You should ask your technician about regulation if you’ve had your piano tuned recently, yet your piano still sounds off.
- If your piano’s keys are uneven or stick when you are playing, ask about regulation right away.