As I have mentioned before, buying a piano is a big investment, it doesn’t matter if it’s brand new or second hand. Besides that, your piano is like your best mate; you spend hours with it, you play and learn with it; your piano transmits whatever you play or feel, you probably even have a name for it… if you want this relationship to last for long, you better start taking care of it.
It is not only about checking that it’s in tune once in awhile and wiping the dust off every week. It needs daily maintenance, which starts by playing it as often as you can, play it everyday for at least 30 minutes or more if you can. Why everyday? So you can become a better pianist and of course to check if your piano is still in perfect tune and if all the keys are working, etc.
Getting into cleaning action: let’s start with the keys. Isn’t it great to let your fingers glide over smooth and shiny ivory keyboards? But how can you keep them that way if you have people coming around and playing it all the time? It is recommended to clean the keys with a light soap solution preferably that of Ivory brand. You can clean the black and white keys using this method, but it is best to use different cloths for each of the keys (black and white). The cloth will pick up dust and the dust might get into the white keys, also a little of the color from the black keys could be picked up by the cloth.
Seeing your piano like an expensive and beautiful piece of furniture will help you to keep the cabinet in pristine condition. Piano finishes are equal or better to those used in fine furniture, specially those high-gloss finishes which needs a higher level of care. Consulting your piano dealer about which products to use to clean your piano would be ideal, however you can do a normal clean making sure to use a CLEAN SOFT CLOTH for wiping. DO NOT use that old cloth from the kitchen or the ones used for the general house cleaning as this could cause scratches.
To clean, wipe a damp rag over a small portion and then immediately wipe the area with a dry cloth. The wet portion must not be left wet for more than a minute. Repeat this process until the entire cabinet is cleaned.
If you wanna get fancy and polish your piano cabinet, it is best to use piano polish or furniture paste wax. If you buy one of those modern wood cleaner/polisher, make sure it does not have alcohol as this could cause an unwanted reaction with the finish of your piano. If you simply wanna play it safe, go to your local piano store and ask for the products specially designed for polishing and cleaning the piano cabinet.
Another very important thing to be aware of is the effects of extreme
temperature changes. Changes from hot to cold or cold to hot and humidity are your piano’s worst enemies and they can cause it to go out of tune, especially humidity. Remember wooden instruments are living things.
And the last thing to make sure of is to get your piano fully serviced at least 2 or 3 times a year. What does the full service includes? They will check three basic things, pitch, tone and touch. So if you want your piano to be sounding great but also feeling good when playing it, you have to find a qualified person for servicing your piano.
Here is a very helpful website to find out a technician near you.
Good luck with your piano maintenance.