The Basic Rules of Piano Care

Keep your piano in tune. It was specifically designed to be tuned to the international pitch standard of A-440 cycles per second. Your piano will sound its best and give you and your family the most pleasure when it is tuned regularly and kept in proper playing condition.

Keep your piano clean. Keep the keyboard covered when not in use to prevent dust from accumulating (although ivory keys need some exposure to light to prevent yellowing). Clean keys by occasionally wiping them with a damp cloth and drying them immediately. If accumulated debris can’t be removed with a damp cloth, try wiping the cloth on a bar of mild soap or moisten with dishwashing detergent before wiping. Do not use chemicals or solvents to clean piano keys. Call a qualified piano technician to remove anything from the keys you can’t wipe away.

To maintain the piano’s finish, you may wipe the case with a damp cotton cloth to remove fingerprints, or polish with a reliable emulsion-type, water-based solution following the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid aerosol spray polishes that contain silicone. Your technician may suggest a specific brand name.

The maintenance of the inner working of the piano and regulation should be left to a qualified piano technician. Resist dusting the inside of your piano, oiling the moving parts, or using moth or insect repellents. Your piano technician will take care of all internal problems.

Try to maintain a fairly consistent temperature and humidity control in the room where your piano is placed. It’s important to keep your piano away from a heating register in winter, an air conditioning vent in the summer, a fireplace, a frequently opened window or outside door, and direct sunlight.

Play your piano regularly. You’ll get the most enjoyment from it and also reach your potential much faster. A disadvantage to idle pianos, assuming they also suffer a service lapse, is that a detrimental condition or environment can’t be identified, and an escalating problem can result in damage that might not have occurred with regular service. Tuning a piano after years of not having been tuned often requires a pitch raise. As a piano ages, it may begin to develop more major problems which your technician can help you assess. You may look into rebuilding or reconditioning the piano.

Keep all drinks and standing liquid containers off the piano. Should spilled water reach the action, notify you piano technician immediately. In many case, once liquids are spilled, the damage is irreversible which is why prevention is the safest rule to follow.

Select a piano technician with care. It’s not only important that the service person be competent to perform tuning, regulation and repairs, but also that the person be someone you feel comfortable calling with questions concerning your piano’s performance. Hiring a Registered Piano Technician who is committed to comprehensive service for your piano, and not just an occasional tuning, is your best assurance.

Do not perform repairs yourself. Though a problem may appear easy to solve (such as replacing a loose key ivory), a qualified technician will have the proper tools and parts to make repairs quickly and correctly. It’s important to remember that unsuccessful amateur repairs are usually much more expensive to fix than the initial problem and may decrease the value of your instrument.

Use only a professional piano mover to move your piano. You will avoid injury to yourself, your instrument, and your home.


The preceding article is a reprint of a brochure published by the Piano Technicians Guild, Inc. Used with permission.