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  • Bonnie

How to Clean and Shine Your Piano in A Therapeutic Way

Updated: Jul 23, 2022

Who enjoys cleaning? Most people will probably shy away, I guess. Nobody likes to clean, to be honest. But it is also something we can't avoid at some point in time, unfortunately.

As a music teacher, I must maintain all my musical instruments to keep them in tip-top condition. More than ever, cleaning and sanitizing the keys have been essential to my regime.

So how can it be therapeutic, you may ask? I am not a professional therapist, but anything that you do that makes you feel calm and relaxed is therapeutic. Of course, listening to soothing music in the background while doing the task helps too.

As a meticulous person, I need to focus while cleaning and polishing my piano. I am checking every little detail in the process of cleaning. So unconsciously, I am concentrating on getting the job done correctly. Focusing the mind on a particular activity, in this case, seems quite similar to meditation, don't you agree? This repeated activity slowly led to a calm and peaceful environment for me, thus THERAPEUTIC. For some others, it may be doing gardening, painting, or just taking a walk.

In any scenario, you should also set aside ample time to do something instead of rushing through it.

Anyway, when you next clean your piano, think of it as therapeutic, and you might be more eager to start :)

So what do you need exactly to clean your musical instruments?

First of all, know your piano. Is your piano finished in high-gloss, lacquer, satin, etc.? What material are the keys made of?

My current Kawai piano has a high-gloss finish with acrylic/phenol keys.

Here are some things I use for mine

  • Key Cleaner - for the white and black keys

  • Piano Polish - for exterior finish

  • Soft cloth

  • Duster

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Soft toothbrush - to gently scrub off dirt for hard to reach areas

1) You can start with a quick and light vacuuming of the gaps between the keys. Next, dust the keys again to make sure they are clean.

2) Apply the key cleaner onto a soft cloth. It would help if you used the back-to-front motion to clean the keys. You can probably go over the 88 keys twice, ensuring they are nice and dry.

* For a standard 61 keys keyboard, follow steps 1 and 2 and remove the dust on the panel with a soft cloth afterward. Use a keyboard cover for easier future maintenance.

3) Next is polishing the piano finish. Before polishing, use a soft, slightly damp cloth to remove dust, dirt, or fingerprints. You repeat this procedure with another dry cloth if necessary.

For me, I use the same soft cloth to apply both the key cleaner and piano polish. Just use different parts of the fabric. I usually prefer to pour the polish liquid onto the polishing cloth rather than directly on the piano itself. Also, if you are unsure of the product, you may want to test a small "not so obvious" part of the piano. Use a good polish that is made for pianos, not household products.

4) As with most polishing, I like to leave the polish to set a little before rubbing off so it will shine better. Do small sections at a time. In gentle movements to avoid scratching. Just make sure you polish every part of the piano from top to bottom and even the piano cover and music rack avoiding any fabric or brass material like the hinges, etc.

5) If you know how to open the bottom cover, you can also vacuum inside but avoid touching the heater or strings, focusing mainly on the bottom corners. If not, please call and wait for a professional to do it.

The AFTER, look at the shine...

Seeing a beautiful piano at the end is so worth every minute. By the way, don't forget to polish the legs of the piano bench as well. They are a set.

Now for the not-so-therapeutic part. Wash, clean, and keep the polishing cloth, brushes, duster, etc., after all the polishing. I like rinsing the polishing cloth with some softener to maintain the softness for the next polish.

Upkeeping your piano this way will make it look newer for longer. To me, I feel better too playing on a highly polished instrument as well. How about you?


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