Piano Care

Pianos are one of the most durable of personal possessions, but they are also one of the most complicated pieces of machinery you're likely to own. They are far more complicated than the car you drive or the computer you are using to read these words, and they (quite rightly!) tend to lead a pampered life in the best room of the house.

They are often passed down from generation to generation, and their size and weight give them the illusion of being able to last forever. While pianos certainly should last a long time, they're made of wood, plastic and metal. As the years go by seasonal changes take their toll, stressing wooden parts, straining glue joints and slowly corroding metals.

Felt hammers are pounded flat thanks to thousands and thousands of collisions with the strings, and years of friction eventually wear out the felt bushings in the instrument's action. How long a piano lasts will depend on the climate that it lives in, its usage and its maintenance and repair, so a number of important factors are within your control:
Your piano should be tuned at least once a year (it will go out of tune whether it is played or not). Older instruments can be less stable, and may require more regular tuning. Because new strings stretch as they are being worked in, a new piano will need to be tuned three or four times in the first year.
Piano Care
If you do drive a car, you probably don’t service it yourself. Nor should you attempt to tune your own piano! It’s a highly skilled job best left to the professionals. They have the right tools, parts and expertise, and will ensure that your piano’s playing mechanism is kept in perfect working order.
Pianos don’t like to be too hot or too cold. In warm, humid weather the strings and moving parts expand, causing the pitch to rise. In cool, dry weather they contract, causing the pitch to fall. As the parts don't expand and contract at the same rate, your piano will sound out of tune with itself.
A constant 18 to 21°C (65 to 70°F) is ideal. You should keep your piano away from radiators and fireplaces, and direct sunlight. Prolonged periods of changing humidity will eventually cause wooden parts to crack and glue joints to fail and, more seriously, lead to loose tuning pins or a split soundboard.
Keep vases, drinks and anything to do with liquid off your piano! Condensation can ruin the finish, and spillage into the inner mechanism may cause irreversible damage. A soft, dry cloth is usually fine to clean the keys, but if you do need to use a mild soap solution be sure to dry them thoroughly afterwards.
The casework should be cared for as you would a piece of fine furniture. Cleaning fluids and polish are best avoided as they soften the finish, and the silicone and oils found in many household brands can contaminate the wood. A soft, non-abrasive cloth will remove most marks, without leaving a film.