Cleaning fine musical instruments such as the piano is essential in ensuring its longevity. Proper care and maintenance should be followed to avoid letting dust, perspiration, and other harmful particles damage it. It is also critical to choose the right cleaning products to use particularly for a piano with a black finish. A well-maintained instrument will not only look good but sound good as well.
While it is not required to do a thorough cleaning every single day, make a habit of dusting the piano with a soft cloth after each time you play. This is to make certain that there are no sweat residue or body oils left on the instrument. This clean-after-playing habit would help avoid seeking professional help often.
The care for ebony black piano and black lacquered piano is slightly different from cleaning other pianos with a different sheen or finish. Dust, streaks, and scratches are easily visible on them. This is the reason why regular furniture cleaning products should not be applied to these special musical instruments.
To thoroughly clean the piano, here are some of the important and practical tips you need to follow.
Cleaning Ebony Black Piano
To give proper care to this delicate instrument, it is highly recommended to choose cleaning products that are specially made for them. Choose the appropriate cleaning cloth, cleaning solution, polishes, and conditioners if they are available to you. There is no risk involved and the result is satisfactory. Products used for ebony black piano can work pretty well with poly and lacquer finishes but avoid using satin sheen polish for the lacquer finish as it contains silicone which can be bad for it in the long run. Use other safe options such as soap and water solution if specially formulated cleaning products are unavailable.
Cleaning Black Lacquer Finish Piano
The black lacquer finish is applied to the piano to protect the wood from being easily damaged as well as projecting a glossy luxurious look. However, dirt and fingerprint smudges are easily visible due to this type of wood finish. The good thing about it is that it can easily be removed. It only needs a regular cleaning routine, such as gently wiping it with a damp micro fabric cleaning cloth after dusting it off. You can polish black lacquer finish piano with the high-gloss polish, but only if you have to and do not get heavy-handed on the spray. Do not forget to spray it on the cloth and not directly on the piano. Ensure that you only use what is made for this type of finish. Never use silicone-based products.
Polishing Your Piano
One of the most frequently asked questions by piano owners is if it is okay to polish the piano. Generally, manufacturers would suggest not polishing it as most polish products have the potential of ruining the finish in the long run. It might even contribute to the corroding of the mechanism if it reaches the insides of the instrument. That being said, there are some polishing products today that can be safely used but sparingly. To avoid over-layering of chemicals onto the surface of the instrument, do not make it a habit to polish it. You can do it but only if necessary.
Techniques On How to Clean Piano Black Finishes
Always Remove the Dust First
It is never good to apply any cleaning product before dusting it off first. Dust is the number one culprit in scratching the finish of the instrument. It needs to be removed properly by using a feather duster. Gently dust the surface as well as the keys. To pick up any remaining dust that was not removed by the feather duster, get a soft damp cloth and gently wipe it off. Be sure to remove extra water from the cleaning cloth by wringing it thoroughly. Do not forget to choose any soft cotton fabric and avoid using rough or coarse material.
Correct Wiping Pattern To Avoid Leaving Streaks On Piano
Oftentimes after cleaning, streaks are visible on the surface of the piano with a black finish and this is due to the circular wiping pattern that people are so used to doing when cleaning anything. Do it properly with long straight strokes when wiping it with a damp soft fabric and then follow it up immediately with a clean, dry cotton cloth. This method is a surefire way to avoid streaking or puddling.
Test the Piano Polish Before Apply On Piano
Just like in any cleaning product or polish, not all of them are created equal, and not all of them react the same way to every surface. If unsure of the polish, it is recommended to test its compatibility first in an inconspicuous area. For an elegant black piano finish, you can never be too careful. Make this a habit before using any new product.
Use Soap and Water Mixture
The soap and water solution is less risky than any other cleaning product out there, but only if a mild soap is used. For an ebony black piano, a mixture solution of 50/50 is just right to clean the surface particularly those areas with hard stain or dirt. For those with a black lacquered finish, a mixture solution of just a coin-size drop of the liquid soap will do. You may also use oil soap as it works well with wood.
Use Denatured Alcohol and Water Solution
A mixture of denatured alcohol and water is also a great cleaning solution to piano black finishes. It is a type of alcohol where the ethanol content has been adjusted to work as a cleaning agent in furniture finishes. Make sure to dilute the alcohol by using two parts water and one part denatured alcohol to come up with the cleaning solution. Mix it first before applying using a micro fabric cleaning material. Let the solution sit for about half a minute on areas with tough grime or mold for easy removal. Always wipe it dry afterward.
Things To Avoid
Avoid Rubbing Roughly When Cleaning
When dealing with hard stains or heavy dirt, it is quite tempting to rub it roughly to ensure that it is removed, but it will damage the surface of the piano. It is best to leave the soap and water mixture on the area and let the mixture softened it up for easy removal. The soap will not be absorbed by the wood finish even if it suds up fast. It will also help in sanitizing the area with the thickest dirt.
Don’t Use a Furniture Polish to Clean Piano Black Finishes
One of the misconceptions that most people have and still practice is the use of furniture polish when cleaning musical instruments. These instruments are delicate and in need of special care, but people get confused as the outer layer of the piano is made of wood. For instance, the popular Pledge can work great with all types of wood, but it was not created to be used on pianos. Those with satin finish piano owners would undoubtedly regret polishing them with it as it will only leave grease on it. Just imagine what it would do if the inside mechanism was sprayed on as well; the grease buildup will end up damaging not only the surface but the insides as well.
Avoid Using Regular Windex Sprays
Regular Windex works great with removing heavy stain and tough dirt, but they are not to be used on ebony black pianos. The ammonia content of the product would damage the finish of the instrument. Undoubtedly, the dirt would be removed, but it would also leave a blue hue on the surface and potentially cause cracks to form that would lead to further damage.
On the other hand, there is an ammonia-free version of Windex, and it is safer to use on pianos. However, make sure to never directly spray it on the instrument but only to the cleaning cloth and in small doses.
It is important to inform everyone in your home to treat the piano with extra care. While the outer covering of the instrument is mostly made of wood, it cannot be treated as regular furniture. Prevention is better and cheaper than cure. Make it a habit of telling everyone not to place any beverages or food on the surface. This is to avoid spillage that will lead to heavy stains. If you want your musical instrument to last longer, then avoid anything that can lead to irreversible damage.