Steinway Piano Care and Maintenance Tips
Your piano is a magnificent instrument. It is also an exquisite example of the cabinetmaker’s art, and deserves the care and respect you would accord any fine piece of furniture.
M. Steinert & Sons recommends products designed expressly to ensure the safe, proper treatment of your piano’s hardwood case. Adapted from time-proven formulas and performance-tested to meet our standard of excellence, our furniture care products are excellent for protecting and preserving the finish on your piano.
In normal circumstances, the exterior of the piano is easy to keep clean. A piece of clean cheesecloth, lightly dampened with our Cleanse and Condition, is a safe product to use for wiping away dust and finger marks. If you have used wax on your piano, Cleanse and Condition will also safely remove the wax buildup. Otherwise, we recommend wax be removed by a professional furniture care specialist. Using wax on the surface is not recommended.
Always wipe with the grain, as this is the direction in which the piano was originally polished before leaving our factory. Always wipe the surface in a straight line, never with a circular motion, as this will eventually cause the surface to lose its luster. A piano should always be wiped in the direction in which it was originally polished. This direction will be obvious when you look at the surface carefully.
Do not use solvents of any kind to clean either the black or white keys. Solvents can ruin the finish of the keys. Use only a clean piece of cheesecloth, lightly dampened, to wipe the keys. Be very careful that dampness does not seep between the keys or down into the keybed. Dampness in the keybed can cause swelling and hamper the free play of the keys.
Do not put pots, vases, pictures, drinks or objects of any kind on top of the piano. The finish can be damaged by any foreign objects placed upon it and, in addition, they can have a detrimental effect on the sound of the piano. Liberal application of common sense in the care of your piano’s finish is the wise course, remembering that it is both a delicate instrument and a fine piece of furniture.
The interior of your piano should be out of bounds to you and your family. Any dealings with your piano’s interior should be handled by a qualified piano technician.
The interior should be cleaned by a professional every 2 to 3 years, depending upon the exposure to dust and dirt to which your piano is subjected. If this step is neglected, you run the risk of exposing the piano’s complex workings to undue wear at the hands of abrasive dust and dirt particles. If a pencil, coin, hairpin, or foreign object of any kind should fall into your piano it should be removed at once by a professional piano technician. Foreign objects can seriously affect the action and tone of the piano.
Your piano was tuned many times before it left the factory. It has a specific pitch depending on the make and model. If it is a Steinway, it was tuned to and should be maintained at a 440 pitch for New York models or 443 pitch for Hamburg models. These are the internationally accepted standards and the standards for which all Steinway pianos are engineered.
Unfortunately, no matter how expertly a piano is tuned, atmospheric variations, particularly humidity, and the nature of the piano’s construction constantly conspire to bring it off pitch.
Your piano has been designed and built so that in normal use and under normal conditions it should need only periodic tuning. We recommend that your tuner be called at least 1 to 2 times a year. You, however, are the final judge and should have the piano tuned as often as you think necessary. To put the matter of tuning into perspective, remember that a concert piano is tuned before every performance and a piano in a professional recording studio, where it is in constant use, is tuned 3 or 4 times each week as a matter of course.
Tuning is an art practiced by skilled professionals and under no circumstances should anyone other than a professional be allowed to try to tune your piano.\
See our recent article How Much Does it Cost to Tune a Piano
Proper humidity control is an important part of piano maintenance. Review our Humidity Guidelines.
Contact Us for Help
Should your piano require any further care, we recommend that you contact M. Steinert & Sons for assistance.
Click here for more information on obtaining piano care products.