How To Clean and Polish Your Piano Finish

How To Clean and Polish Your Piano Finish

Your piano is a delicate balance between looks and sound. And while your piano might sit next to a table, armoire, or even curio cabinet, you can’t clean it in the same fashion. 

Different finishes require different levels of care. What’s the best way to clean and polish your piano?

Satin Finishes 

For some people, a piano with a satin finish is the only way to go. You’ll notice a satin finished piano anywhere in the room. It reflects light easily, and is usually finished with a lacquer, polyester, or some other finish that gives it its unique shine. 

To achieve this look, multiple layers of finish are rubbed into the wood. Between each layer, the finish is lightly sanded before the next layer is applied. By the time the final coat is laid into place, the high-gloss sheen gives it its signature look. 

What gives it its shine also makes it difficult to clean. Oils from fingerprints are easily trapped and are not easily removed. If you rub the finish the wrong way, you’ll be able to see the cleaning trails in the shine. 

To keep this finish looking its best, less is more. Never use water on the finish. However, you can use a dry-damp microfiber cloth with back and forth motion to wipe it down. Avoid waxes, petroleum-based products, cleaning products you get from your favorite big box store, and any product with ammonia. These products will all strip the finish and cause it to dull. 

High-gloss Finishes

A high-gloss finish will reflect both light and images, and is usually created using a polyester material. It combines synthetic resins that harden during curing, and create a hardness that’s durable. 

One of the main reasons this stands out over satin finishes because it’s easier to maintain. More traditional cleaning products may not hurt the finish, but they can lead to an uneven appearance. It’s a good idea to keep your cleaning methods simple, using a mild solution to clean up messy spots. Microfiber clothes are an easy way to clean messes and fingerprints from the finish. 

Open-pore Finishes

If you opt for a natural wood veneer instead of an ebony finish, you might have an open-pore finish. They are created in similar fashion to other furniture you keep in your home, such as tables or headboards. They are created by sanding the wood to a smooth finish, then applying a sealer and a coat or two of lacquer to seal in the wood. 

If you own a piano with this type of finish, you can care for it similarly to your other furniture items made out of similar materials. Just be sure to stick with natural materials, as product containing things like paraffin waxes can leave a sticky residue on the finish. Avoid spraying any product near any of the working parts, such as the keyboard or turning pins or strings, as this could damage and corrode the materials. 

What do you do to clean and polish your piano?