Piano Buyer Guide

How to take care of your piano

1. Put your piano in a suitable place.

Pianos are made almost entirely of wood, felt, and glue. As a result, they are vulnerable to high humidity and extreme temperatures. As temperatures and humidity levels fluctuate, parts of your piano swell and shrink, and in extreme cases, glue joints fail and soundboards crack.[1] To prevent such damage, place your piano in a room with consistent temperatures and humidity levels year-round. An ideal temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit; an ideal humidity level about 50 percent.[2]

Avoid locations near AC vents, heaters, fireplaces, high-traffic doors, and rooms with large windows. Temperatures and humidity levels in these locations are less stable. To maintain a consistent humidity level, you may have to use a humidifier in the winter when it’s less humid, and a dehumidifier in the spring and summer as humidity levels rise.

Unless your basement is climate-controlled, keep your piano above ground level. If possible, put the piano in a room that your pets avoid.

2. Cover the keys when not in use.

Covering your piano’s keys prevents dust from accumulating between the keys and limits exposure to other contaminants such as pet hair. If your piano comes with a built-in cover (also known as a fallboard or back-fall), make sure you use it.[3] If your piano lacks a key cover, you can buy one online or from a music store. They are easy to find, relatively cheap, and worth every penny.

You can also cover the entire piano with a drop cloth. This will protect the keys and keep dust and contaminants out of the inside of your piano.

3. Keep liquids at a distance.

Spilled liquids can damage your piano’s wood finish and cause irreversible internal damage.[4] Never use your piano as a surface for food or drink. You’ll find that the temptation to place drinks on your piano is greatest in high-traffic rooms. If your piano makes for a convenient surface for you or your guests, consider moving it to a more isolated area.

4. Play your piano. Playing your piano regularly keeps moving parts in good working order, makes it easier to identify problems, and prevents service lapses. You should try to play your piano at least once a week.