Due to the very nature of the material they are made from, piano keys are susceptible to humidity
and fluctuations in temperature. Adding a piano into your home is not like just installing another
instrument or piece of furniture – it requires a little bit more attention – after all, if you’ve invested
in a beautiful piano you will want to keep it in perfect working order, with minimal intervention
from a technician.
Here are four tips on how to care for piano keys:
It might seem obvious, if your piano came with a lid, then there must be a logical reason for it –
i.e. that you close it when not in use... well, that’s not always the case! The lid, while it does serve
to protect the keys, is more used to keep stray, unwanted hands at bay. This applies in a home
environment, but especially in a public place where people are often tempted to show off their
range of musical skills. In fact, the lid should really be kept closed about 70% of the time. Keeping
the lid closed on your piano can give rise to moldy and humid conditions. What makes more
sense when assessing how to care for piano keys, is using a piano cover that’s made with fabric it
will allow the keys to breath and avoid trapping humidity.
Make sure food and drinks are kept away from your piano keys. Sounds obvious – but when you
have tired, young learners around a keyboard, sometimes a quick snack may encourage a few
more minutes of practice. Sometimes guests treat your precious piano as a table, placing coffee
cups, wine glasses and many other “hazardous” liquids that could cause untold damage to your
beautiful piano! Liquids can cause swelling to wood which is detrimental to the sound quality and
tone. One preventative solution is to invest in a water-proof piano cover which can limit, and
sometimes eliminate, damage caused by spillage.
Humidity affects the keys and the sound from your piano. Give careful consideration as to where
the piano is placed in the room, ensuring it is not too close to exterior walls where humidity may
permeate. Humidity can cause wooden parts to expand (or shrink in the case of reduced
humidity) and felt interiors can absorb humidity causing sound distortion. It is advisable to use a
dehumidifier in the room with the piano, but an added solution would be using a piano cover to
help protect the most exposed parts of your piano. The changes that can occur with humidity
fluctuations can happen within 24 hours and could mean needing expensive piano maintenance.
The temperature of a room is also very important as fluctuations can cause warping of keys,
splitting of wood and even affect the glue which is on some parts of the piano resulting in poor or
deteriorated sound. It is advisable to keep room temperature stable with the use of air
conditioner and/or heaters. Keeping pianos away from direct sunlight is also advisable but may
not always be possible. This is another situation when the use of a cover for a piano that protects
against UV rays is a good investment for anyone concerned about the damage that direct
sunlight may cause.
A very easy, simple solution to many of these problems is the use of piano key covers and a
piano top cover, which can be placed over the keyboards with ease and can limit damage and
costs. Universal piano covers, specific grand piano covers or upright piano covers could make
the difference to your beautiful instrument maintaining its original sound and beauty, providing
years and years of entertainment. See more piano care tips and tricks regarding how to care for
your piano on the Clairevoire blog!