Cleaning your piano’s keys
Don’t be afraid to clean the white keys on your piano. Take a damp cloth and a mild soap, like a dishwater soap, and rub out accumulated dirt stains. Make sure the soft cloth you use is thoroughly rung out so that no water seeps down the sides of the keys. After cleaning with a damp cloth wipe the keys with a dry cloth.
Cleaning the finish
Modern piano finishes do not need polishes or waxes. Polishes and waxes can actually cloud up the finish and in some cases damage it. Never use an aerosol spray on your piano. Dust can scratch, so when you dust your piano, dust lightly. A feather duster works well, or start with a damp cloth and finish with a dry one. If heavier cleaning is necessary to remove finger prints and smudges, start by dusting and then use a mild cleaning solution like Murphy’s Oil Soap. Try to clean in the direction of the wood grain and with long strokes.
If you feel you absolutely need a polish, two common products that are OK to use are Guardsman Furniture Polish and OZ Cream Polish. A more thorough discussion of the merits and demerits of polish and the basic care of your piano’s finish can be found at the Piano Technicians Guild Web Site http://www.ptg.org/Scripts/4Disapi.dll/4DCGI/cms/review.html?Action=CMS_Document&DocID=60&MenuKey=Menu7
Cleaning under the strings
One question I get asked a lot is how do you clean under the strings on a grand piano. If the dust has been there for a long time and has settled firmly, you will have to ask your piano technician to clean it. He will have special tools for getting under the strings and removing settled dust. If you have a new grand piano and want to keep it dust free, forced air will blow the dust to the back of the soundboard where it can be wiped up. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner with the capability to blow a strong stream of air, take a deep breath and try blowing it out with your own breath. Blowing loose dust with your breath can work quite well, but be warned that you may end up inhaling a little dust when you take another breath.