Should You Clean Your Piano Strings? Facts You Must Know
As we all know, Piano is a beautiful melodic keyed instrument which has been used for producing music since ages. Pianists and musicians often need to clean their piano to keep it in a good sounding form. The main piano sound comes from the Piano strings using the hammer-striking feature where the keys are responsible to trigger the sound.
Piano strings therefore need to be cleaned at regular intervals to keep your piano sound clean and crispy. These strings might get accumulated with dust, moisture, daily use chemicals or could be subject to mechanical wear and tear. Hence it is essential to perform regular inspection of your piano strings and clean them as and when necessary.
In this article we are going to highlight how to clean your piano strings regularly and also discuss about the role of piano strings in a piano so that our readers understand the importance of cleaning and maintenance of the piano strings.
How are Piano Strings Important for a Piano?
Piano strings are the main source of the sound for a Piano. The piano keys or notes are mounted on wooden hammers which strike the strings to produce the sound from the piano notes. Piano strings are usually made of high density carbon steel or even copper (for certain pianos).
So, it is highly essential to ensure that the piano strings are clean and in good condition so that the piano sound is not muffled, buzzing or degraded. In the subsequent section we shall cover-up on how to take care of your Piano strings and how to clean them with care so that your piano sound is intact.
In the next section we shall discuss about how to optimally take care of the piano strings and overall tips and tricks for keeping your piano strings in a decent condition for several years of playing and learning music.
How to Take Care of Your Piano Strings and Your Piano?
Piano strings are prone to Dust, Moisture or Rusting due to environmental conditions and lack of cleaning. Here are the most important tips for taking care of the piano strings of your piano:
DUST AND DIRT CLEAN-UP
- For dusty strings, use a soft wool duster or feather duster to clean the upper portion of the string assembly of your piano.
- For cleaning individual strings, you can use cotton plugs or a soft micro-fibre cloth.
- If you want to use brushes to clean, you can use soft bristles tooth brushes, small size paint brushes to clean the strings.
FOR RUSTED PIANO STRINGS
- If your piano strings are rusty, you can use a steel wool sponge or a wool brush to clean the rust from your strings.
- Do not apply any moisturizer or oil / grease to the strings with professional advice, doing so might de-tune and degrade them further.
- If you notice any breakage or de-gradation in the strings due to heavy rusting (which happens for vintage / old pianos), please consult a piano servicing technician or company to get your strings replaced and tuned.
For more details on Piano Servicing Options available for US and UK, please visit our article on – Piano Tuning and Services.
FOR MOISTURE CONTROL OF PIANO STRINGS
- Piano strings which are laden with high moisture content also need to be cleaned properly to avoid future rusting issues.
- It is very essential to control the moisture of the piano room or environment properly.
- To achieve this Piano Humidifiers are used to maintain humidity levels between the optimal range (30-70%) for Pianos. This in turn, prevents any damage to piano strings due to excess moist conditions of the room.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) What is the frequency of cleaning the piano strings, how often it has to be done?
Piano strings need to be cleaned as and when required. If they seem to be dusty, rusty or moist, it is time to clean them up or call for a professional help to re-string your piano. We suggest to check the piano every 15-20 days once for the status of your strings as a preventive measure.
2) If the strings are rusty, should I restring or replace them or clean them and continue playing?
If the piano strings are rusted and damaged to the extent that there in a thinning or breakage in the string it has to be replaced as soon as possible. If the rust has not damaged much of the string, you can clean it with a steel wool sponge or an abrasive brush gently and carefully.
3) What are the things I should avoid contact to my piano strings to prevent de-gradation?
- Proper moisture control in the piano room, plan to use a humidifier with 30-70% optimal humidity levels.
- Avoid contact of cleaning chemicals or acids on the piano strings
- Avoid direct contact with water or any liquid oily substances to the piano strings.
4) How much does a re-string session or a tuning session cost for my grand piano?
Piano technicians usually charge 50 – 100 Dollars for a tuning or re-string session for your grand, upright or acoustic piano. Some cases, for multiple visits might cost you 200-300 US Dollars if there are any mechanical defects which need monitoring and attention.
5) What are the materials a piano string is made of?
Piano strings are usually made of high density carbon steel. Some piano strings are also made of high density copper metals.
6) I stay in a damp and moist area. How can I avoid moisture contact for my piano strings?
Pianos need optimal moisture conditions between 30 – 70% of humidity for best performance and sound. If you are in a damp / moist area, you are advised to get a piano humidifier and maintain humidity levels within the prescribed range to control excess moisture contact on your piano strings.
For more details on moisture control for your Piano room, please go through our Article on Do Pianos need humidifiers?
Therefore, we must conclude that the Piano strings need to be cleaned regularly to prevent dust and moisture accumulation or to avoid them from rusting. Cleaning should be conducted at home using the various methods described above, however for professional cleaning and tuning services, we advise you to hire a piano specialist who can take care of the job.
For more articles on piano servicing, repairs and maintenance, please visit the PIANO Section of our website www.musicdetailed.com