Can You Clean Piano Strings? (Steps Outlined)

Yes, through natural processes, piano strings do get dirty. However, the good news is that they are relatively easy to clean. This article explains the steps you should follow to clean your piano strings.

Do Piano Strings Get Dirty?

Piano strings get dirty with time, just like any other thing or instrument. This is especially true because strings are housed within the inner frame of the piano, which is only opened for maintenance and repairs.

When compared to the outside, which is always visible when dirty, piano owners may be unaware that the inside of their piano already requires cleaning.

Dust accumulates quickly and easily inside the piano. When it comes in contact with the strings, they habitually collect in between the upper strings, making it difficult to clean. As a result, your piano strings will begin to rust and stain.    

Do Pianos Sound Worse If They Have Dirty Strings?

The sound quality of your piano might be affected by your dirty piano strings. As previously stated, dust build-up in strings is difficult to remove and causes rust and stains, resulting in less frequency ringing strings.

This means that dirty strings are more likely to generate low volume tones and less vibrant sounds compared to clean strings. The sound of a piano can be livened by cleaning its strings.

Also, dirty piano strings have an impact on other piano parts, particularly the hammers. It will result in a stiffer and delayed response when striking a key, and would not work as efficiently as when they are clean.

Do You Need Clean Piano Strings?

It is true that piano players must clean their strings on a regular basis. The material used to produce piano strings is the fundamental reason why you must clean them. They are prone to corrosion and rust since they are comprised of high carbon steel and copper.

It is important to properly clean your piano strings and rust off them, especially when rust starts to build up because they are the main cause of why your strings snap or break.

It is highly recommended to also clean your string before tuning sessions to ensure that the tuned piano strings won’t go out of tune when you start playing them.  

How Do You Clean Piano Strings?

Being aware of the proper way in cleaning your piano strings is extremely important since doing so incorrectly can actually damage your strings. 

Here is a simple tutorial on how to clean your piano strings the right way.

Things You Need:

For removing dust and dirt:

  • Feather duster
  • Cotton swabs 
  • Paintbrush with soft bristles 

For removing rust and stains:

  • Coarse sponge
  • Steel wool
  • Piano sanding block

Protective gears when dealing with piano strings:

  • Masks
  • Gloves
  • Googles

For Finishing:

  • Damp cloth

Instructions:

  1. Prepare all of the materials specified above in order to thoroughly clean piano strings.
  2. For safety purposes, wear protective gloves, mask and goggles.
  3. Using one of the dusting materials described above, remove the dust from the piano string. This action is best done with a feather duster or a soft-bristled paintbrush. To do this, brush or dust the dirt out of between the piano strings gently; it’s important to shake off your selected material every now and then to avoid spreading dust inside the piano.
  4. For rust and stains, you can use any of the abovementioned materials to get rid of them. Gently rub your chosen material against the strings including the bridge pins and hitch pins to ensure that you eliminate all the dust and stains from all areas.
  5. For finishing, use a damp cloth and lightly wipe the piano strings, bridge pins, and hitch pins to ensure that you wipe off all the dust, rust, and stain residue off your piano strings.

Things to avoid when cleaning the piano

For your own safety, it is advised that you wear the above-mentioned protective gear. Protective gloves protect your hand from scratches and cuts that piano string may inflict. 

When working with piano strings, it’s also a good idea to wear gloves. Because piano strings are sensitive, the oil in our hands may come into contact with them, causing the strings to rust and stain, which further leads to the strings snapping and breaking.

Additionally, when rubbing the rust off piano strings, they turn into rust powder, which is extremely toxic to inhale and causes irritation when it comes into contact with our eyes, necessitating the use of protective masks and goggles at all times when cleaning piano strings.

Can You Use Normal Household Cleaners On Piano Strings?

You may use normal household cleaning equipment in cleaning piano strings except for chemicals and solutions. Feather duster, cotton swabs, paintbrush, coarse sponge, steel wool, and a damp cloth are just some of the household materials you can use.

If you don’t have any of these, you can improvise with what you have, creating your own DIY cleaning equipment. For instance, combining a barbeque stick with cotton or cloth works fine as a duster. 

Chemicals and solutions are detrimental to piano strings because they are susceptible to oil and moisture. It’s best to avoid using these as cleaning solutions because they could lead to more harm than good.

Do You Need A Professional To Clean Piano Strings Or Can You Do It Yourself?

You can clean piano strings on your own if you want to. But, a piano technician or someone else who has relevant experience in cleaning or dealing with piano strings, in general, is highly advised. You can start by contacting a piano technician to clean your strings once so you can see and observe how they do it.

It’s also a good idea to ask them questions in order to clear up any doubts or concerns you may have. After all, you’ll be paying them a service fee anyhow, so you might as well get your money’s worth. After everything is made clear, you can then clean your piano strings by yourself.

Nowadays, almost everything can be found on the internet. If you want to clean your strings on your own, you can search for instructional videos on YouTube. The internet has a plethora of informative videos that show you how to accomplish almost everything.

Nevertheless, rather than watching YouTube videos on a screen or reading through online forums, we learn practically, grasp clearly, and visualize properly by seeing the process done in person.