Cleaning your upright piano is an important part of its care and maintenance. This guide will show you how to get inside the piano and clean it. Cleaning a grand piano is a similar undertaking, but this guide is specifically for vertical and upright pianos, which are assembled differently than grand pianos.
If you'd like to know how to clean piano keys, we have a guide on Cleaning Piano Keys.
Cleaning the inside of the piano
Removing the action
Open the upright piano cabinet to remove the action. Usually you can open the piano lid and remove the cabinet parts to get to the action. The action is the assembly that holds the hammers and other mechanisms responsible for creating sound.
Once you can access the action, lift it out of the piano and set it aside. Be careful not to damage the hammers or damper felt. While the action is out, you can start blowing dust out of it using compressed air.
Removing the keys
Once the action is out of the way, you can remove individual keys to get to the wood underneath. To remove the piano keys, lift them straight up off the pins. Underneath the keys are felt pads, and likely a large amount of dust and dirt.
Bring out the vacuum
Now that you can get to the dust, it's time to vacuum it all out. A standard household vacuum with a hose and attachments will do just fine. Vacuum all of the accumulated dust that you can, making sure not to vacuum up any of the felts underneath the keys. You may want to use compressed air to blow out dust from hard to reach places. If you don't own an air compressor, you can buy canned air from any hardware store.
While you clean your piano, be sure not to spill any liquids inside the instrument. Many piano parts are small, delicate pieces of wood that will warp if you get them wet. Make sure to close the cabinet up after you're finished if you think there's a chance for liquids to get inside.