Piano benches come in all shapes, sizes and finishes, but all benches all have one thing in common. They all take lots of wear and tear from you sitting on them every time you play the piano, and they will arguably show scratches and scuffs after many years of use. While keeping your piano looking its best, it only makes sense that this includes the upkeep of your piano bench. High gloss benches scratch very easily, and over time, lots of small scratches can cause small pockets of wear on the finish.
You can remove scratches from a piano bench with some polishing compound, and an effective automotive and/or piano wax. Start with a damp microfiber rag to remove dust and smudges, then proceed with applying piano polish, and then finish with a high-quality piano or automotive wax. This process should take under an hour.
Luckily with a few easy to find products and some elbow grease, you can get your high-gloss piano bench finish looking great, and scratches will be nicely masked. I’ll dive into the details below and cover a few other common questions about piano benches too.
Cleaning Your Piano Bench: Step by Step
Supplies you’ll need
I’ve included links to find these on Amazon above, or you can also visit your local music store.
The Cleaning Process
After cleaning the piano bench surface with a damp cloth, you can next massage a conservative amount of piano polish into the bench surface using a super soft rag. The polishing compound will fill in the surface scratches nicely, and will help mask any large scratches that seem to form over time.
(I prefer using any of the Cory polish products, as they have been around forever and have a slew of products for all different types of piano finishes and needs. I’m also a fan of using Meguier’s automotive polish and waxes, as these are also very high quality for automotive and piano finishes.)
Once you polish the bench with a high-quality piano polish, next you can move onto applying some wax. Same as applying the polish, you’ll apply the wax in small circular motions to the bench surface and wait a few minutes for the wax to partially dry. Next, you can take a semi-damp soft cloth and gently remove the wax from the surface until you get that shine back.
Keep in mind, these tips really only apply to surface scratches, which are ones you can see but can’t feel. If you have some larger scratches that you can physically feel, then you’ll need a technician to sand down the finish and re-finish the piano, which is an entirely different ballgame.
There are some really nice piano wax products on the market, but many piano technicians will advise using an automotive wax, as they serve the same purpose of restoring a shine on high-gloss finishes. If that thought makes you nervous at all, stick with a piano polish.
Cleaning Different Types of Piano Benches
Like pianos, not all piano benches are equal, and not all of them take take the same amount of wear and tear or show scratches as easily.
There are a few different types of piano benches made, some of which will prove to be less maintenance when trying to clean or buff out a scratch. Also, along with maintenance comes comfort and with some, a lack of comfort as well.
Let’s explore the different options.
Standard Piano Bench
These are standard piano benches that normally come with the piano your purchase. Regardless of the type of piano, there’s a standard size to most benches, and they are built to accommodate 2 adults comfortably. Hard benches come in high-gloss, which as outlined above, show the most scuffs, scratches and blemishes. There are also satin-finish benches and wood-grain benches, which both can still scratch, but will hide blemishes much better than a high-gloss bench that sees a lot of “butt traffic.”
Standard Piano Bench With A Single-Layered Cushion
These piano benches are like the standard benches, but the surface is covered with a layer of padding covered by either suede, microfiber or sometimes leather. These benches are nice because they don’t take up any more space than a standard bench, but are remarkably more comfortable. Also, since the surface is padded, they don’t show any ugly scratches unless of course the padding itself is scratched, torn, etc.
For these, you only have the worry about the legs getting scratches.
Tufted Piano Benches
My favorite of the bunch, tufted piano benches are those you see on stage and in concert halls. These benches are usually a little bigger by a few inches, are adjustable in height with side hand-crank height adjusters, and most importantly, have an extremely comfortable and beautifully-designed tufted pattern that covers the surface of the bench. These benches come at all price-points depending on the manufacturer, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 all the way up to $800 for a tufted piano bench. Often times, when you buy a high-end piano, the piano dealer you bought it from will include one of these benches with your purchase.
However, if you’d like to save some cash (and who doesn’t these days), you can find this highly rated tufted piano bench on Amazon for under $90.
How do I hide surface scratches on a wooden piano bench?
Much like any other type of wooden furniture, many times you can use a furniture marker found at most hardwood stores to fill in and mask a scratch. Hardware stores carry a variety of shades of wood pens, so you should be able to find one that almost matches your color spot on. These work really nicely for darker benches that have a lighter scratch, and once applied, you’ll probably be the only one who ever knew there was a scratch there.
Is my broken or dinged up bench even worth fixing?
Piano benches can get forgotten by the wayside and let’s face it, people don’t tend to pay much attention to them until there’s something wrong, such as a bench breaking. Question is, is it worth paying a furniture repair shop to fix?
Sure, if it’s an antique wooden bench worth a lot of money, or has lots of sentimental value. Other than that, if your piano bench is in dire shape, and if it holds no significant value, then it’s normally much cheaper to just replace it, rather than having someone restore it back to normal.
What about a piano bench cushion that’s torn or has a gouge in it?
Most piano benches that are padded in some way will eventually wear down, and sometimes as bad as a rip or tear in the leather or other fabric being used. If your bench is very expensive and made of prime materials, it’s probably worth taking to a professional upholstery shop to fix.
Removing scratches from a digital piano bench
Digital piano benches seem to be smaller than acoustic piano benches. The logic behind this, is that most owners who buy a digital piano, do so because they take up significantly less space compared to a real piano, so the piano bench size normally follows suit. Some of these benches fold up like an ironing board, others traditional like a piano bench, but almost all of them are padded, so scratching them are a lot harder than say a hard wooden bench. Nonetheless, if you run into a scratch, you can follow the same directions above, and often times you’ll see the same results.
In closing, removing a scratch from a piano bench is very similar to removing one from a piano, and depending on the finish and type of bench, will determine if its smart to attempt to fix the scratch yourself or hire a professional.
If this article was useful to you, check out our other articles on cleaning pianos.
You may want to check out our recommended piano gear too.