Is It Safe to Use Pledge on My Piano?

Pledge is a common household furniture polish, so it’s reasonable to think it might be useful for adding luster to the surface of your wooden piano. After all, if it’s safe for use on other wooden furniture, why couldn’t it be used on a piano as well?

It is not safe to use Pledge on a piano because this polish can damage the piano’s wood and soften its overall finish over time. The strings of a piano should never be exposed to Pledge or any other kind of furniture cleaner since this can alter the piano’s sound. 

If you can’t clean a piano with Pledge, what cleaning products can you use? Read on to learn more about why it isn’t safe to use Pledge on your piano, and to learn some tips for how to clean your piano properly.

Pledge Should Not Be Used on Pianos

Pledge is a polish that’s great for cleaning wooden furniture, but it shouldn’t be used on pianos for several reasons. Here are a few of the reasons why Pledge and pianos are a bad mix:

  • Most Pledge products are an aerosol spray. Aerosol sprays should never be used in or around your piano because the misting overspray can settle on the piano’s strings, causing them to become damaged.
  • Many Pledge products have isopropyl alcohol in them. Isopropyl alcohol can damage wood and will strip away the finish on a piano over time. This is why piano manufacturers do not recommend that furniture polish is used on pianos.
  • Pledge contains silicone, which can make a piano difficult to refinish. Silicone can penetrate the surface of the piano and can cause chemical incompatibilities during the refinishing process if the piano is ever renovated.
  • Most Pledge products contain citrus oil as a fragrance and a cleaning agent. Citrus oil should never be used to clean a piano. These cleaners are too harsh and can damage the keys of the piano.

Even though it’s tempting to use Pledge to dust a piano since it’s such a commonplace household cleaner, doing so can ultimately harm your piano in the long run. It’s better to stick to piano cleaning methods that are recommended by piano manufacturers and professional musicians. There are plenty of cleaning products available that are made specifically for pianos, and these are safe for use.

How to Polish a Piano Without Pledge

You shouldn’t use Pledge to clean a piano, but that doesn’t mean you should go without polishing a piano entirely. Without regular maintenance, a piano will become greasy with fingerprints and can also build-up dust and other environmental debris. Luckily, for most piano finishes, regular wiping down with a plain dry cloth will do wonders for keeping the piano dust-free.

Here’s how you can polish a piano without using Pledge:

  1. Using a soft, damp (not wet) cloth, wipe the piano gently in the direction of the wood grain. Microfiber cleaning cloths are a good option because they will not scratch the piano’s finish. Be sure to use fresh cloth rags that have not been used on other items since older rags can pick up debris that can scratch the piano’s finish.
  2. For areas of the piano where there is a build-up of cleaning product or dust, applying a small amount of Windex or detergent soap directly to a damp cloth can help to clean the area. It’s important to only use a small, diluted amount of cleaner if you’re going to use a cleaner that isn’t specifically made for pianos. If possible, follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
  3. Make sure that all areas of the piano that have been dusted with a damp cloth are thoroughly dried immediately after wiping. No moisture should be left behind on the surface of the piano. Pianos should be wiped down with a cloth after every use to delay the need for more intensive cleaning later on.

baby grand in large roomHow to Disinfect a Piano

Wiping down a piano with a damp cloth can take care of most of its polishing needs without needing to bring Pledge into the operation, but this doesn’t sanitize the piano. To disinfect a piano and prevent the spread of communicable diseases, certain products must be used.

To clean the keys of a piano, piano technicians recommend hydrogen peroxide. This cleaning solution is a disinfectant and will not “wet” keys, which can cause them to absorb moisture and lock up. When piano keys are damaged by water, this can damage them. Replacing piano keys can almost be as expensive as the piano itself.

Cleaning a piano’s keys with peroxide is as simple as wiping down the keys and allowing the solution to sit on the keys for a few minutes, then wiping it away. Hydrogen peroxide does a good job of killing bacteria without introducing harsh solvents that can damage the piano’s wood or strings.

To disinfect a piano’s case, a small amount of dish detergent on a damp cloth is recommended rather than hydrogen peroxide. As with any part of the piano, making sure that it is dried immediately after cleaning is crucial to preventing water damage to the piano’s finish.

Products That Are Safe and Unsafe for Use on Pianos

Along with Pledge, several other types of cleaners are also a bad match when it comes to piano care. Below you’ll find a chart of safe cleaners versus unsafe cleaners for cleaning pianos:

Safe Piano Cleaners Unsafe Piano Cleaners
Windex Pledge and other furniture polishes
Dish detergent Bleach
Hydrogen peroxide Machine dishwashing gel
Commercial piano cleaners Aerosol multi-surface cleaners

Using the right cleaners and polishes on your piano isn’t just a matter of maintaining the piano’s appearance. Using the wrong cleaners can cause permanent damage to the piano and can even bring it to the point of being unusable without serious (and expensive) repairs. It’s important to remember that a piano is not like other pieces of furniture and shouldn’t be treat as such. It’s a delicate instrument.

How to Keep Your Piano Clean

Wiping down a piano regularly after use can help to keep it clean, but there are also a few other things you can do to prevent your piano from getting dirty. Here are some ways you can keep your piano looking good and smelling fresh:

  • Do not smoke around your piano. Cigarette smoke can settle in and on a piano, leaving it smelling musty. Nicotine can also discolor white piano finishes over time.
  • Do not keep drinks or food on your piano. The piano is not a coffee table, so it’s best not to treat it like one. Spilling a drink into a piano is the easiest way to destroy a piano’s delicate inner mechanisms.
  • Keep your piano out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause the finish on a piano to crack and fade over time, so make sure that your piano is kept in the shade. This will keep its finish in good condition over several years. All wooden pianos are vulnerable to ultraviolet exposure.

Keeping a piano clean and tidy can go a long way towards preserving its sound.

Pianos Need Regular Cleaning (but Not with Pledge)

While maintaining a piano is an important part of keeping it in good working condition, Pledge is not the best method for managing it. The cleaners above should do a much better job of helping you keep your piano in tip-top shape without threatening either its wood finish or its beautiful sound.

Click here for more great tips and guides to taking care of your piano.

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Josh Olswanger

I've been playing and writing music since the age of 13. My father is a piano tuner/technician of 40 years, and I've been musically involved in all aspects from composing, to recording, producing and playing live for most of my life. I've always had a fascination and appreciation for all types of music and musical instruments, so creating this site is a perfect outlet to share my knowledge.

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