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13. Cleaning the Upright


We offer cleaning and polishing supplies for all pianos.
The cleaning steel can be useful in doing the following.

First, open the upright all the way up as instructed in Chapter Five. Before you remove the action, take a smallish paint brush and the vacuum cleaner with the crevice tool, and clean out as much as you can. Vacuum the dirt out of all the the holes in the center of the keys (key buttons). Do this by putting the end of the crevice tool down over each hole trying to draw air through the hole from underneath. If the felts in the holes look loose, do not use the vacuum. When I take the keys out, I blow through each hole from the back side. It is a bit nasty, but it really works well.

Then remove the action and the keys as instructed in Chapter Five. Be sure the keys are numbered from 1 to 88 correctly and clearly.

You can really clean out the action with an air compressor, or take it around to Luigi's Auto Repair, and use the air hose. But, take WARNING: You will knock parts out of the action if you get too close. Stay back about five feet with the hose nozzle. Parts may still fly, so you may have to buy some spare parts from the Online Catalogue later. If you can put the vacuum cleaner hose in the other end of the beast and blow, use the crevice tool, and get closer than suggested above.

Now that you have the action cleaned, DO NOT dust the house. We are going to get it really messed up in a minute.

Don't be proud now, pick around in the dust under the keys. You may find a real silver dime, or, in England, a Queen Victory One Penny. You may also find the skeleton of a pre-historic mouse. Send it around to the nearest museum for their fossil collection.  Ooooooh, what gory fun, Eh? Also, you may find several ivories that have came off and slipped under the keys. You can put them back. See, Key tops and Ivory replacement later in this chapter.

With the paint brush and crevice tool, clean out the wires, harp, and the key bed area. WARNING: Do not vacuum up the center rail and front rail bushing felts that are under the keys. They have paper washers under them to level the keys, so even if you have a new set of felts to put in, DO NOT vacuum them out. Work around them, and pick the felts out later.

Now that the upper parts are clean, pull the bottom board off, and clean all around in the bottom of the piano. Check first to see if and bits or pieces of the action have fallen into the bottom. Save them for future reference.

Once you are sure the whole piano is cleaned, take notice please-- it ain't! Now, put the vacuum cleaner hose in the other end of the beast, and blow with the crevice tool. Blow in every nook and cranny. Try again not to blow off the felts that are under the keys. Otherwise- Enjoy!

NOW, you may dust the house.

NEVER get any liquid on the tuning pins. There are pin treatments made for tuning pins, but all other liquids are a no no. NEVER let your technician put water, alcohol, or glycerin on the tuning pins to tighten them. This is a temporary fix used by crooks to tighten the pins long enough for the tuner to collect his payment and make it to the golf course before the liquid dries out and the pins start slipping again.


On to task 14.